BURLINGTON – Given that it was a night to remember Mark Einwich, Burlington Central’s Eva Boer could be credited with a helmet-trick instead of a hat-trick in the Rocket’s 5-0 win Thursday over Prairie Ridge.
Burlington Central dedicated the night and match to Einwich, the long-time booming voice of Rockets football and basketball. The local firefighter succumbed to cancer last month.
In addition to having emergency vehicles on display as a tribute to Einwich, several activities such as a silent auction and a 50-50 raffle were held to raise money for his family.
In addition to Boer’s first 3-goal varsity game, Ava Elders and Eva Samuelian found the back of the net in the Fox Valley Conference match. Rockets’ freshman goalkeeper Makenzie Lorkowski (2 saves) earned the first-clean sheet of her high school career.
Burlington Central coach Jessica Arneson credited the team’s improved defense for controlling the run of play.
“The girls are more aggressive defensively. It gives them more space and time, and we can defend farther up the field which is really important,” Arneson said “And passing on the ground, which means making the ball do the work instead of the people doing the work. I think they really responded well to that. Overall, it’s just getting down to being mentally focused.”
The Rockets coach was particularly pleased with junior defender Brianna Domaleczny.
“Brianna had a couple of really good headers. She’s kind of a silent leader,” said Arneson.”But she’s like a rock in the backline. She’s fast at the ball, and she can defend well.”
Justin Brown, Prairie Ridge’s coach, is looking for consistency from his youthful team. His starting lineup included four freshmen and only three seniors.
“They have some quality players that’s for sure,” Brown said of Burlington Central. “I thought we looked good at times, but we weren’t consistent for the full 80 minutes.
“We have some new girls. We have a young team, and it’s just got to be consistent to have a much different result.”
Prairie Ridge (0-5-1, 0-1-1) had the first scoring opportunity of the night. Ellie King took a shot from just left of the net 80 seconds in that went wide.
Then Burlington Central (5-3-1, 2-0-1) took over with 10 shots in the first 20 minutes. Prairie Ridge keeper Grace Smeja made three of her four saves in that span.
Ava Elders scored her seventh goal of the season at the 33:52 mark of the first half on a boot from the left corner of the penalty box.
Samuelian increased Burlington Central’s lead to 2-0 in the ninth minute. Emersyn Fry’s 30-yard free kick from the right side made its way to the junior midfielder, who redirected for the score.
Prairie Ridge was unable to capitalize on another scoring opportunity when Olivia Roth’s boot from just left of the goal went wide.
Boer scored her first goal on another set play, heading in a Samuelian free kick with 20 minutes left before intermission.
The rest of the half was played at a less frantic pace. Most of the activity took place in the midfield, though the Rockets did take three shots at the goal.
Burlington dominated play in the second half. Boer scored another close-in goal at the 31:33 mark of the second half on a feed from Kendalyn Grigg.
The Southern Indiana commit scored her third goal on a cross from Haley Lindquist in the 62nd minute.
“My favorite goal was definitely the header. Eva crossed on that corner kick, and it was a perfect ball from her,” Boer said. “I was looking for the third goal. I did miss an open shot earlier. I knew I needed to get one that one back, so I hustled to get it back.”
The hat-trick also earned Boer the Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match honor.
The Samuelian-Boer connection is almost becoming routine. The pair have teamed up for the three goals this season.
“There’s been a couple of connections with Eva. She’s always aggressive in the box, always ready for that header,” said Samuelian (4 goals, 5 assists). “She’s always ready, which has definitely set up connections that led up to the goals.”
Samuelian and Grigg are key components of the midfield.
“Eva and Kendalyn work really well together,” their coach said. “Eva is soccer smart, and Kendall balances them out.”
The Burlington Central roster does not list any forwards, but Boer (7 goals) and Lindquist, an Austin Peay commit, are certain scoring threats.
Lindquist has found the back of the net five times this season.
“We’ve given them free rein to create whatever partnership they want,” Arneson said “Sometimes they’re two forwards, and sometimes they’re offensive midfielders.
“They’re just kind of given the freedom to move around, and that dynamic has been really cool.”
Ava Elders is another strong candidate for the title of striker.
“The one person that we’ve turned into a true forward is Ava Elders,” said the Rockets coach. “But she’s been really sick lately, so she didn’t have that much playing time today.”
Her sister Ellie stepped in.
“Ellie did really well today. She played aggressive, and she was all over the place,” said Arneson. “I love seeing that. it was great.”
Brown was pleased with Prairie Ridge’s effort and saw silver linings in the loss.
“They didn’t give up. I got to give my girls credit for that,” he said “I think Burlington was definitely the better side today. We’re getting there. We’ve just got to make it consistent.
“Addison Taege in the back did a great job. Emily Gorton up-top did well. ... You want goals, but I thought she made some great runs and was dangerous,” Brown continued. “Ellie King in the middle always creates for us. Page Newport played well too.”
Burlington Central is now 2-0-1 in Fox Valley Conference play, but the schedule get tougher from here.
“We have a couple of battles ahead of us, but I really like that I’m seeing that we are growing,” said Arneson. “I’m really excited to see how we do. In recent past, Crystal Lake Central has been tough.”
Players’ parents came up with the idea for Mark Einwich Night.
“My team parents are owed a lot of credit for putting it together,” Arneson said. “It was really cool.”
The Burlington Central coach had her own connection to Einwich.
“I worked the table for basketball, and he was the announcer. I had a really interesting relationship with him. It was unique.” Arneson said. ‘I miss him, because he was such a cool person.”
GK: Grace Smeja
D: Grace Turman
D: Addison Taege
D: Olivia McPherson
D: Grace Wolf
M: Ellie King
M: Olivia Roth
M: Adella Pollack
F: Emily Gorton
F: Maria Falkowska
F: Paige Newport
GK: Mackenzie Lorkowski
D: Rylee Butler
D: Emersyn Fry
D: Brianna Domeleczny
D: Mia Kerr
M: Eva Samuelian
M: Kendelyn Grigg
M: Haley Lindquist
M: Sydney Batts
F: Ava Elders
F: Eva Boer
Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Eva Boer, sr., F, Burlington Central
BC: Ava Elders, 7th minute
BC: Eva Samuelian (Emersyn Fry), 9th minute
BC: Eva Boer (Eva Samuelian) 20th minute
BC: Eva Boer (Kendelyn Griggs), 48th minute
BC: Eva Boer (Haley Lindquist), 62nd minute