Girls soccer: Second-half blitz sends Libertyville past Grayslake Central
Three goals in the first 13 minutes of the second half sent top-ranked Libertyville (2-0-0) on its way to a 4-0 nonconference home girls soccer victory Thursday night over visiting Grayslake Central.
The Wildcats, despite having over 85% of the possession while completing the same high percentage of their passes in the opening period, found it difficult to pry open a stubborn Central (1-2-0) club that sat in with the hope of slowing a high-powered attack with seven returning players from its Class 3A third-place team from a year ago, plus the addition of two premier players back from club.
"We had to sit (back) and absorb their pressure (and) change our formation to be more defensive minded. They have such a talented roster, and one that if they stay healthy, should challenge for a state championship," said Central coach Keith Andersson, who has eight underclassmen on his roster, four of whom were in his first eleven, including freshmen Dahlia Rodriguez and Madison Hoffman, who both did well against the highflying Wildcats.
"We're going to expect a lot of teams to come out and just play a defensive style of soccer against us. We have the players that can handle that pressure and know how to deal with it and tonight, especially in the second half, we showed we're very capable of doing just that," said Wildcats coach Daniel DePaz.
The home side got off to the perfect start when Sally Grace Rogers steered in her close range one-timer off a Jenna Krakowski just two minutes into the contest.
With the visitors taking such a defensive posture, the gap between the midfield and front-runners was so great that it allowed the Wildcats to control the center of the park all throughout, led by the dynamic partnership of Lauren Rocco and Krakowski.
"Jenna and I took turns as the 10 and 8 and because we compliment each other so well we're fluid when we switch back and forth at those positions," said Rocco, who is off to the University of California next fall.
With Rodriguez and Hoffman holding firm just in front of captains Katie Dinsmore and Natalie Thorson along the Rams' back line, the visitors defended with all their might, chasing just one goal at the intermission.
Krakowski had enough time and space to tee her attempt up from 22 yards before the junior doubled the advantage in the 48th minute.
Paige Gleason bagged the next two during a 60-second span to make it 4-0 in the 53rd minute.
"I thought we fought hard, even after their second goal, but the next two let the air out of the balloon and all of our energy left us as well," said Andersson. We did a lot of good things for the first 50 minutes against a great team. We obviously have things to work on, which we expect with such a young team, but we'll get better as we go along, that I know for sure."
Next up for the Rams will be Vernon Hills next Tuesday at home while the Wildcats, who were without senior Abby Gordon, as well as Riley Brennan, host Cary-Grove next Tuesday evening in another nonconference affair.