PLAINFIELD — Jordan Forbes has an unorthodox origin story about how she became a full-time keeper.
“When I was in about sixth grade, I started playing both striker and keeper at the same time,” she said.
“Probably about my freshman year, I realized I was not going to be able to play two positions at the same time, and I had to make a choice.”
Geneva is the clear beneficiary of the athletic and dynamic junior’s decision.
Relatively small for the position at 5-feet-4, Forbes transcends size with quickness, athleticism, timing and a great feel for the game.
She also retains her attacking perspective.
“I have a lot of confidence in the position from playing striker, and I just know if necessary, I am able to come off the line and get to the ball,” Forbes said.
“I know I have the speed to get there.”
Forbes made two spectacular stops as the Vikings, ranked 16th in the Chicagoland Soccer Top 25, stunned no. 4 Plainfield North in a penalty shootout to capture the championship of the Plainfield Classic on Saturday.
After a scoreless draw, Geneva won 4-3 in sudden death (sixth round).
The Vikings also avenged a defeat in last year’s title game to the Tigers.
Forbes helped neutralize a devastating offensive attack that had been averaging more than five goals per game.
Benet, for instance, has permitted just five goals this season. Four came against Plainfield North in the Wheaton North Kickoff Classic at the start of the season.
“We have a really strong backline, and Lilly Coats is really good in the midfield to just get on the ball,” Forbes said.
Geneva’s only loss this season came against unbeaten and third-ranked Lyons, which captured the Lou Malnati’s Deep Dish Classic on Saturday with a rout of no. 7 Evanston.
Geneva (9-1-0) is the real deal.
Coming into the game, Plainfield North (10-1-2) was undefeated, its only blemishes were ties to top-ranked Metea Valley and no. 22 Naperville North.
“Geneva is a very good team,” Plainfield North coach Katie Monterosso said. “They are well organized and quick.
“They are similar in their attack to those other top teams, rotating their forwards and center midfielders through the attack. They press well as a unit.”
After neither team scored in regulation, the tournament format went straight to the shootout.
Forbes was spectacular at the crucial start, stoning the shots of Tigers’ stars Laura Mrugala and Tessa Ferguson.
“I’ve lost some shootouts before, and I just came in with the attitude that I was not going to let that happen again,” Forbes said.
“I have my routine, I bounce around a lot, move around, and just try to see which side they are going to go on. Then I stay put and make the right guess.”
Leyna Yonehara, Olivia Rawls and Rilee Hasegawa put Geneva up 3-2 entering the final round.
After Plainfield North’s backup keeper Jenna Bearden gave her team new life by stopping the Vikings’ fifth shooter, Tigers defender Taylor Green extended the shootout with her conversion.
“I thought that was a confidence booster and gave us a breath, so that we could regroup,” Monterosso said.
Freshman midfielder Audrey Streede stood tall and calmly delivered the game-winner for Geneva.
“I was just going to go up there, and look to see what the keeper’s tendencies were, and I just picked a corner and stuck with it,” Streede said.
Her precocity was evident and self-apparent.
“We pushed our attack all the way until the end, and they were a really good team,” Streede said.
“During the game, I was hard on myself from the opportunities we missed and wanted to make up for it.”
The shot by the sixth Plainfield North player sailed over the top of the bar.
Weather conditions also significantly impacted the style and nature of the play.
Geneva had the wind in the first half, and enjoyed the superiority of possession, dangerous actions and scoring chances.
Off a corner in the eighth minute, midfielder Julianna Drew smashed a header from the six that cleared the top of the bar.
Agile and lithe, Plainfield North starting keeper Hannah Bukowski made a fantastic stop in the 15th minute off a quick action by Rawls in front of the goal.
She played the entire first half, and was replaced by Bearden in the 52nd minute.
Bukowski was superb, posting six saves.
Geneva midfielder Caroline Madden had an exceptional game for the Vikings, using her quickness, athleticism and size to wreak havoc.
Madden is one of the state’s best multiple sport athletes. She was a starting guard on the basketball team that went 31-4 and finished third in Class 4A.
She has made a seamless transition to soccer. Madden made several strong offensive plays in the first half, forcing Bukowski into excellent saves.
“It is definitely a big privilege to be able to play where I am, and being part of a fantastic basketball program and now soccer program,” Madden said.
“The success in basketball has given me a lot of confidence with soccer.”
Geneva also has a lot of positional flexibility and versatility in its lineup.
Morgan Rudowicz is normally a forward who shifted to center back to make up for the absence of normal starter Bella Walls.
A Marquette recruit, Coats is the classic holding-midfielder who has the ability to toggle between the middle or back.
The Vikings’ reconfigured backline of Rudowicz and Yonehara in the middle and Madison Rees and Cami Bishop on the outside flustered the speed and power of the Tigers’ attack.
“We were struggling a bit today in the final third,” Monterosso said. “I felt we tried to dribble too much and not work the ball.
“It allowed their defense to transition to get behind the ball. We did have some corners, but we couldn’t capitalize. Their goalkeeper had solid hands and also made good saves.”
Forbes was up to every challenge, like stopping a 15-yard rocket ball from Ferguson in the 43rd minute.
Mrugala had a free kick from about 27 yards clip off the far post in the 66th minute.
Forbes responded with an alert, capable clearance.
She also made the necessary tactical adjustments with Plainfield North having the wind in the second half.
“We pushed our line back a little bit, because we knew the long balls were coming, and I had to be able to anticipate the ball bouncing into my box,” Forbes said.
Including her two shootout stops, she finished with seven saves.
Jordan Forbes earned the Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match honor for her outstanding play.
Even with her heart in her throat during the most intense parts of the game, she was comfortable and very much in the moment.
“My favorite part about playing keeper is just flying through the air,” Forbes said.
“People think that’s crazy, but I think it’s a lot of fun. You’re the last person there, so it feels really great when you make a really good save.”
GK: Jordan Forbes
D: Madison Rees
D: Leyna Yonehara
D: Morgan Rudowicz
D: Cami Bishop
MF: Julianna Drew
MF: Evyn Schokora
MF: Lilly Coats
MF: Caroline Madden
F: Olivia Rawls
F: Rilee Hasegawa
GK: Hannah Bukowski
D: Delaney Harwood
D: Taylor Green
D: Lauren Mrugala
D: Maggie Hamilton
MF: Sophie Carlos
MF: Georgia Liapis
MF: Jessica Stewart
MF: Gabriella Mattio
F: Tessa Ferguson
F: Alex Tetteh
Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Jordan Forbes, jr., GK, Geneva
Penalty kick shootout
Geneva—Evyn Schokora (missed), Leyna Yonehara (make), Olivia Rawls (make), Rilee Hasegawa (make), Caroline Madden (saved), Audrey Stredde (make)
Plainfield North—Gabriella Mattio (saved), Tessa Ferguson (saved), Georgia Liapis (make), Alex Tetteh (make), Taylor Green (make), Maggie Hamilton (missed)