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Motivated Lemont strikes early to down Reavis

By Bobby Narang, 04/21/23, 4:15PM CDT


Knutte goes (k)nuts with 4 goals in 7-1 win

By Bobby Narang

BURBANK – Everything Lemont did regarding Thursday’s road game at Reavis revolved around speed, foresight and precision.

Lemont’s bus arrived 30 minutes early in the hopes of avoidance of an impending storm.

Lemont kept the trend all the way to the end. The team raced away from the field so fast to avoid the lightning it went to the wrong bus. That was about the only mistake Lemont made in the weather-shortened game against Reavis.

Lemont set the tone for the South Suburban Conference cross-over road victory with a quick start, scoring five goals in rapid-fire fashion in the first half for a 7-1 victory over the Rams. The game started early and ended early. A lightning delay with 23:04 left led both teams to call it a game.

Lemont coach Rick Prangen said the weather might have pushed his players to play at a faster pace and with more urgency.

“I think that the weather actually helped to contribute to the fast start,” he said. “I talked to the girls prior to the start of the game. The coach from Reavis and I agreed that if there was a team winning at half, and we could not continue because of the weather that we would not play the second half.

“Basically, what is done in the playoffs. I think they understood that they needed to play with a sense of urgency. Also, I believe playing into the wind made them realize they would have to work hard the entire half. 

“The start was great, to score four goals in the first 10 minutes is really a credit to the team’s focus. The midfielders – Paige Bingen, Ella Simpson and Chase Bergeson – did a great job of winning the midfield and playing very dangerous balls forward.”

In all, Lemont (7-4-1, 5-0-0) built its winning streak to four-straight matches, all against Red Division foes, by following the same formula of their previous games. They played aggressive, picked up solid play from their backline and goalie and never let down their energy level. 

In the run, Lemont has a whopping 27-1 goal-differential.

Senior forward Suzie Knutte wasn’t affected by the 25 mile-per-hour wind. She repeatedly attacked Reavis’ backline with an array of 1-v-1 moves to put herself in positive positions. She finished with four goals, all of them among her team’s final five scores.

 Knutte, who was selected as the 2022 queen of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Lemont, almost added to her parade of goals, but missed several in-close attempts in the second half.

Annabella DeMaio scored the first two goals, Knutte added the next four and Ella Simpson capped it off with a penalty kick.

“Suzie had a very good game,” Prangen said. “She finished her first chance and had an excellent work-rate off the ball. She is two-footed and scored two great goals, one with each foot. 

Annabella had one of her best games. Like Suzie, she finished her first chance on goal and really helped to set tempo for our team. I also thought Casey Kittridge was very solid in the back. She is our organizer and leader in the back and plays some great balls forward.”

Kittridge said the team is rounding into form at the right time of the season, noting the backline is clicking with goalie Lauren Tracy.

“We started today’s game with a mentality where we had to come out strong and get one in the back of the net shortly after the start of the game,” Kittridge said. “It was definitely more difficult to play in the conditions, but even with the wind, we came out strong and fought through it. I’m proud of my team for that.”

Bingen, who added two assists in the victory, said her team is gaining confidence with each win.

“We’ve been connecting the ball more with one another,” Bingen said. “We’re getting a lot more comfortable playing with each other and understanding where each other’s strengths are. The midfielders are doing a better job of finding our forwards which has been contributing to scoring more goals. … Getting the first three goals early set a positive tone for the rest of the game.”

Lemont has dominated the series in recent years, posting a winning goal-differential o 43-4 in the last six games.

Reavis (4-7-1, 3-2-1) had its three-game winning streak snapped. 

The Rams scored scored their lone goal off a corner kick. Alaina Hernandez, off an assist from Olivia Smycz, powered the ball into the back of the net at the halfway point of the first half.

Reavis coach Konrad Dziedzic said his team is building toward a solid finish, noting the consistent play of a few of his starters.

“Emily Chavez is one of our most hard-working players on the field,” he said. “She is tough, aggressive, determined and a well-disciplined outside back. She may not be the biggest person on the field, but she definitely has the greatest character on the field and had one of the biggest impacts for our team in regards to what she does for us defensively.

“Jade Guzman is one of our three captains. She is a true vocal leader of the team. Besides being a phenomenal defender, she is the one who picks the team up when we are struggling. Jade is very confident on the ball as a center back, and is our focal point when it comes to defensive shape and discipline. 

Olivia Smycz is our team’s top scorer with six goals, most of them coming from set pieces. Olivia is our set-piece specialist and has had a significant impact on our team’s success offensively.

“Alaina Hernandez is one of our hardest working players. Alaina is all over the pitch. She helps us significantly on both sides of the ball, creating goal-scoring opportunities for herself and her teammates, while also coming back and helping her teammates defensively. Alaina has become more involved in the team due to her adaptability to play numerous positions on the field. That makes her a key player on our squad and to our success this season.”

Starting lineups
GK: Lauren Tracy
D: Daria Koslosky
D: Chase Bergeson
D: Nicole Bobcik
D: Casey Kittridge
MF: Ava DeMaio
MF: Emma Amberg
MF: Paige Bingen
MF: Ella Simpson
F: Annabella DeMaio
F: Suzie Knutte
GK: Jayda Hobson
D: Yulissa Orozco
D: Emily Chavez
D: Jade Guzman
D: Alexandra Mendez
MF: Ruby Ramirez
MF: Jasmine Juache
MF: Alaina Hernandez
MF: Yamileth Torres
F: Olivia Smycz
F: Alyssa Juarez
Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Suzie Knutte, sr., F, Lemont

Scoring summary

First half
Lemont: A. DeMaio (Simpson), 1’
Lemont: A. DeMaio (Bingen), 6’
Lemont: Knutte (Bingen), 9’
Lemont: Knutte (Simpson), 9’
Reavis: Hernandez (Smycz), 21’
Lemont: Knutte (unassisted), 36’
Second half
Lemont: Knutte (Amberg), 51’
Lemont: Simpson (penalty kick), 55’