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St. Francis beats Monday blahs, Timothy

By Bill McLean, 05/02/23, 5:30PM CDT


Defense, Wozniak’s goal, assist pace Spartans 3-0 victory

WHEATON — Each coach in Monday afternoon’s Timothy-St. Francis match uttered “blah” and “flat” at least twice after St. Francis’ 3-0 win.

The day of the week had something to do with the reactions.

“No one wants to work on Mondays, right?” St. Francis coach Jim Winslow said.

The steady drizzle and chilly temps also conspired, at times, to reduce a game that was originally scheduled for April 13 to a desultory exercise.

“We came out flat,” Timothy coach Jon Hamelinck admitted after his side slipped to 9-4-2. “It’s a cold, rainy, Monday, whatever. We’re a good group, which usually plays better than this, but we got what we deserved today.”

“Kind of a blah game,” Winslow added after his club won for the fifth time in six games — outscoring foes by a collective 28-7 in the fruitful stretch — and improved to 7-4-0.

The Spartans netted the nonconference triumph behind junior forward Ella Wozniak’s goal and assist, sturdy efforts by backs Ada Suriano, Stephanie Sullivan and Alyssa Suriano, and a senior goalkeeper with a fitting surname for the contest … Blaha.

Hannah Blaha, ironically, enlivened the home fans at Kuhn Memorial Stadium with a spectacular save in the 63rd minute, leaping to bat away Maddie Drye’s out-of-a-cannon free kick with her left hand. Drye is a two-time Chicagoland Soccer all-stater. 

Blaha finished with four saves to counterpart Juliana Norman’s seven.

“Hannah was Hannah,” Winslow praised.

Wozniak earned the Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match honor by scoring her fourth goal of the spring in the 37th minute and delivering a dandy cross on junior midfielder Sophia Roszkowski’s 20-yard goal in the 55th minute.

Wozniak, who took the game’s first shot on goal in minute one, struck two shots on goal in a frenetic, 10-second span about 20 minutes before she solved Norman with a seven-yard, near-post goal following a 10-yard dribble-drive.

“I like her pace. I like her quickness,” Winslow said of Wozniak, who, like Blaha, Roszkowski, Spartans junior forward Paige Chrustowski and sophomore midfielder Clare Andrzejewski, made Chicagoland Soccer’s midseason Watch List that was released on April 21.

“Ella,” senior back Ada Suriano added, “is fast. I’m proud of my teammate.”

Ada Suriano, the sister of sophomore back Alyssa Suriano, netted her first goal of 2023 in the 29th minute Monday. The scoring sequence began with Ada Suriano’s free kick 35 yards from goal. The shot glanced off the hands of Norman and settled near Wozniak’s feet.

Wozniak’s ensuing cross entered traffic in front of Norman. Some 10 seconds later, Suriano pounced on a free ball and thundered a 10-yard, near-post fastball past Norman.

“I like Ada’s confidence,” Wozniak said. “She knows when to pass and when to shoot.”

Winslow noted afterward that Ada Suriano is one of the most complete players he’s ever coached at the Wheaton school, which is celebrating its 65th year.

“Ada is such a salt-of-the-earth person,” said Winslow, who is not in his 65th season at the helm. “So level-headed, and she never gets rattled. Kids look up to her. She gets along with everybody. And she’s an excellent student.”

St. Francis’ win Monday was its second against Timothy in three seasons and avenged a 2-0 loss to the Trojans last spring.

The Trojans arrived in Wheaton shorthanded — starters Amanda Schnurr (a sophomore midfielder) and Avery
Schwartz (a freshman defender) are injured — but deployed senior midfielder and tri-captain Hope Huizenga, who earned a spot on Chicagoland Soccer’s All-State Watch List in July.

“Maybe we were flat today because it’s Monday,” Huizenga said. “But that’s a good team. Props to St. Francis. We did show more energy and intensity in the second half.

“I know, we all know, that we won’t be able to win in the playoffs if we play like we did today.”

Hamelinck also was encouraged by his club’s sense of urgency in the second half. The Trojans took three of their six second half corner kicks in the 53rd minute, possessed better, and after falling behind 3-0 exhibited positive body language.

Still, his team’s overall showing against the young hosts baffled him somewhat.

“We played well in our last two games,” Hamelinck said. “We haven’t been healthy, but we played some of our best games when (reserves) stepped up for our injured players.”

St. Francis improved to 1-1-0 on Mondays this season. It fell 6-1 to host and Class 3A power Evanston in a Lou Malnati’s Deep Dish Classic game on April 10.

“Typically on Mondays, when we practice, we do fun things, game things,” Winslow said. “Mondays are hard days for everybody, not just for soccer players and coaches.”

St. Francis hosts Elmwood Park on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and visits Bishop McNamara on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in Metro Suburban League Blue Division games. Tuesday’s game doubles as the Spartans’ Senior Night.

Timothy entertains Westmont on Tuesday at 6:15 p.m.


Moments before a Timothy corner kick in the 46th minute of Monday’s game at St. Francis, Spartans junior midfielder Shannon Brown hit the turf to quickly tie one of goalkeeper Blaha’s cleat laces. Keepers are essentially handcuffed from completing such an act because of their Hamburger Helper gloves. Assists don’t always require a ball in soccer. … With raindrops falling minutes before Monday afternoon’s kickoff, the Milli Vanilli song “Blame it On the Rain” blared from Kuhn Memorial Stadium’s press box. … Timothy took eight corners, including six in the second half. St. Francis booted a pair of corners in each half. … Winslow, on this spring’s weather: “Goofy. Come to think of it, it’s been goofy the past few seasons.” … St. Francis hasn’t allowed a goal since April 12, when it lost 7-0 to Naperville Invitational semifinalist Naperville North in a Lou Malnati’s Deep Dish Classic game on its home blue turf. … Timothy junior back Chloe Leppink made the defensive play of the day for the Trojans in the 11th minute Monday. She slipped behind keeper Norman to clear a dangerous ball.

Starting lineups

GK Juliana Norman
D Marta Veenstra
D Emily White
D Chloe Leppink
D Victoria Nation
MF Lauren Wiegers
MF Hope Huizenga
MF Sami Drye
MF Miliana Martens
MF Angie Tornabene
F Maddie Drye

St. Francis
GK Hannah Blaha
D Stephanie Sullivan
D Ada Suriano
D Alyssa Suriano
MF Carley Sitar
MF Shannon Brown
MF Clare Andrzejewski
MF Sophia Roszkowski
F Ella Wozniak
F Paige Chrustowski
F Megan Maertens

Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Ella Wozniak, jr., F, St.

Scoring summary

First half
St. Francis — Ada Suriano (UA), 29’
St. Francis — Wozniak (UA), 37’

Second half
St. Francis — Roszkowski (Wozniak), 55’