CHICAGO — “West Side Story” is one of the great American musicals, with its dazzling dance numbers and beautiful songs.
Prior to the Back of the Yards game Wednesday, every player on Jones must have been hearing the famous opening from “Something’s Coming”:
“Could be, who knows?
There's somethin' due any day
I will know right away, soon as it shows
It may come cannon ballin' down through the sky
Gleam in its eye, bright as a rose
Who knows? It's only just out of reach
Down the block, on a beach, under a tree
I got a feelin' there's a miracle due
Gonna come true, comin' to me”
The Eagles faced one of the most daunting opening week challenges of the season with games against three ranked programs.
There is no shame in losing against no. 4 Lyons, no. 7 Oswego East and no. 23 St. Ignatius.
Jones went without scoring in the opening week. Midfielder Carolina Rondelli visualized breaking that streak.
“I told the coaches I was going to go out and score in the first two minutes,” she said. “I scored in the first 1:45, so that felt good.”
That was just the opening number to a show-stopping performance.
Rondelli scored three goals and contributed three assists in the Eagles’ 8-0 victory over Back of the Yards on a rainy day with gusting wind Wednesday in Chinatown.
“The first three games taught us what we needed to work on,” Rondelli said. “With this game we improved a lot. We kept the ball, and it gave me more opportunities and everybody more chances to score.
“It was a very satisfying game, and I enjoyed it.”
A Chicagoland Soccer All-State player last year, Rondelli was the featured attraction.
Her understudy also made a spectacular debut, revealing a precocity and wonder all her own.
Freshman forward Aiyana Wright also posted a hat-trick and contributed an assist.
The Eagles (1-3-0) scored four goals in each half.
Wright flashed promise and excitement, utilizing her speed to get to the edge/ From there she showcased a laser shot she seemingly bent at her own will.
“I really like to get the ball, and make that fast turn, or get the quick pass out wide and get the shot, or play it back to Carolina,” Wright said.
Rondelli connected on her first two goals in the second and eighth minutes. Scoring is psychological. Seeing the ball in the back of the net is an act of liberation, proving a collective release of pressure and internal tension.
“Absolutely,” Wright said. “I felt a lot of relief because being up-top, you are expected to score.
“If you don’t the whole question becomes ‘What are you doing out there?’ Today I finally felt like I was contributing to the team.”
Back of the Yards (2-2-0) was outmatched. As one of the stronger teams in the First Division South, the team looks forward to the challenge of playing a city power like Jones.
Depth was an issue, especially after a couple of starters suffered foot injuries at the start. That forced positional changes in the formation.
“As a team we try our best to keep up the spirit even though we got down early, and we were losing,” captain Jennifer Robello said.
“We tried to motivate each other every day in practice, and no matter what happens, we are still going to grind. No matter what we do, our team is going to be inspired, and we are going to keep learning from our mistakes and our losses.”
The Bobcats were unable to generate much in the form of an attack or shots on goal.
Jones set the fast pace right off the start, and the Bobcats were forced into a deeply reactive mode. Jones coach Derek Bylsma has a pretty binary response to his team’s play.
The team is solid when the effort and intensity are there.
“When we don’t play with intensity, quite frankly we are bad,” he said.
The team had its best practice Tuesday.
“We always schedule some of our toughest games early, like Lyons, Oswego East, Hinsdale Central. We don’t want to wait until we play Lane or Young to expose our weaknesses,” he said.
“We want to expose them quickly, understand what they are. Good teams are going to show what’s wrong with your team.
“Our speed of play and level of intensity was just not on par with those teams we played. Usually when we play the better teams, we are not as skilled, but we can match their intensity and aggressiveness. We didn’t do that.”
Rondelli is great on the ball, and plays at her own pace, with a feel for handling the ball and creating for others.
She assisted Wright’s second and third goals during a second half flurry.
Wright’s speed and athleticism conjures another revered figure from Jones’ past teams: two-time Chicagoland Soccer All-State forward Carmen Marshall, Rondelli’s teammate her sophomore year.
“She’s our new Carmen, and she is going to do a lot this year,” Rondelli said.
“I’m very comfortable being the leader, and creator for others. We have a lot of good players supporting me, especially on the wings.”
Rondelli also created the third goal, slotting a ball that Morgan Scott blasted home from about 14 yards.
Moments later, Wright closed out the first half scoring a bullet inside the 6.
Forward Mia McRoberts was another offensive standout. The team’s best passer and its set piece specialist, she created off movement and corner and free kicks.
McRoberts and Rondelli collaborated on the most beautiful scoring sequence, a looping corner ball that Rondelli smashed home with a header at the start of the second half.
McRoberts closed out the scoring.
The defense was not called on to contain many dangerous opportunities by the Bobcats.
The center in the Eagles’ three-back formation, Patricia Felder is the heart of the defense. She is the best cover and strongest support. A three-year starter, Felder brings calm and stability.
“We knew when we played those good teams, our chances for victory were pretty low, but I least wanted us to score and be more competitive there,” she said.
“I was frustrated, but I knew we could work things out. We had a great practice, and we worked hard on communicating and being first to the ball, and I think that translated well into this game.”
Scoring is a state of mind, Felder said. The Eagles had to show what they were capable of.
“Especially with our new players, it was good for them to see that we are a scoring team,” she said. “We can do it if everyone touches the ball, and we are able to possess.
“Our offense always starts with our defense, and we make our best chances when we really move it side to side.”
With her nine-point scoring binge, Rondelli earned the Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match distinction.
Jones is set to play at Washington on Thursday before its rivalry game against Payton on Saturday.
“Everything is moving uphill now,” Rondelli said. “The mood is up; our morale is up.
“Everyone’s more confident, everyone’s ready to play, and I think we are going to show that on Saturday.”
Back of the Yards
GK: Angie Jaral
D: Eve Lopez
D: Jimena Figueroa
D: Andrea Rodriguez
D: Jenny Rebollo
D: Wendy Geronimo
MF: Emmely Munoz
MF: Camila Torres
MF: Brenda Macias
MF: Natalia Balleza
F: Andrea Flores
GK: Ruby Miller
D: Karina Teliz
D: Patricia Felder
D: Morgan Scott
MF: Sanai Wright
MF: Mari Hamada
MF: Edni Leal
MF: Carolina Rondelli
F: Caroline Patterson
F: Mia McRoberts
F: Aiyana Wright
Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Carolina Rondelli, sr., MF, Jones
Jones—Carolina Rondelli (Mia McRoberts), 2nd minute
Jones—Rondelli (Aiyana Wright), 8th minute
Jones—Morgan Scott (Rondelli), 22nd minute
Jones—Wright (McRoberts), 27th minute
Jones—Rondelli (McRoberts), 42nd minute
Jones—Wright (Rondelli), 51st minute
Jones—Wright (Rondelli), 58th minute
Jones—McRoberts (Caroline Patterson), 61st minute