By Bobby Narang
SCHAUMBURG – Hinsdale Central’s soccer team made a grand entrance Saturday afternoon.
With 100s of athletes along with high school coaches, parents and college coaches milling in and around the entrance into Olympic Park, the Red Devils strode into the main area and made a beeline to the northern wall – while the team's Bluetooth speaker played a classic rock hit by Foreigner.
Carmel, ranked 19th in the Chicagoland Soccer Top 25, surely wanted the 18th-ranked Red Devils to feel defeat for the first time. The Class AA Corsairs had ample motivation following a stinging one-goal loss to Warren on Tuesday. A week ago (April 8), the Corsairs dropped their first game of the season in a 2-0 defeat to Benet in a highly anticipated showdown between what some consider the top two teams in East Suburban Catholic Conference.
Carmel was hungry for a win. Since a 4-0-0 start, the team was a 1-3-1 run.
Neither the Corsairs nor an odd mixture of weather could defeat Hinsdale Central. The Red Devils were undisturbed by a 68-minute delay caused by overtime games and a pair of lightning delays. As the game started with a few drops of rain, and a strong wind combined with the threat of a storm, the Red Devils charged forward.
The showdown lived up to the billing.
Hinsdale Central's Avery Edgewater missed a few golden opportunities to score in each half before punching in the game-winner just over six minutes into the second half for a 1-0 win over the Corsairs at the Body Armor event at Olympic Park.
Edgewater has now scored in four-straight games according to Hinsdale Central coach Tony Madonia.
The Red Devils (7-0-2) have won five-straight games since a scoreless draw against Oswego East on April Fools Day. On Saturday, as the clouds cleared early in the first half and gave way to sunshine and oppressive heat, the Red Devils and Corsairs (5-3-1) battled in a physical and intense game befitting a playoff match.
Madonia was happy to walk away with another tough win against a quality opponent.
“It’s so much fun playing in this tournament,” Madonia said. “This tournament is a great feeling. Everybody is having a great time in the name of soccer, service and charity. It was fun to play against a super competitive team.
“It was nice to win, especially since we had a couple of injuries. We were playing without our senior center back Ava Elliott, who has started every game for the last three seasons and is a huge piece.
“Avery is on a hot streak. We had a lot of people step up, like Grace Sakalosky and Addisyn Krogistie and Julia Marinaccio. They played so well today. It was good to see everybody hopping in and doing a good job.
“Carmel was really disciplined and did a good job. Their goalkeeper made some really, really great saves.”
Carmel coach Stephanie Kile said Saturday’s loss was difficult. She urged her captains Emily Fix, Madison Konen and Anna Hartman to have a bigger voice to help the team get back on track. The Corsairs (5-3-1) came out sluggish in the first half but closed out the game with some energy with five shots on goal in the final 19 minutes.
“I thought our effort was completely off today,” Kile said. “We did not look like the Carmel that normally shows up. I thought the heart, desire and competitiveness didn’t operate well today, and we did not deserve to win.
“We came into this tournament knowing we would face some stronger teams and some teams not necessarily in our class, in 3A. We’re just going through a slump right now.
“I’m trying to tell my captains that they have to figure it out. There’s only so much I can do. We have to get out of this slump.”
Kile praised her senior goalie Abby Tekempe, a first-year starter who had nine saves against the Red Devils.
“Abby is having a great year,” Kile said. “She’s done a nice job, from going in and not playing keeper until her sophomore year. She’s done a nice job all season. She saved our butt all day. It could’ve been a lot worse.”
Tekampe was outstanding against the highly skilled Red Devils, overcoming a barrage of shots from all angles, a pair of physical hits and the intense heat. She tallied seven of her nine saves in the final 35 minutes to keep the game close.
“I think we let some balls slip through the middle, but we did an overall good job,” Tekampe said.
Tekampe said she was pleased with her play against several supremely talented teams over the last 10 days, but she would’ve preferred a few more victories.
She said becoming the full-time keeper required changes because she doesn't have as much experience compared to most of her peers.
“It’s definitely an adjustment for me and been keeping me on the toes and pushing me to play as good as I can be,” Tekampe said. “It’s learning on the fly. I try and handle everything in there and just get the ball and get it out of there.
"I’ve realized that I just have to work on my possession, the close balls that are right on top of the 18 and communicate better with my defense.
