WINNETKA — Woodlands senior Maddie Montez and freshman Morgan Mathy don’t need rackets to make some noise at a sports venue.
The Wildcats’ no. 1 tennis doubles partners proved that Tuesday afternoon on a soccer pitch in a season-opening match against host North Shore Country Day, combining for four goals and four assists in a 7-1 triumph at the scoreboard-less Skokie Playfields.
Mathy, a forward, struck for three goals and provided an assist in a game that doubled as an Independent School League lid-lifter.
Now that’s some prep debut, eh?
It netted her Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match honors.
Left-footed Montez, a co-captain and attacking midfielder, finished with a goal and three assists in sunny, brisk conditions.
“I’m hoping Maddie, after she graduates, will be allowed to come back in the fall and play one more season of tennis with me,” a grinning Mathy said afterward.
North Shore Country Day got off to a 1-love (make that, 1-nil) lead early, thanks to a tally from speedy freshman midfielder Reese Meyers in the 10th minute. One of eight first-year Raiders on new head coach Rebekah Kauffman’s varsity, Meyers pounced on a loose ball after Woodlands struggled to execute a clear in front of junior goalkeeper Regan Stewart (eight saves).
Meyers then booted a 12-yard, far-post shot past the visiting netminder.
“Fast,” Raiders senior midfielder and captain Suraiyya Omar said of Meyers. “We have a lot of fast players on our team.”
But swiftness couldn’t douse Woodlands’ firepower. Coach Ross Bristow’s Wildcats, who led 4-1 at the break, scored seven unanswered goals in 70 minutes. Mathy achieved her hat-trick in the 56th minute, four minutes after notching her second goal.
“Fantastic to get our first win,” Bristow told his club in the post-game huddle.
“Our new players are learning,” he added later. “I liked how we worked as a team, won balls and finished.”
Kauffman wasn’t discouraged in the least after the setback. Not one Raider, after all, had ever played in a soccer match with any of the other Raiders on her 16-player side before Tuesdays’ matinee.
“We’ve had only 11 practices,” said Kauffman, who’s also the school’s assistant athletic director. “I’m excited to see what we’ll look like as a team after 20, 25 practices. We’ll build chemistry, I’m sure.
“I saw girls willing to dig their heels in and compete. We took away positives from this. There are a lot of pieces to a puzzle in a season; we’ll need to put those pieces together, and we will.”
Woodlands (1-0-0, 1-0-0 in the ISL) trailed for only six minutes Tuesday. Freshman midfielder Stephany Galvan (two goals, two assists) — another standout Wildcats rookie, and the funniest member of the team, Mathy claimed — blasted a shot saved by North Shore Country Day freshman keeper Izzy Greenstein (7 saves) in the 16th minute. Mathy controlled the rebound and beat Greenstein from about 10 yards.
Galvan trapped a ball in traffic some five minutes later, before jostling the net via a near-post goal from just inside the 18.
Two minutes separated Woodland’s third and fourth goals of the first half. Montez scored the third and assisted on the fourth, with her snazzy cross finding Galvan in the middle of the box in minute 37.
North Shore Country Day’s Meyers nearly cut into the Wildcats’ advantage shortly thereafter. But Stewart came up with the save a day, coming well off her line to deny a fast-breaking Meyers with a diving, left-handed stop.
Her counterpart sparkled at the other end of the pitch in the final minute of the half. Greenstein blocked a point-blank shot off the foot of Woodlands junior midfielder RC David, who had fielded another super cross from Montez.
Senior forward Delia Hernandez capped the scoring off a Mathy assist in the 60th minute.
“It’s early,” said North Shore Country Days’s Omar, whose primary strength is distributing the ball in transition. “And our team is really, really, really young. It’ll take time to adjust and adapt.”
Added Meyers: “We’re learning our positions, getting used to competing together.”
Rick Meyers witnessed his daughter’s first prep goal.
“I know he’s happy I scored,” Reese Meyers said.
Woddlands visits Waukegan at Greg Petry SportsPark at 4:30 p.m. Friday. North Shore Country Day (0-1-0, 0-1-0) won’t play again until April 4, when it hosts Regina Dominican at 4:30 p.m. at the Skokie Playfields.
Woodlands coach and London native Ross Bristow played professional soccer for a spell in Europe before arriving in the U.S. in 2013. He suited up for one season (2016), as a forward, for the Chicago Mustangs of the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL). Bristow formed the North Shore FC, a Lake Forest-based club (U7 through high school players) in 2017, fielding one team. NSFC now boasts 23 squads. … North Shore Country Day coach and Stevenson graduate Rebekah Kauffman played soccer, as a goalkeeper, at Trinity International University in Deerfield. She played in one USL W League season for the Charlotte Eagles. She has coached previously at North Shore Country Day as an assistant. … Kaufmann deployed six freshman starters for the season opener Tuesday: Izzy Greenstein (GK), Kate Connolly (F), Marina Bullock-Puzon (MF), Margaret Fitzgerald (D), Reese Meyers (MF) and Dixie Oelerich (D). … Bristow’s Wildcats won three games in his first year at the helm last spring. Lake Forest-based Woodlands hadn’t won a game in the previous two seasons. “We’re hoping for 10-12 wins this year,” he said Tuesday. … Woodland’s other co-captain is senior forward Delia Hernandez. … Jordan DePratt. Sarena Marwah-Blanke and John Lillig are serving as North Shore Country Day assistant coaches this spring.
GK Regan Stewart
D Dyana Santoyo
D Avery Drehkoff
D Greer Talty
MF Maddie Montez
MF Stephany Galvan
MF Gigi Vazquez
MF RC David
MF Faith Guerra
F Delia Hernandez
F Morgan Mathy
North Shore Country Day
GK Izzy Greenstein
D Thomasina Kalotis
D Isabel Roberts
D Margaret Fitzgerald
D Dixie Oelerich
MF Carly Lissner
MF Daisy Stone
MF Marina Bullock-Puzon
MF Suraiyya Omar
MF Reese Meyers
F Kate Connolly
Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Morgan Mathy, fr., F, Woodlands
NSCD — Meyers (UA), 10’
Woodlands — Mathy (Galvan), 16’
Woodlands — Galvan (Montez), 21’
Woodlands — Montez (Vazquez), 35’
Woodlands — Galvan (Montez), 37’
Woodlands — Mathy (Montez), 52’
Woodlands — Mathy (Galvan), 56’
Woodlands — Hernandez (Mathy), 60’