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Super soph Stanciak continues roll, leads Warren past Minooka

By Bobby Narang, 04/24/23, 10:45PM CDT


Forward's brace leads Blue Devils to 3-1 Body Armor win, title

By Bobby Narang

LA GRANGE – Addison Stanciak put herself center stage the last two weekends.

The Warren forward was a player with loads of potential entering this season. 

A year ago, stuck behind a talented group of college-bound seniors that included forward Ella Skelton (Loyola), midfielder Samantha Pullins (Purdue), midfielder Kylie Mahoney (Eastern Illinois), defender Liv Ehlers (DePauw) and goalie Trish Georgiou (UIC) and talented midfielder Katelyn Crowson (seven goals, two assists), Stanciak was looking forward to an expanded role on the Blue Devils.

Stanciak said she and the Blue Devils are starting to find their groove on the varsity level in late April.

That’s looking like bad news for the opponents on Warren’s schedule in the final month of the regular-season.

“It took a while for all of us to adapt because about half of our team is new to varsity,” Stanciak said. “We lost our four Division I and one Division III commits. It was really hard to adjust. We’re fighting through it and playing simple soccer and able to get the wins we need.

“I feel I’ve stepped up little bit with my communication from last year. Obviously, taking over for Ella Skelton was a big gap to fill. I feel like with communicating and talking to the other girls, our chemistry is really helping me step up to be a leader.”

Sunday, on a dark and gloomy afternoon that had a slight snowfall, Stanciak scored two goals to power Warren (5-4-2) to a 3-1 triumph over Minooka in a championship bracket of the Body Armor tournament at Lyons Soccer Complex.

The forward, the Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match, is starting to enjoy being a go-to player for the Blue Devils and raises team hopes for a second half resurgence that carries into the 3A playoffs. Stanciak had five goals and one assist in three games in the Body Armor event.

“I was really excited to play this game, because I had a couple of friends on the other team who play at my same club,” Stanciak said. “I came out strong for this game, knowing it was a championship and against girls I know. I knew I wanted to get ahead of the game and score a goal, so I could relax and play my game.”

Warren soccer coach Ryan McCabe said his team has played in several Body Armor, aka the Pepsi Showdown in past years, tournaments but rarely captured a bracket title. Stanciak had a brace and an assist in a 3-1 win over Kaneland and beat St. Ignatius 1-0 last week at Olympic Park in Schaumburg in Warren’s previous games of the tourney.

McCabe said he was happy to see his players fight back following tough North Suburban Conference losses to Libertyville (6-0) and Stevenson (2-0) last week. 

Scoring three goals against Minooka, including two in the first 12 minutes, was a good sign. Paige Hogberg tallied a goal sandwiched between Stanciak’s two netters. Goalie Emma Megerle gained a confidence-building performance with five saves. She closed out the first half with a leaping stop to keep Minooka off the board.

“It’s a good way to restart this week after we struggled in a couple of conference games last week,” McCabe said. “It was nice to see us rebound and get a nice win. We started the game really sharp, which is all I can ask. The past couple of games we didn’t start really strong, but we got a nice push. The girls did a nice job of that.

“We really wanted to focus on dictating the pace of the game, tried to be aware of completing our passes and doing all the little details. We weren’t focusing on this being a championship game and getting overwhelmed in the moment. 

“We have been coming here for a long time, but never won it except for the COVID year. This is a nice tournament, and had we three really competitive games. It was exciting to have three results in our favor, especially with this young group. Maya (Martinek) was pretty special. Addison had a great tournament. She’s been pretty strong this year.”

Stanciak shocked the still-arriving crowd with a goal, just five minutes into the match. She made a right-to-left move with the ball to get free and knocked the first shot attempt of the game into the back of the net.

“Alex Brock was on the left side of the field, and she stopped the ball and was able to swing it over to the other side and was able to get the ball to my feet,” Stanciak said of her first goal. “I knew I had one defender in front of me, and she was giving me my right foot, so I snuck it in by the near post. I was really excited to get that goal.”

