DEERFIELD — For about 30 seconds Thursday night, nearly everybody at Adams Field thought Deerfield junior midfielder Emily Fox’s shot — struck from a spot between a sideline and an edge of the 18-yard box — landed in the netting above Palatine’s cage.
Nobody on the pitch celebrated in the 33rd minute. Nobody in the stands cheered.
A goal kick surely would ensue.
But wait. Hold everything.
Three happy Warriors suddenly dashed toward a bewildered Fox with outstretched arms.
Fox had … scored.
Shades of Patrick Kane’s mysterious, Stanley Cup-winning goal in 2010.
Fox’s optical-illusion-ish shot somehow curled into the northwest corner of the apparatus to up the hosts’ lead to 2-0 in the nonconference contest.
A linesman said so, eventually.
“I had no idea it went in,” a still-stunned Fox admitted after the Warriors’ 2023 debut. “I guess my teammates had a better angle than I did.”
Fox, a tri-captain, would score again — in minute 62 — in Deerfield’s 3-1 victory in drizzly, windy, raw conditions and earn the Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match honor.
The other memorable sequence Thursday night had occurred 24 minutes earlier. This one didn’t confuse anyone.
It thrilled all instead.
Palatine freshman forward Jolee Waddington — a state gymnastics qualifier blessed with an excess of athleticism — started it with a bicycle-kick shot-on-goal from about seven yards.
Warriors junior goalkeeper Lauren Gottlieb (five saves) stopped the ball but didn’t secure it. She then slid quickly to her left to deny another shot-on-goal two seconds later.
“Two big-time saves,” said Deerfield coach Rich Grady, who guided the Warriors — ranked no. 11 in the Chicagoland Soccer First 50 preseason poll — to a 23-4-2 record and third place showing at the Class AA state tournament last spring.
“The game would have been a different one without those,” added the program’s 15th-year head coach.
Palatine first-year coach Aaron Morris, whose side trailed 2-0 at the break, had a feeling those missed opportunities would sting, especially given the high caliber of the opposition.
“Against a team like Deerfield, you have to capitalize on chances like those. … have to,” said Morris, who, like he did before the start of the Palatine boys soccer season last fall, succeeded longtime Pirates coach Willie Filian.
Palatine (1-1-0) had opened its season with a 4-0 defeat of host Zion-Benton on the eve of the Palatine-Deerfield matchup.
“For the first 20 minutes,” Grady said, “it was obvious Palatine, with several good, fast players, had played a game, and we had not.”
But Deerfield (1-0-0) led after 20 minutes of damp action, with reserve freshman forward Bella Krummenacher having notched the night’s first goal — an unassisted gem — in the 16th minute.
Palatine senior goalkeeper Brooklyn Velmont (3 saves) could only watch Krummenacher’s high, 20-yard cracker jostle twine.
“Nice goal,” Grady understated.
Warriors senior midfielder Simone Criz provided the assist on Fox’s second goal, which expanded the hosts’ advantage to 3-0 just past the midway point of the second half. Fox, 15 yards to the left of Velmont, found herself wide open as she settled Criz’s feed. She then dribbled briefly before depositing a left-footed shot near the far post.
Perhaps the most effective part of Criz’s game is her ground-ball corners. Two of them Thursday night nearly resulted in assists.
Palatine senior midfielder and Drake-bound Paige Millstone, who makes a highly difficult sport look A-B-C easy, struck for the Pirates’ lone goal, one-touching a rebound from 18 yards in the 68th minute.
She and Fox are Eclipse Soccer Club mates.
“Deerfield,” Millstone said, “is very technical.”
“Deerfield,” Morris noted, “did a good job spreading us out and finding gaps in our backfield and in our midfield. Our team is still learning a new system. We had a better first 10 minutes tonight than we did in our opener, but (this game came down to) avoidable mistakes. I expect mistakes, but you can’t make the same one twice.
“I was encouraged by our work-rate in the second half.”
Deerfield hosts Grayslake Central on Friday at 6:45 p.m.; Palatine visits Waukegan at Greg Petry SportsPark on Tuesday at 4:45 p.m., and hosts Buffalo Grove in its Mid-Suburban League opener on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
Deerfield improved to 2-0-0 with a 2-0 home win over Grayslake Central on Friday. … Emily Fox’s two goals Thursday night lifted her to fifth place on the program’s all-time scoring list with 46 and sixth in career points with 116, per the team Twitter account. Fox and former Deerfield standout Riley Schimanski (DHS, Class of ’22), both Chicagoland Soccer All-Staters, had each scored 44 career goals through the 2022 season. … A parent of each of the Pirates trio Paige Millstone, forward Jolee Waddington and senior forward Mia Hanson have a coaching background, though none are in soccer. Eric Millstone directed Palatine’s boys hoops team to the Mid-Suburban League championship in February; Jodi Waddington served as an assistant in girls gymnastics at Palatine; and Bob Hanson is in his 22nd season as Fremd’s badminton coach. His 2007, 2009 and 2019 teams captured state championships. … Paige Millstone, who plans to major in elementary education at Drake, scored twice in Palatine’s season-opening 4-0 defeat of host Zion-Benton on Wednesday night. Waddington netted her first varsity goal, and sophomore forward Maya Virgen tallied the other goal. The Pirates’ backup keeper, senior Brooklyn Velmont, filled in for injured junior Kate Latek and made two saves. … Palatine coach Aaron Morris noted Latek would likely make her season debut Wednesday night against Buffalo Grove. … Fox, on Deerfield junior keeper Lauren Gottlieb: “She’s invincible and fearless.” … Senior defender Marissa Siciliano and junior midfielder Jessie Fisher are serving as Deerfield’s other tri- captains this spring. … Palatine senior midfielder/forward Mia Ramirez is a University of the South (Sewanee, Tennessee) recruit. … Flashback: Deerfield defeated Fenwick 3-0 in last spring’s Class AA third place game at North Central College in Naperville. Current Warriors sophomore forward Ryane Emory scored twice, and Fisher broke a 0-0 tie in the 43rd minute.
GK Brooklyn Velmont
D Madison Adcock
D Angelina Lopez
D Gretchen Kielser
D Katilyn Kania
MF Paige Millstone
MF Allison Sobel
MF Ava Milan
MF Sofia Klein
F Mia Ramirez
F Jolee Waddington
GK Lauren Gottlieb
D Marissa Siciliano
D Sophia Peiser
D Madeline Stevens
MF Emily Fox
MF Simone Criz
MF Katie Denison
MF Jessie Fisher
M Avery Kingsepp
F Maggie Culver
F Ryane Emory
Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Emily Fox, jr., MF, Deerfield
Deerfield — Bella Krummenacher (UA), 16’
Deerfield — Fox (UA), 33’
Deerfield — Fox (Criz), 62’
Palatine — Millstone (UA), 68’