Hinsdale Central gets physical
to subdue St. Charles North
2 second half goals lift Red Devils over North Stars
By Derek Wolff
ST. CHARLES -- Luck is the residue of design, the old saying goes.
No. 4 seed Hinsdale Central put that into practice Thursday night against St. Charles North, earning a 2-1 win over the No. 5 North Stars after trailing at the half in the quarterfinals of the Aquafina Bracket in the 2015 PepsiCo Showcase.
Centerback and Chicagoland Soccer’s MVP of the Match Erin Smith scored the game winner for the Red Devils (8-1-0) in the 51st minute on a free kick from 40 yards out, lofting a high, spinning ball toward the goal. North Stars goalkeeper Shelby Stitz got handcuffed by the shot, which bounced off her hands and into the net, giving Hinsdale Central its second goal in as many minutes.
With the defensive wall slowly getting together as the whistle blew, Smith took a chance.
“The wall wasn't ready, so I just took the shot and it went in,” Smith said. “I don't know, I just went for it and it worked out.”
Red Devils coach Michael Smith praised his side’s coachability this season and said he was pleased with the continued progress.
“We talk about seizing the opportunity, not waiting for it to happen. Erin saw that the goalie was cheating a little bit, and not set and she took a chance on frame,” Smith said. “So that in itself, that's what we want. What she did was show a confidence in her own ability to take that chance. We praise that. We praise the risk-taking and again, thoughtful risk-taking.”
Down 1-0 at the break, Central came out with renewed energy in the second half and leveled the score in the 50th minute.
Forward Emma Dannhauser-Brun received a ball on the right side of the 18 before burying her left-footed chance at the back of the net on the far post.
Feeding off that momentum, Erin Smith’s goal came out of a desire to keep moving through the PepsiCo Showdown.
“When we were down 1-0, we just knew that we weren't done with this tournament,” Smith said. “We had to come back and get the first goal.”
The sides started the game feeling each other out for most of the first 15 minutes before Dannhauser-Brun had a chance alone on goal after a through pass got her to the 12-yard line.
Her near-post shot was thwarted by a diving save from Stitz, who punched the ball back out toward the corner flag. Dannhauser-Brun’s followup went searching, missing its mark at the near post and turning harmlessly into a goal kick.
The North Stars seemingly fed off the energy of the save, picking up their tempo and earning chances on set pieces in the 27th and 33rd minutes before taking the lead in the 37th.
Forward Hanna Durocher won two tackles by the far corner flag, perfectly timing a quick pass-in for freshman forward Gia Wahlberg. The latter finished for the 1-0 lead.
Any momentum the North Stars gained was wiped out after the intermission. The Red Devils came out stronger to start the second half.
“Hinsdale Central is probably the most physical team that we've played, and we've got to get a little bit better because that's typically us on the other side of that, about holding our own and not getting pushed off the ball,” North Stars coach Ruth Vostal said. “I thought we did that better in the second half once we settled in a little bit.”
In a battle to sustain a sense of urgency, the Red Devils did more with their opportunities and moved better through the zones, coach Smith said.
“What we found in the second half was that we were moving in the right positions, but more than anything we were playing with a level of confidence and a greater level of urgency,” Smith said. “Yes, being down a goal elicits that, but I think collectively we were doing that and doing that well.”
The North Stars pressed late and earned a few chances, the best coming in the 67th minute when Wahlberg dribbled past three defenders along the left sideline near the end of the 18. She then played a ball back for Morgan Rerko, whose searching cross couldn’t connect with anyone in the box.
“I don't want to say we needed the loss, but we definitely need to step up our intensity,” Wahlberg said, as the Stars fell to 5-2-1 on the season. “They brought it the first half and we brought it the second half. We fought harder the second half with their game and intensity, so that should prepare us.The two goals kind of knocked us in the teeth, and we answered it pretty well the last 20 minutes. That needed to be done the whole entire game.”
Long-term goals didn’t escape either team, with the match feeling like one that usually is played in late May rather than mid-April.
“We showed a level of resilience and grit,” Hinsdale Central's Smith said. “A match like this prepares us for the playoffs, and that's why we're in this tournament. St. Charles North is a school that isn't on our schedule. This is a match against a strong program that has a great coaching staff and head coach where we knew they were going to be prepared.
"And at the same time, traveling to their place and playing on their field, it was one of those things where in the playoffs we're going to have to do this. It was a fantastic atmosphere and two talented teams going back and forth.”
Vostal remained excited to finish up the tournament Saturday and to be playing quality competition in general. The North Stars will travel to Iowa for a strong tournament to start May.
“Whatever the record is, whoever we're going to play, as long as we can play the best teams that we can, I'd rather play all top 10 teams and lose to them all as long as we're getting better for later in the season,” Vostal said.
Hinsdale Central advances to its semifinal matchup on Saturday, where the Red Devils will take on No. 1 seed New Trier.
GK Katy Coseglia
WB Katie Murphy
CB Erin Smith
CB Kaitlyn Livingston
CB Maeve McLaughlin
CB Lauren Cangelosi
M Erin Otto
M Lizzy Nelson
F Emily LaRocque
F Emma Dannhausen-Brun
F Kate Shroyer
St. Charles North
GK Shelby Stitz
D Claire Barresi
D Lauren Neslund
D Lauren Willis
M Elli Wahlberg
M Morgan Rerko
M Madison Kaufmann
M Lizzie Parrilli
M Hailey Rydberg
F Hanna Durocher
F Gia Wahlberg
MVP of the Match: Erin Smith, CB, Hinsdale Central
Officials: Krzysztof Bajorek, Carlos Herrera, Kris Krueger