CHICAGO – Freshman midfielder Reese Meyers has made an immediate offensive impact at North Shore Country Day.
Meyers has scored in every Raiders’ match, including the lone goals in opening season losses to Woodlands and Regina Dominican.
She added three more Thursday, while also helping to make sure seven other teammates scored their first goal of the season as North Shore Country Day rolled to its first win of the season -- a 10-0 road victory at Morgan Park Academy in an Independent School League game.
“It feels good to get the first win,” Meyers said. “I think we all played well together as team.”
Meyers, who had recorded her three goals and two assists in the first half was an easy choice for the Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match honor.
“Reese obviously has a gift of speed and tenacity, and she’s going to go down and chase the ball,” North Shore Country Day coach Rebekah Kauffman said. “She’s ready to play. It’s terrific, because all the plays she makes include other people, too.
“Our team, we love each other. And we love utilizing the gifts that people have to put themselves in the best position to be successful.”
The Raiders (1-2-0, 1-1-0) opened the scoring in the fourth minute on a pretty combination play. The ball went from senior captain Suraiyya Omar to Meyers down the right side of the field. Meyers slotted it back toward the center of the box, where fellow frosh Kate Connolly ripped her shot home from 10 yards.
Meyers and Connolly were half of the four freshmen who started for the Raiders on Thursday, along with goalkeeper Margaret Fitzgerald and defender Dixie Oelerich.
“I hope we’re stepping in pretty well and improving ourselves,” Meyers said of the freshmen. “That’s all you can really ask for.”
Junior midfielder Thomasina Kalotis has been impressed with the young newcomers.
“They’re all really amazing, really energetic,” Kalotis said. “It’s easy to see. They’ve got that excitement all over their faces. As an upperclassman on the team, I love going out there and supporting them. We’re building such great relationships. We love our freshmen.”
The opening goal showed Kauffman that her team was ready to take some big strides by connecting on passes and improving ball movement.
“I liked their attitude and their energy,” Kauffman said. “They were ready to go, ready to play. We got a beautiful day to be outside, and they were excited. They committed to moving the ball and trying to find a pass first, and they were able to do that.
“It was good for them to see things that we’ve been working on in practice and see them work when we implement them into the games. I think the more they’re together, the better they’re going to be.”
The goal parade went into full swing after the opening tally.
After the ball was batted around the box by both teams off a Raiders throw-in, Meyers picked off a clearing attempt from Morgan Park Academy (0-3-0, 0-2-0) and fired in a quick shot from 15 yards to make it 2-0 in the 11th minute.
Six minutes later, North Shore Country Day converted off another throw-in. This time, it was Meyers with the toss and sophomore Daisy Stone who finished.
That was just the start of an interesting day for Stone, who started at forward. Shortly after scoring, she moved to goalkeeper for the final 20 minutes of the first half. In the second half, she played defender.
“I played goalie a long, long time ago, but I haven’t played in recent years,” Stone said. “I normally play up-front. It was nice to get a sense of every single position on the field.”
Fitzgerald, Stone and senior Lauren Gallagher – who moved from goalkeeper to defender in the second half – all shared the shutout in net, though none were required to make a save.
Morgan Park Academy’s best chance to score came on its lone free kick in the offensive end. Sheridan Harris struck it from 35 yards but sent her shot just high.
Despite the huge offensive output from North Shore Country Day, Morgan Park Academy freshman goalkeeper Chloe Underwood was the biggest standout for the Warriors. She made seven saves, including a couple highlight-reel worthy ones in the second half, when she slapped Carly Lissner’s shot just wide and caught a close-in strike from Isabel Roberts.
The Raiders, nonetheless, continued to put the ball in the back of the net with regularity.
Meyers added her second and third goals to make it 5-0 before Omar and Roberts struck for a 7-0 halftime lead.
Meonda Collins, Oelerich and Kalotis added second half scores.
North Shore Country Day has now been on both ends of a lopsided game, and Kalotis said the Raiders have gained valuable lessons.
“We learned some important things about sportsmanship,” Kalotis said. “We’ve been down and now we’ve been up. We know how it feels both ways. We’ve learned how to deal with these games with a lot of respect and maturity.”
First-year coach Kauffman picked up her initial victory and is having a blast with her new team.
“It’s fun to watch them, because I’ve known a lot of them since they were in elementary school,” Kauffman said. “So, it’s fun just being able to watch them get ready to compete and ... make this program part of their own.”
Kauffman is confident the Raiders will continue to make progress as the season goes on.
“I think a lot of it will be how we can continue to change the point of attack and how we can continue to connect passes with a purpose and a plan,” she said. “We’ve had three weeks together as a team, and we’ve come a long way from where we started.
“So, to have six or seven more weeks together going forward, I’m excited to see how much further we can go.”
Stone feels a special connection developing among her teammates.
“I think the way we came out and played as a team was exciting,” she said. “The chemistry we have as a team is great. We’re a small school, so everyone gets to know each other really well off the field, and I think that plays a big part in how we connect on the field.”
Kalotis loves how much positivity the Raiders have and thinks that will help them all season.
“I think we all help each other and all the coaches enforce that if we ever get a little bit off track,” she said. “We’re the most supportive team out there, I think.
"There are some other teams where you might mess up and you worry that people are going to turn against you, but that would never happen here. It’s a very supportive environment.
“I’m ready to get back out there and do my best every time.”
North Shore Country Day
GK: Margaret Fitzgerald
D: Dixie Oelerich
D: Meonda Collins
D: Isabel Roberts
D: Lauren Gallagher
MF: Thomasina Kalotis
MF: Reese Meyers
MF: Suraiyya Omar
MF: Carly Lissner
F: Kate Connolly
F: Daisy Stone
Morgan Park Academy
GK: Chloe Underwood
D: Oriah Hill
D: Leyre Higuero Crespo
D: Safiya Bacon
D: Eden Redmond
MF: Sheridan Harris
MF: Kaylie Schmidt
MF: Zulema Jaime
MF: Asha Hawkins
MF: Zoe Rider
F: Karlee Brown
Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Reese Meyers, fr., MF, North Shore Country Day
NORTH SHORE COUNTRY DAY – Connolly (Meyers), 4’
NORTH SHORE COUNTRY DAY – Meyers (unassisted), 11’
NORTH SHORE COUNTRY DAY – Stone (Meyers), 17’
NORTH SHORE COUNTRY DAY – Meyers (unassisted), 19’
NORTH SHORE COUNTRY DAY – Meyers (unassisted), 24’
NORTH SHORE COUNTRY DAY – Omar (unassisted), 30’
NORTH SHORE COUNTRY DAY – Roberts (Kalotis), 33’
NORTH SHORE COUNTRY DAY – Collins (Oelerich), 41’
NORTH SHORE COUNTRY DAY – Oelerich (unassisted), 52’
NORTH SHORE COUNTRY DAY – Kalotis (Lissner), 57’