“I try not to let the pressure get to me and take it one game at a time, one ball at a time. I try not to focus too hard on the team we’re playing, but rather the ball in front of me. We’ve got a mostly new backline this year. We’re connecting well and think we have a good flow going from the defense.”
Hinsdale Central put a shot past Tekampe in the opening minutes of the second half, when Edgewater knocked a ball over her head that landed in the empty goal.
Tekampe said: “On their goal, it just slipped by me.”
Earlier in the game, Edgewater and Tekampe ran into each other in a hard collision that left Edgewater on the ground for a few seconds.
“It was a good match and fight, and I think the heat affected us a lot,” Hinsdale Central sophomore midfielder Peyton Rohn said.
“We kept it together and our passing was strong and eventually Avery finished it off. It was a lot of persistence, and defending-wise shifting and giving each other players and marking them up tight.”
Hinsdale Central’s Adrianna Giannini spent most of the game hovering close to Carmel senior forward Emily Fix. The Marquette recruit has the ability to score goals in bunches with her fast feet and knack for finding the ball. The Red Devils neutralized Fix for most of the game, limiting her touches and shots.
“We all just tried to communicate throughout the season, especially with the heat,” Giannini said. “We were on our marks and were holding possession and working throughout. It felt so great to come out with the win, especially after waiting so long.”
Hinsdale Central’s Edgewater was a thorn in the sides of Carmel’s backline and Tekampe all game long. Her on-ball skills, speed and tenacity tested Carmel’s backline. Edgewater had four shots on goal in the second half, including two within the first four minutes of the second half before finally tallying a goal.
“On the first time when we (collided), I learned she was willing to throw her body out there. There’s a lot of goalies at the high school who are very good, but she was top level,” Edgewater said.
“I learned from that I had to release the ball faster, because she didn’t just have good eye-hand contact but was really speedy and could get out to the ball.
“Cate McDonnell had a great game and assisted me on my goal. I was able to find the back of her pass and put it in. This was a really big win for us, a good feeling to win.”
Six minutes after Edgewater’s goal, it looked like Hinsdale Central’s Carter Knotts tacked on an insurance goal. But Tekampe grabbed the ball, lost control and then recaptured it. Knotts was a ball of energy in the 70-minute thriller, pushing herself to score.
“After coming off a win a couple of days ago, we were really looking forward to this tournament as a way to get more exposure,” Knotts said. “I thought we did a really good job despite the challenges with the weather. We got into the right mindset and were prepared and kept the energy throughout the game.
“Their goalie made some fantastic saves. I was really impressed with her. I thought they did a good job holding down the backline and allowing their keeper to make saves at the right time. We appreciated playing them.”
The Corsairs had several chances to tie late in the second half. Star junior Anna Hartman had her slow rolling shot saved with 19 minutes left. Fix had two shots in a 15-second span stopped and just missed Hartman on a cross near the far post.
Konen plopped a shot over the cross bar with a minute left.
Hinsdale Central freshman goalie Katherine Skinner earned another clean-sheet with four saves.
Red Devils junior defender Katie Lynch said the entire team contributed to holding the ultra-talented combination of Chicagoland Soccer All-Staters Fix and Hartman and the Corsairs without a goal.
“We stayed organized and locked down in the back,” Lynch said. “It really helps that we have a really good organized midfield and nothing gets through. We did a really good job of keeping our heads on a swivel and making sure everyone was marked up. We’ve done a really good job of staying back and that everyone is on their toes and ready to defend.”
GK: Katherine Skinner
D: Julia Marinaccio
D: Kate Lynch
D: Peyton Rohn
D: Adrianna Giannini
MF: Madison Lipman
MF: Avery Edgewater
MF: Addisyn Krogstie
MF: Carter Knotts
F: Claire Snodgrass
F: Cate McDonnell
GK: Abby Tekampe
D: Peyton Carney
D: Norah Belmonte
D: Mila Schachelmayer
D: Jillian Miller
MF: Bella D’Amore
MF: Josie Hartman
MF: Madison Konen
MF: Maddie Nikolai
F: Anna Hartman
F: Emily Fix
Chicagoland Soccer MVPs of the Match: Avery Edgewater, so., MF, Hinsdale Central; Abby Tekampe, sr., FK, Carmel
Hinsdale Central: Edgewater (McDonnell), 29:30 left in half
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