GLENVIEW — Lyons junior center midfielder Izzi Wirtz awoke Saturday morning hoping to score her first goal of the spring.
Her wish was granted in duplicate.
“The second,” Wirtz said, “was icing on the cake.”
Or an extra topping on the pizza. After all, her breakthrough brace came in a 3-0 defeat of host Glenbrook South in a Group C
opener of the 5th annual Lou Malnati’s Deep Dish Classic.
“She’s been doing a nice job for us defensively,” Lions coach Bill Lanspeary said of Wirtz, a Chicagoland Soccer All-State Watch List pick and the MVP of the Match. “It was good to see her get involved offensively and produce like she did today.”
Both goals came off corner kicks. Senior forward Katie O’Malley, another CS All-State Watch List choice, took both and ended her afternoon with a three-assist game on a sun-splashed day.
O’Malley’s first assist was as picturesque as the weather. Her left-footed offering met Wirtz’s right shin as the latter bolted near Titans junior goalkeeper Lyndsey Mack (two saves).
The redirect traveled five yards and found twine in the eighth minute.
“It could not have been a better corner,” Wirtz said after Lyons, which is ranked no. 4 in Chicagoland Soccer’s Top 25
rankings, improved its overall record to 6-0-0 and its goal differential to 20-0.
Wirtz’s second goal featured a bit of chaos. Another O’Malley corner descended in the middle of the box, but this time, in
minute 24, the ball ricocheted off a Titan’s leg and bounced toward Wirtz, who connected again from five yards.
“I try to be consistent on corners,” the Illinois State-bound O’Malley said, adding she’s been taking them since her
sophomore season on varsity.
She connected with forward Niamh Griffin in the 45th minute to help her team complete its scoring.
Griffin caught up to O’Malley’s smooth back-post feed and tapped a seven-yard shot past Mack.
Three helpers, one game.
What should a three-assist game be called?
“Go with ‘a Katie O’Malley,’” a smiling Wirtz suggested.
Lyons senior starting keeper Sara Schinker (zero saves, first half) and sophomore Nora Ezike (one save, second half) shared net
duties. Shorthanded Glenbrook South (5-4-0) played without senior midfielders and tri-captains Wesleyan commit Meghan Noe (ACL) and Carolyn Cameranesi (hamstring) and didn’t boot its first shot until the 26th minute.
Lyons racked up 10 of its 12 corners in the first half. Hustle and skill from Lions sophomore forward and 2022 Chicagoland
Soccer All-Stater Caroline Mortonson helped create four first half corners for the visitors from LaGrange.
“We tried to stay as compact as possible against Lyons’ offense to limit their shots,” Glenbrook South coach Mark Daniels said.
“But Lyons played situationally sound soccer, getting to the outside on us and (generating) all of those corners. That team
has no weakness. It’s well-coached and dangerous on set pieces.
“We’re fine; we’re not bad,” he added. “We have depth, and we battled. We’ll learn and grow from this.”
Daniels received tireless and tough defensive efforts from senior Emily Ibarra and junior Katie Condon, who struck the Titans’ lone on-goal shot via a free kick in the 56th minute.
Ezike had to leap to stop the 30-yarder.
Ibarra blunted Lyons’ relentless rushes here, there and everywhere.
“Emily,” Daniels said, “is physical, and she doesn’t let players turn on her. She reads and anticipates well.”
Glenbrook South exuded a fearless mindset at the outset of the challenging matchup and maintained it until the final horn.
“We wanted to make sure we didn’t think, at any point of the game, ‘Oh, we’re going to lose because Lyons is so good,’” Ibarra, a Purdue Fort Wayne commit, said. “If you think that way, you’re going to lose every time. Lyons’ players are tough and strong, especially when they get to the outside and start dribbling.
“But we played hard and didn’t back down. And when we did make a mistake, we didn’t dwell on it.”
The scoreboard at John Davis Stadium announced Glenbrook South had lost. But Condon couldn’t shake a certain feeling afterward.
“It felt like a win for us,” she said. “That team is good, no question. Lyons’ players possess well and don’t give the ball
away. But I liked the way we played and worked together against such a strong opponent.
“And we did a good job preventing them from taking easy shots.”
Lanspeary, in his 17th season at Lyons, was impressed with both Glenbrook South’s approach and his club’s response.
“Glenbrook South,” he said, “put us under pressure. We didn’t have a lot of time (to operate). We then adjusted and played
with pretty good poise.”
O’Malley played inspired soccer, period, and had no idea exactly how many assists she had accrued this spring after her assist-heavy Saturday.
Team-first athletes only care about the first number in their team’s overall record.
“She is so good in our attack, in one-on-ones,” Lanspeary said. “Katie gets a lot of attention out there, which opens things up
for her teammates.”
Each school competes Monday and Wednesday in Deep Dish Classic Group C games. Lyons hosts Lake Forest on Monday at 6 p.m. and entertains Loyola, which is ranked no. 25 in the CS Top 25, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Glenbrook South visits Loyola on Monday at 4:45 p.m. and Lake Forest on Wednesday at 4:45 p.m.
Glenbrook South and Lake Forest are honorable mention teams in the CS Top 25 rankings.
Group-mates Lyons and Loyola emerged as co-champions last spring when inclement weather scrubbed the title match and the sides couldn’t settle on a make-up date. … Name game: A Beach (freshman forward Chloe) and a Winter (senior forward Kate) are Glenbrook South teammates. … Lyons’ Lanspeary noted Saturday that his goalkeepers, senior and Carthage recruit Sara Schinker and sophomore Nora Ezike, had logged equal time in goal through six games. They also shared a 0.00 goals-against average.
GK Sara Schinker
D Caroline McKenna
D Brennan Israel
D Avery Wengerd
D Chandlar Lay
MF Carolina Capizzi
MF Josie Pochocki
MF Izzi Wirtz
F Niamh Griffin
F Katie O’Malley
F Caroline Mortonson
GK Lyndsey Mack
D Emily Ibarra
D Katie Condon
D Adyson Clemen
D Christina Papadatos
MF Kiki Patton
MF Lauren Koopersmith
MF Claire Baim
F Chloe Beach
F Kate Winter
F Payton Davidson
Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Izzi Wirtz, jr., MF, Lyons
Lyons — Wirtz (O’Malley), 8’
Lyons — Wirtz (O’Malley), 24’
Lyons — Griffin (O’Malley), 45’