Leading 2-1 in the second half, Stanciak took advantage of some miscommunication by Minooka following a non-call. She found an opening for her second goal with 20 minutes left in the game, off an assist from Arly Melchor.

“I wasn’t exactly sure what happened, because I turned it over and their goalie gave the ball back to us right outside the 18. I just kept yelling for Arly to get me the ball,” Stanciak said. “I was able to look up, check my shoulder and open my hips up and able to sneak the ball in past the goalie.”

Stanciak had a nagging problem that she seems to have put in the rear view mirror.

“Hydration has been big issue since I’ve struggled with a couple of calf cramps this season, even in the cold,” she said. “In the first four games of the season, I had calf cramps, and it was really bad. I think I’ve figured out all the ways to get past all the obstacles to play my best game.”

Hogberg gave the Blue Devils a nice 2-0 cushion when she found herself in the middle of a large pack of players in the box but still tapped in a shot off an assist from Reese Mertens. 

While Warren was scoring, its backline allowed just two goals in three tourney games.

“We had a rough week with two conference games not going our way, so we knew we had to come out and play strong and show what we got,” Hogberg said. “We played great, moved the ball well and everybody put in a solid effort. It was great to see us get back to our style of play.

“This is what we needed. We’ve been working hard, things were not going our way. We’ve dealt with a lot of obstacles with most of the team being new and right at the beginning of the season losing a bunch of girls to injuries. It’s been a battle but we’ve been overcoming our problems and going game by game. It was great to come out here and get a win.”

Warren sophomore defender Martinek said the Blue Devils have to keep the momentum in full swing heading into difficult league games this week.

“We just came back from some hard losses, so getting this win is really nice since we’re going to play Lake Zurich and Mundelein,” Martinek said. “We’ve had a lot of injuries and people coming back from injuries and bench players stepping up. We worked hard and grinded today. We’re really young and starting to find our chemistry and getting better.”

Minooka (8-2-3) scored its lone goal with 23 minutes remaining in the 70-minute contest, when senior forward Kaitlyn Lavezzi powered a shot into the back of the net following several missed opportunities. Her strength, toughness and 1-v-1 moves were on full display throughout the game on the slow and plush grass field. She missed two up-close shots before scoring into the far corner to cut the deficit to 2-1.  She nearly scored a second goal a few minutes later, missing wide right with eight minutes left.

Minooka coach Chris Brolley credited Warren for seizing control of the game in the opening half.

“With the way we were pressing in the second half, I thought more (shots) were going to fall in,” Brolley said. “We battled. Give our girls credit for having fight. We knew if we kept doing things right that we could have a lot of chances in the attack. Warren played well, put two shots in the back of the net early. 

“It’s unfortunate. I wish we had the extra 10 minutes. We played a team that challenged us in a lot of ways. We look at the big picture. This loss can take off our season in a different speed. Cayla Koranda, Ella Rucka and Callie Hefner played outstanding today. The best they’ve played all year. This is a good tournament, and I love being in it.”

Starting lineups

GK: Emma Megerle
D: Ava Denapoli
D: Paige Hogberg
D: Anjelica Amezquita
D: Maya Martinek
MF: Arly Melchor                                                                                
MF: Kate Mondejar
MF: Sophia Ogren
MF: Reese Mertens
F: Alex Brock
F: Addison Stanciak
GK: Gwyn Pfeiffer
D: Sophia Rausa
D: Teagan Sanderson
D: Jasmin Vallas
D: McKinzie Anderson
MF: Ella Rucka
MF: Ashley Sullivan
MF: Callie Hefner
MF: Cayla Koranda
MF: Eva Beck
F: Kaitlyn Lavezzi

Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Addison Stanciak, so., F, Warren

Scoring summary

First half
Warren: Stanciak (Brock), 5’
Warren: Hogberg (Mertens), 12’

Second half
Minooka: Lavezzi (unassisted), 48’
Warren: Stanciak (Melchor), 50’