ROSELLE – The start of Lake Park’s season experienced a few snags.
First off, the Lancers’ home game against Muchin was moved up two hours due to the possibility of bad weather Monday.
Then the Mountain Lions – yes, that’s the nickname of the downtown Chicago school – arrived right at the revised 4:30 p.m. start time.
With the temperature rapidly dipping, the Lancers and their fans had to wait an extra 43 minutes before opening day finally opened.
Then, seconds before the clock ticked its first second, a light drizzle of snow caused a few fans to let out a some choice words of frustration.
The Lancers however, all dressed and ready to go during the lengthy warmups in shorts and short-sleeved jersey tops, were just happy to get things started.
“At first, I was little nervous because the game was late; and it was cold and I had some nerves,” Lake Park senior midfielder Teagan Locus said.
The tardy start had zero effect on the Lancers’ attack.
Lake Park scored seven goals in the first half to cruise to an 8-0 victory over Muchin at the hosts’ west campus. The Lancers (1-0-0) jump right back into action with road games against Hoffman Estates on Wednesday and Conant on Thursday.
The shutout victory was the ideal way to start the season for new Lake Park coach Carolina Kilrea. She took the job after Sean Crosby stepped aside to limit his coaching to the boys side.
“It’s a surreal moment to come out with this win,” Kilrea said. “Muchin came out and gave us 110 percent, and we gave it too. It was a great way to start the season. We were nervous earlier today that we weren’t going to get out and play because it was cold. We really wanted to get out and play today.
“It was a good win, a little chilly but the girls played well. It was nice to get some girls, who might not see a lot of minutes, on the field early on and show them that they are valued and part of this team and a part of something bigger. We have a lot of work to do and have to prepare for two tough games this week.”
Muchin (0-1-0) never could get on track after arriving so late. The Mountain Lions played better in the second half, controlling the ball on their end for most of the final 12 minutes. The visitors did not attempt a shot on goal, but goalie Joana Facio finished with seven saves.
“It was really tough, but we can take lessons from this game,” Muchin coach Joseluis Aguirre said. “I felt we did really well in the second half. Lake Park played really well. I thought we evened up the play in the second half. It’s a really big field. Playing mostly in Chicago, and our first time out, we’re used to smaller fields. We’ll grow from here and make sure the girls keep working hard.
“We’re in a rebuilding stage, so we just want the girls to progress and progress and reach an end goal of playing in college. We were looking for games, so we wanted to play this game by putting our name out there. We have kids from all over Chicago. We wanted to experience other types of levels of soccer outside Chicago. We’re going to keep working and learning from our mistakes and keep progressing every day.”
After their long and cold wait, Lancers threw a goal goal party in their season opener. Six players contributed goals on the first scoresheet of the 2023 season. Freshman Milana Positano made a memorable debut on the varsity with two goals. Locus, Peyton Olinski, Francesca Cali, Cora Riter, Peyton Sarubbi and Madi Mintrup accounted for one goal each.
Locus opened up the scoring, lightly tapping in a shot inside the near post just six-plus minutes in and atoned for a close-in miss earlier. Locus added an assist on Olinski’s goal which made it 2-0 with 30 minutes left until halftime.
“It felt really good to score after not scoring last year,” Locus said. “I had a great cross and hit it in with a good finish. It felt really good to make up for missing my first shot. I think we had a lot of good stuff out there. I’m excited to see how we progress the rest of the year.”
Olinski, a senior midfielder, scored just a minute after the Lancers came up short when a shot hit the football crossbar.
“I got a cross and just tapped it in for a goal,” Olinski said. “I was just so happy to get a goal. I think we have a better team this year and am so excited to see how we play. We want to do better than last year. It was just a fun day.”
Positano, the Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match, was all over the pitch. She immediately provided a scoring punch for the Lancers. However, there are parts of her game she will continue to work on, including her interview game.
The high-upside Positano struggled to find the words to explain her memorable performance. In a moment that included plenty of smiles and laughs, the senior trio of Olinski, Locus and Lauren Malone showed their veteran leadership by stepping in to provide some encouragement, along with a few words. It will be one of many lessons the upperclassmen will impart to the young striker, who undoubtably has many more interviews in her future.
“I had a good counterattack on my second goal, so that was good,” Positano said. “This is my first year and I’m so excited to play with these girls. We’re a good team and can make it far. It was a good game. I’m excited.”
Malone, a midfielder, called Monday’s opener a fresh start for the program.
“It was a really good experience for all of us, especially with our first game and we have a whole bunch of new people,” Malone said. “We moved the ball around really good. It definitely felt good to put all those goals into the net. We’re happy to get this win for our new coach. We know she’s happy with the win.”
Lake Park freshman goalie Ava Garcia had a clean-sheet and a clean jersey but she did face one big challenge in the final minutes. The Lancers were whistled for a hand ball in the box with 1:09 left in regulation in the shortened game. Muchin sophomore midfielder Amy Sinchi missed the chance to put her team on the board, sailing the shot well over the goal post on her penalty kick.
GK: Joana Facio
D: Jennifer Mejia
D: Jackie Figueroa
D: Emily Garcia
D: Arlene Torres
MF: Amy Sinchi
MF: Jazmin Torres
MF: Veronica Hernandez
MF: Giselle Medina
F: Bridgette Tapia
F: Dulce Salazar
GK: Ava Garcia
D: Brynn Ellenbecker
D: Madi Mintrup
D: Gianna Kubica
D: Peyton Sarubbi
MF: Teagan Locus
MF: Lauren Malone
MF: Francesca Cali
MF: Kira Holiday
MF: Peyton Olinski
F: Milana Positano
Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Milana Positano, fr., F, Lake Park
Lake Park: Locus (unassisted), 6’
Lake Park: Olinski (Locus), 10’
Lake Park: Cali (unassisted), 12’
Lake Park: Positano (Olinski), 14’
Lake Park: Sarubbi (unassisted), 19’
Lake Park: Mintrup (unassisted), 33'
Lake Park: Riter (unassisted), 40’
Lake Park: Positano (unassisted), 53’ (second half cut to 20 minutes)