GLENVIEW – Glenbrook North kept bragging rights over rival Glenbrook South after its 2-0 victory at John Davis Stadium on FC-1 Youth Soccer Club night on a chilly Tuesday night.
Rachel Leiter struck the opener at 15 minutes. In the 64th minute, freshman Caitlyn Panek ended the scoring. The visitors recorded their third-consecutive clean-sheet over Glenbrook South.
"I thought from start to finish we played very well and had most of the play tonight," said pleased manager Tony Valsamis, whose club is now 2-2-0 in the Central Suburban League North Division and 9-3-1 overall on the season. The Spartans extended their unbeaten streak to five games.
"Our communication, ball movement and possession were really good tonight," said Spartans senior Amelia Mundo, who shared the Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match honor with teammate Morgan Link, a freshman who played the center back like a seasoned veteran.
"Morgan is a beast back there," Mundo said with a smile.
"Defensively, Glenbrook North was very good," said Glenbrook South manager Mark Daniels. “Although we do not have great finishers up-top like Tony has, we do have talented players up-top. But North did a great job along the back to limit our chances tonight.”
Daniels club is in the midst of an intense schedule run that has the Titans play three games in the next four days and five for the week, Three are part of the Titans’ quad, which they began Monday with a 2-0 win over Young. The Titans (7-9-1, 1-2-0) conclude the event against St. Ignatius on Friday, and Deerfield on Saturday.
"We've had some injuries, and it's obviously our busiest week of the schedule, but I know we'll be ready for Maine South on Thursday, then our two tournament games -- because this team plays hard and for each other," Daniels said.
"We just have to put this one behind us and get ready for the rest of the week," said senior Jackie Stadler, who finished fourth in state diving and will compete in college at Providence University. "Tonight was a wake-up call for all of us to come out ready to go against Maine South."
Glenbrook North started off as the better side and could have had the lead inside nine minutes.
Leiter curled her free kick to the back post and forced Titans keeper Lyndsey Mack into action. Then Ella Panek broke free up the left side and played nicely to Addison Cha, whose effort was saved as well by Mack.
The visitors eventually saw their pressure pay off. The Spartans took the lead in the 13th minute when Keira Lydon's early ball to Ella Panek saw the junior unload a wicked blast. It came back off the post to Leiter, who met the spilled ball at the back post where her side-footed effort went easily into the back of the net.
"It was tough giving up that first goal so early, but I thought we fought hard as a team to stay in the game and keep things close," said Christina Papadatos, who played as an outside back in the Titans’ 4-4-3 formation.
Said Valsamis: "I liked the way we moved the ball around and attacked. We knew they more of a right-handed team. Our transition laterally was very good and really opened things up. That early first goal from Rachel was big for us."
Despite being on its back foot before the quarter hour, Glenbrook South tried to find opportunities on the counterattack via quality service from Claire Baim and Katie Condon, who targeted front-runners: Payton Davidson; Lauren Koopersmith; Kiki Patton (five goals); and Sofia Sommer.
Baim and Condon created back-to-back deep throws in the 20th minute, only to see the Glenbrook North backline tighten things up and clear the area of any trouble.
The Spartans held 75 percent of the possession during the first half with purpose through the middle of the park. Mundo at the 10 spurred the offense with help from Keira Lydon and Ella Panek, who leads the Spartans in goals with eight and is easily one of the most dynamic players in the area.
"Ella has been phenomenal in our attack this year," said Valsamis. “Two freshmen we brought up recently, Morgan Link who is one of the most versatile players I've ever coached, and Caitlyn Panek, a quick, and natural goal scorer, have been terrific additions to our roster.”
Glenbrook South fans came alive just after the intermission when Claire Baum lashed a close-range shot which appeared to the home-side crowd to glance off the hand of a Spartans' player.
However, veteran referee John Anderson was quick to dismiss the notion of the big crowd and play continued.
On the other side of the park and in the run of play, Ella Panek kept the Glenbrook North attack alive. It allowed the forward charge to continue from Mundo and Caitlyn Panek, whose cross to the back post was unmet by a white shirt.
Glenbrook South, still in search for the equalizer, appeared to create a quality chance when Payton Davidson latched onto a lovely and early diagonal ball from Sofia Sommer. But alert Spartans keeper Ella Flamm came far off her line without hesitation to collect the ball before Davidson got control.
Davidson, once again through the efforts of Baum and then Carolyn Cameranesi, earned the home side a deep throw at 52 minutes, but Adyson Clemen’s long toss was sent out of the area by the Spartans backline.
"We created a handful of half-chances on the night, but we just were not sharp or dangerous enough in the final third," said Daniels.
Kate Leverenz looked to double the Spartans advantage in the 57th minute, but an offsides flag took the senior’s goal out of the scorebook.
Katie Condon emerged out of the Spartans backline to create a corner at the hour mark that gave the home side hope. However, the corner sailed to the back post without a touch to end the last real quality opportunity for Glenbrook South.
"As I said, our inability to be dangerous in the final third has been a real bugaboo for us this year,” said Daniels. “ (We) do so many things really well as a team but that."
A looping effort into the box from Glenbrook North's Sarah Denk ended with Caitlyn Panek insuring victory with a goal in the 64th minute.
"Our all-around play was very good,” said Link. “We created chances, defended, moved the ball and connected passes to help us get a really good win."
Added Valsamis: "I thought we played an excellent first half. (Not) as good of a second half, but we created several good chances against a keeper who I thought was active and played really well for them."
Glenbrook North has some down time before it hosts Maine South next Tuesday.
Daniels praised Glenbrook South backliners Emily Ibarra, Papadatos and Stadler for their work on the night.
"We have some important games ahead of us. Even with this loss tonight, I feel like this team will be ready when we play our conference rivals like Maine South, and New Trier next week," said Papadatos.
Added Stadler: "We have some injuries to a couple of our midfielders (notably senior Megan Noe, who is out for the season with an ACL), but we have shown we can play well against teams like Naperville North and Evanston. We can come out and play well to finish up this busy week."
Glenbrook North (4-3-3)
G- Ella Flamm
D- Nayia Sella
D- Morgan Link
D- Annie Philbin
D- Sarah Denk
M- Keira Lydon
M- Amelia Mundo
M- Addison Blumenfeld
F- Caitlyn Panek
F- Rachel Leiter
F- Ella Panek
Glenbrook South (4-3-3)
G- Lyndsey Mack
D- Christina Papadatos
D- Jacke Stadler
D- Emily Ibarra
D- Adyson Clemen
M- Carolyn Cameranesi
M- Lauren Coopersmith
M- Katie Condon
F- Claire Baim
F- Payton Davidson
F- Sofia Sommer
Chicagoland Soccer MVPs of the Match: Morgan Link, fr., D, Glenbrook North;
Amelia Mundo, sr., MF, Glenbrook North
Officials: John Anderson (referee); Justin O'Brien (assistant); Rommel Benjamin (assistant)
Glenbrook North: Leiter (E. Panek, Lydon), 15'
C. Panek (Denk), 64'