Girls soccer: Freshmen lead WW South to regional title over Geneva

A pair topped two of kind Friday in the Class 2A Geneva regional championship.

Wheaton Warrenville South's freshmen Ella Byrnes and Ashlyn Adams and Geneva sisters Olivia and Alana Rawls did all of the scoring in the contest. However, the Tigers' duo goal total was double that of the Vikings siblings for a 4-2 win.

Adams scored three of the Tigers' goals to earn her varsity first hat trick.

Wheaton Warrenville South (13-4-3) advances to the St. Charles East sectional where it will face DuKane Conference rival St. Charles North (18-2-0) in the first semifinal on Wednesday. The Tigers, seeded fifth in the sectional, dropped a 1-0 decision to the top-seeded North Stars earlier in the season.

Byrnes, who usually patrols Wheaton Warrenville South's back line, scored the first goal at the 13:15 mark of the first period. She dribbled the ball up field and took a shot from 20 yards out that found the back of the next.

"It's important to keep moving and getting open for your teammates, so I tried to keep moving," Byrnes said. "Then I saw an opening and went for it."

Ten minutes later, Adams put the Tigers up 2-0. The forward's 25-yard boot from the left side of the pitch hit the right post and was just enough inside of the goal line for the score.

"At first, I didn't know if it was a goal," said Adams. "It bounced in and then rolled out."

"You wouldn't think they are freshmen. They don't play like it. They are seasoned, they have great instincts, especially off the ball and they are very opportunistic," said Wheaton Warrenville South coach Guy Callipari about Adams and Byrnes. "They read the game very well. Their speed of idea is above what their age may say they are. It bodes well for the future."

Alana Rawls was optimistic Geneva (13-9-2) could stage another second half rally.

"We always made comebacks in the second half. We thought we would be able to do that today," the senior said. "I think this second half was one of the better ones of this season."

Rawls cut Wheaton Warrenville South's lead to 2-1 in the 47th minute. Tigers goalkeeper Caroline Spayth (four saves) blocked a shot, and the senior corralled the rebound and returned it to the back of net.

"It was a deflection off the goalie. and I just tapped it in," she said.

Olivia, her sophomore sister, tied the match at 2-2 with a penalty kick goal at the 20:24 mark of the second half. Her shot hit the back right corner of the net.

"They worked themselves back into it. We had possession several times, but we didn't clear the ball efficiently and allowed them to stay in our third," said Callipari. "They got numbers forward. Consequently, you give them a PK and a rebound."

Adams returned the lead to the Tigers with 15:34 left in the match and notched the insurance goal and the hat trick eight minutes later.

"They got the best of us today. I think our team played really well. They have been through a lot this week. They lost a student at school and lost a really close friend," said Geneva coach Megan Owens. "So for them to be here on this field today and play as hard as they did, I'm very proud of that."

Playing the North Stars again will be challenging according to Callipari.

"We will have our hands full. They are ranked," said the Tigers coach. "They have very few weak spots on the roster and they just keep on coming at you."

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