By Jared Birchfield
BURLINGTON – Both Rosary and Burlington Central made starting lineup adjustments – one out of necessity and the other strategic – for a Saturday morning match on Rocket Hill.
The Rockets had to account for a major loss -- Eva Boer was injured and lost for the remainder of the season Thursday.
The Rockets struggled trying to find their equilibrium without one of their top scorers but came together to beat the Royals 3-0 in a nonconference match.
Rosary made its move to keep itself in the game. The Royals chose to move Macy DeMoss, the team’s top scorer, to its backline in an effort to thwart Burlington Central’s attack.
In addition to personnel modifications, the teams had to endure a steady drizzle throughout the contest.
Burlington Central (9-4-1) led 1-0 at halftime, scoring a goal directly off a corner kick but was unable to finish numerous attacks.
“Eva, one of one of our senior starters suffered a pretty big injury on Thursday and part of this game was we had to show ourselves we’re going to be able to get over this and get through it,” Burlington Central coach Jessica Arneson said. “The offense was suffering a little bit (in the first half), because we didn’t have Eva there.”
Boer had scored 12 goals this season.
The Rockets regrouped during halftime. In the last 40 minutes, Burlington Central took 11 shots-on-goal and finished two. Rosary goalkeeper Ellie Baum made eight of her 12 saves in the second half.
“We talked a little bit about that at halftime,” said Arneson. “We’re doing everything right, up until the final third. We just need just to find a way to get the ball in the back of the net.
“We needed to find a way to score and get this game over with. We are doing everything right, we just needed to have something to show for all our work.”
DeMoss, who has scored 85 goals for Rosary, moved to the backline in an effort to slow down Burlington Central’s attack. The Rockets average 3.6 goals per match despite bing shut out three times. Two of those matches were against Class 3A powers and the third was called at halftime vs. Class A runnerup Richmond-Burton.
Rosary knew of Burlington Central's offensive prowess.
“We’re trying to change up our formation. Macy is usually an attacking forward,” Rosary coach Amy McMahon said. “She’s also probably has the highest soccer IQ on the team. So, we put her in the back, because we knew this was going to be an attacking game with a highly skilled team.”
Moving DeMoss to the backline paid off immediately for the Aurora girls school. A minute into the match, Rocket Sydney Batts took a close-in shot-on-goal that DeMoss blocked. The senior always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, either stopping a shot or intercepting a cross.
“I was just trying to read the ball and get in front of it,” said the senior DeMoss.
Eva Samuelian put Burlington Central on the board in the fourth minute all on her own. The junior hooked her right corner kick into the net. Baum, standing next to the right post, got a hand on the ball but could not stop it.
DeMoss took the only free kick of the first half. Her shot, from just outside of the Rosary side of the center circle with 2:23 left until intermission, was quickly repelled by the Rockets’ defense.
Burlington Central found some breathing room when Batts found a way to get the ball in the back of net ninety seconds into the second half. She finished a cross from Kendalyn Grigg for a 2-0 lead.
“I was about at the top of the box, and I got the ball,” Batts said about her third goal of the season. “I just turned, and I saw a shot so I took it”
The freshman said the rain made the match even more challenging.
“The weather was really bad. (The rain) made it hard to maneuver, and the ball came faster than you expected,” said Batts. “You had really had figure out how to adjust and handle it.”
Burlington Central had to overcome another injury challenge early in the second half. After making a save on Mia Zink’s 30-yard free kick at the 34:27 mark, starting keeper Mackenzie Lorkowski exited with a leg injury. Defender Ali Kowal took over between the pipes and preserved Burlington Central’s fourth shutout.
“She planted her leg funny at the beginning of the game, and the weather kind of aggravated it little bit,” Arneson said.
Kowal stepped from the backline to the last line of defense.
“I’ve played (keeper) before in other games, so I just had to be ready and look at the whole field and try to talk to everyone,” Kowal said. “I just wanted to make sure they wouldn’t score so we kept our shutout.”
The freshman, who started the season on the junior varsity squad, felt ballhandling and communication were the keys to the match.
“Our connecting passes and our long balls were good,” she said. “And we talked a lot on the field which is really good.”
Kowal was named co-Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match for her dual role.
“Ali stepping into goal like that was huge” Arneson said.
Haley Lindquist connected on a close-in shot for the Rockets final goal in the 60th minute on a feed from Lauren Meyer. The score was the Austin Peay commit’s 13th goal of the campaign.
Rosary (4-6-1) was unable to get its offense on track. McMahon attributed it to adjusting to the team’s new shape.
“This is the first time playing this 4-5-1 formation so we’re getting used to it,” the Rosary coach said. “We just have gaps in skill levels on the team. We only have one team so some of these girls have never played before. By putting Macy in the back, we lost something up-front.”
Added Macy: “We had a change in formation, and everyone’s just trying to adjust to new positions. We just did our best to see if it would work out. It’s the last few games of my senior year, so I think we’re all just trying to put it all out there to end this season well.”
Macy shared the MVP of the Match honor for her strong and selfless play.
Burlington Central travels to Crystal Lake Central Tuesday for a Fox Valley Conference match on Tuesday that could determine the league winner.
The hosts sit at the top of the conference with a 6-0-0 record; Burlington Central is in in hot pursuit with a 5-0-1 mark. A win would give the Rockets their best shot at the title.
“I think our team is on a really good trajectory. I think our defense is really strong. I rarely worry about them,” Arneson sadi. “I feel in the midfield sometimes we have to sort out game to game, but I think we’re hitting a point where we’re figuring it out, settling in and finding our stride.
“I’m hoping (Lorkowski) will be back on Tuesday. We’ll see how bad the injury is. I’m hoping it was just the weather today.”
GK: Ellie Baum
D: Alex Kackert
D: Grace Stumm
D: Macy DeMoss
D: Tillie Karner
M; Sydney Slavin
M: Megan Molehouse
M: Emma Hess
M: Bethany Beltz
M: Abby Cibulskis
F: Mia Zink
GK: Mackenzie Lorkowski
D: Rylee Butler
D; Emersyn Fry
D: Mia Kerr
D: Ali Kowal
M: Eva Samuelian
M: Lauren Meyer
M: Kendalyn Grigg
F: Haley Lindquist
F: Sydney Batts
F: Ava Elders
Chicagoland Soccer MVPs of the Match: Ali Kowal, fr.,D/GK, Burlington Central; Macy DeMoss, sr., D, Rosary
BC: Eva Samuelian (corner kick), 4th minute
BC: Sydney Batts (Kendalyn Grigg), 41st minute
BC: Haley Lindquist (Lauren Meyer), 60th minute