MELROSE PARK – De La Salle junior striker Imani Coleman’s quick expression revealed her surprise at the statement.
After the Meteors scored three goals in the first four-plus minutes Friday against host Trinity, Coleman wandered near the small grandstand area packed with fans. Coleman played a big part in the strong start, scoring consecutive goals in the fifth missed out on another.
Just then, Coleman heard a fan blurt out, “You ate your Wheaties today.”
“That was one of my friend’s mom who said that to me,” Coleman said. “I don’t know why she said that. Maybe she was trying to be funny. It took us a minute to get going, but then we got it together pretty well and played like a team.”
Actually it took three minutes for the first goal. By the time the seventh was finished, the Meteors led 4-0.
It was a memorable performance for De La Salle, which scored six goals in the first half to cruise to a 9-0 Girls Catholic Athletic Conference cross-over win over Trinity at Ralph “Babe” Serpico Memorial Field. The Meteors (5-1-0) added their seventh goal in the 45th minute to force a shortened game, prompting several fans to express enthusiasm for a quicker ending due to the cold.
The Meteors celebrated in TGIF mode from the opening minutes and spread the wealth in a physical game that had many tumbles to the ground on the hard turf by both teams, especially Trinity.
Coleman led the way with two goals and an assist from minutes 5 to 7. Sissi Loza added two goals, and Sara Murray netted a goal and an assist. Joanna Mullen, Mia Ortega, Dixie Zamago and Julissa Zuniga each scored one goal. Loren Torres and Kennedi Carpenter each delivered an assist in the deluge of points.
“We had a battle last night at Hinsdale South (a 2-1 win for the consolation title of the 32-team Windy City Ram Classic), so it was nice to have a slower-paced game, and it was a conference cross-over,” De La Salle coach Carlos Nunez said. “It’s an opponent we remember. We talked about working the ball in the first half and trying to connect on some things we haven’t been able to, like putting together three or four passes.
“Sissi Loza has done a really nice job for us. Sophia Torres has been playing well for us with our captain down, Mia Lozza; she hasn’t played a second of soccer yet because of an injury. Sophia has been holding down the fort with her sister, Lauren. Those two have been nice additions.
“We’ve developed a lot since last year in terms of conditioning and skills, and today we had a chance to show that. I think chemistry is the biggest thing we’re going to work on. We have kids from various areas and clubs. We have to realize we need each other to accomplish our goals.”
After losing 4-2 to Class 3A Riverside-Brookfield in their first game of the season and the opening round of the Windy City Ram Classic, the Class AA Meteors have lived up to Nunez’s preseason pledge to take another step in the development of the program. De La Salle has not missed a beat, overpowering its last five opponents: Curie, Providence, Tinley Park, Hinsdale South and Trinity by a whopping 25-2 margin.
Coleman said the team is motivated to top last season’s 21-4-0 record, which ended a step away from the Final Four with a 1-0 supersectional loss to Fenwick.
“We have definitely gotten better each game,” Coleman said. “Everybody has been contributing, including everyone new to the team. Our big goal is to make it further than last year. With this team, I think we definitely can do that. We have very good players this year. We returned most of our players.”
Carpenter joked about her role playing “defense” for an odd twist on Friday, but she took the shift in stride. Carpenter said the Meteors have learned to play hard every game, no matter the level of opponent.
“This was a good win,” Carpenter said. “We’re trying to come together and make it further than last year. We’re definitely playing strong.”
Loza was all over the field in Friday’s win, missing several chances to add to her goal total. The athletic and active player raised her season goal total to a team-high seven.
“It was a good game,” she said. “We got a lot of players some stats. We played as a team and overcame a rocky start. We played together. The game wasn’t a breeze, but a little more relaxing than Thursday’s hard-fought match. That was physical, and we all were beat up.”
Meteors freshman defender Sophie Torres said the backline maintained its intensity throughout the match. Trinity (2-2-0) had only one shot on goal, which was easily corralled by De La Salle goalie Emily Samuels with 13:17 left before halftime.
“We did very good transitioning from offense to defense and communicated well on the field and recovered from our mistakes,” Torres said.
Sophie Torres said she’s happy to be a contributor in her first year in high school for a team with lofty aspirations.
“It feels good to know all the girls on the team, because I’ve worked very hard to get where I’m at now,” Sophie Torres said.
Lauren Torres, a junior, indicated the opening loss to Riverside-Brookfield helped bring the team closer together.
“I’m very excited to see how far we can do this season,” Lauren Torres. “Each player is very talented, and we can be really good if we come together and work together. We’re developing and overcame a lot of obstacles. Since our first game, we’ve really progressed and learned how to work together. It’s been really exciting.”
Freshman Dixie Zamago is another young and promising player providing valuable minutes for De La Salle in the opening weeks of the season. Zamago has scored four goals in five games.
“It was a good win, and we moved the ball around really well,” she said. “Games like this really help us improve. It was a good game.”
Junior forward Mia Ortega had several chances to pad her goal total. She has three this season.
“This was a good opportunity to practice and take more shots,” Ortega said. “It gave us an opportunity to connect more as a team. I think we’ve learned from our mistakes from last year and improve on that. We have a lot of new and talented players and returning talented players. We can be a very good team.”
De La Salle
GK: Emily Samuels
D: Lauren Torres
D: Vicky Luna
D: Sophia Torres
D: Joanna Mullen
MF: Sissi Loza
MF: Imani Coleman
MF: Samantha Velasco
MF: Mia Ortega
F: Dixie Zamago
F: Kennedi Carpenter
GK: Giselle Galloza
D: Alexa Gonzalez
D: Lesly Guerra
D: Angelina Sanchez
D: Nataly Contreras
MF: Hana Subijano
MF: Natalie Linares
MF: Kiara Martinez
MF: Grace Ramel
F: Ciara Bucio
F: Vanessa Arrequin
Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Imani Coleman, jr., MF, De La Salle
DLS: Ortega (Murray), 3’
DLS: Coleman (Ortega), 5’
DLS: Coleman (unassisted), 5’
DLS: Mullen (Coleman), 7’
DLS: Murray (unassisted), 14’
DLS: Zuniga (Carpenter), 26’
DLS: Loza (unassisted), 45’
DLS: Loza (Mullen), 48’
DLS: Zamago (L. Torres), 51’