Conant women soccer coach Jason Franco had a little bit of a sinking feeling when he noticed the brackets for this 12 months’s postseason.
It is by no means good looking at a staff like St. Charles East in opposition to you within the draw.
“We bought a tricky seed this 12 months,” Franco mentioned. “I assumed we deserved a little bit increased and did not need to play these guys instantly. I believe we play anyone else we’d have had a great probability of strolling away with a regional championship.”
Conant targeted on enjoying a defensive sport Saturday within the Class 4A St. Charles East regional championship, retaining virtually its whole staff again attempting to gradual the Saints.
It labored for awhile, however Mckenna Gahagan headed in a aim halfway by the primary half and fellow junior Ashley Stellon scored an insurance coverage aim within the second for a 2-0 win.
No. 1 seed St. Charles East (20-0-1) stayed unbeaten, profitable its seventh straight regional championship (not counting the 2020 non-season).
The Saints have now outscored opponents 106-9 this 12 months heading right into a sectional semifinal again at Norris Stadium on Tuesday night time in opposition to No. 4 Glenbard West.
“We’ve got huge objectives however we’ve to take it one sport at a time as a result of this can be a onerous sectional,” Stellon mentioned. “Groups are looking for us however we simply must play our sport each sport and we’ll be OK.”
A tie in opposition to Naperville North is the one factor on the Saints’ slate apart from a W.
“Groups know we’re undefeated and each staff that involves play us needs to be the one to beat us however we will not let that get in our heads,” Gahagan mentioned. “We simply have to stay with our personal sport plan and transfer ahead.”
Conant (8-5-1) made it to the 20-minute water break of the primary half at 0-0 regardless of a number of nook kicks by the Saints’ Hannah Miller. Cougars keeper Sydney Litney snared a number of of these kicks.
Simply after the break, Miller once more despatched a nook in that discovered Gahagan’s head, and after a few bounces within the field the ball discovered the again of the web for a 1-0 lead on the 19:22 mark.
“I noticed it coming and it was nerve-wracking as a result of they’re dominant out of the air but when it is coming to you simply must be there first and I used to be capable of get there first and get the header on,” Gahagan mentioned.
The 1-0 rating remained at halftime earlier than the Saints struck rapidly within the second half. Stellon made positive to remain onside as she adopted up a blast by Gahagan by getting the rebound and netting her shot 5 minutes into the second half.
“I knew McKenna has a tough shot that’s onerous for the goalie to carry it,” Stellon mentioned.
The Cougars bought their solely shot on aim throughout the sport on the 24-minute mark of the second half. Saints keeper Sophia Lori tipped it excessive of the web.
Franco credited defenders Hannah Husnick, Gracie Rodriguez, Sophia Bertani and Claire Liberio — who usually performs winger however was moved again to assist with the Saints’ Miller — with retaining Conant within the sport.
“We knew we had our fingers full and play extra defensive-minded than we’ve in our final 5 or 6 convention video games to attempt to maintain them out,” Franco mentioned. “Our aim was to attempt to preserve it scoreless so long as attainable. Clearly they’re a extremely good staff however I am actually happy with my women. I assumed they competed and never many groups have been capable of keep within the sport with them.”
The Saints will attempt to preserve their undefeated season going subsequent in opposition to Glenbard West, who edged No. 5 Wheaton North 4-3 on PKs.
“The women embrace it,” Saints coach Vince DiNuzzo mentioned. “We’ve got a protracted method to go. Any staff that is undefeated has a goal however so long as we play to our capabilities we will likely be all proper.”