Girls soccer: Grayslake schools battle to 5-5 draw
Grayslake North's girls soccer team needed a jolt to avoid extending its winless drought.
The Knights entered Thursday's game with just one win, way back on March 17 over Prairie Ridge.
Four ties in their first six matches were a sore point for the Knights.
At first, the Knights thought they discovered the perfect tonic to cure their ills, playing at neighborhood rival Grayslake Central in a wild early-season Northern Lake County Conference game.
However, the Knights couldn't slow down Grayslake Central's Madison Hoffmann in the second half.
In the end, the Knights had to settle for a 5-5 tie against the Rams.
The Knights (1-1-5, 0-1-2) opened the game by taking out their frustrations on the Rams, scoring 4 goals in the first half.
Grayslake Central coach Keith Andersson said it was a unique game for both programs.
"It was a great crosstown rivalry," Andersson said. "You're not going to get a better game. It went back and forth, back and forth. If you wanted goals, we made it rain tonight. That was the fun part."
Hoffmann, a star basketball player, sparked the Rams with 3 goals, including the last two. She scored on a penalty kick and a free kick to force the tie.
"It was a fun game," Hoffmann said. "I've never had three goals in a game, at least not in high school."
On a cold and extremely windy night, the Rams and Knights hooked up for an explosion of goals. The two teams combined for 6 first-half goals, with the Knights leading 4-2 at intermission. Before Thursday, the Knights had not scored more than 3 goals in a game all season. The Rams, led by Hoffmann, countered with 3 goals in the second half.
Still, even with another tie, Grayslake North welcomed the 5-goal outing, especially after the Knights managed just 2 goals in their last two games.
The Rams (4-4-1, 1-0-1) entered the crosstown showdown on a hot streak, winning three of their last four games, but the Knights surprised them with a strong and aggressive early attack.
Grayslake Central senior goalie Piper Gallaher, a Loyola recruit, had two highlight-reel saves in a 10-second span in the 19th minute, only to have Grayslake North junior Morgan Flynn knock in a goal from right in front of the near post to tie the game at 1-1 in the 14th minute. Gallaher rarely had a moment to relax, finishing with 5 first-half saves en route to 9 total stops.
"It wasn't my best game," Gallaher said. "Madison played great. She's a stud."
The Knights almost pulled away by getting a late first-half goal from freshman Ashley Hernandez in the 38th minute, then senior Elle Doninger drilled a shot past Gallaher in the 45th minute to increase the lead to 5-2.
But Hoffmann's 2 goals in the second half led a 3-goal effort to force a tie.
"I thought we played well in the first half, but we also gave up five goals," Grayslake North coach Adam DeCaluwe said. "We're finding our stride. Our effort was good."