LAKE FOREST — Shortly after declaring that the final tally of his team’s 7-0 defeat of host Lake Forest Academy on Thursday afternoon was the best goal of the season, Lake Forest veteran coach Ty Stuckslager uttered a brief elaboration.
“So far,” he added.
He’d certainly like to laud a better goal in the postseason, which his team starts Tuesday. Lake Forest’s stellar goal Thursday afternoon began with sophomore back Olivia Auriol’s textbook cross to junior midfielder Ainsley Mitchell in the 62nd minute.
Mitchell then headed it from five yards past Lake Forest Academy’s second half goalkeeper, freshman Madeleine Stastny (six saves), for her first goal of 2023.
“I liked everything about the goal,” Stuckslager said after the Scouts’ regular-season finale. “The service, the technique, everything. The header was a ‘How To Execute’ header.”
“I knew when I crossed it that it would go toward a lot of good players,” said Auriol, who scored the sixth goal of the game off a delivery from Mitchell in the 55th minute. “Ainsley’s header was perfect.”
Every Lake Forest starter, save junior keeper Sarah Constantine, served mostly as a reserve during the regular-season finale. Several Lake Forest JV players also saw significant minutes in the nonconference match.
“We looked to have fun and play with a lot of energy today,” said junior forward Adah Bodine, who opened the scoring in the fourth minute and notched her second brace of the season with another goal six minutes later.
Bodine’s first two-goal game of the season came against host Antioch in the Scouts’ regular-season opener, a 4-0 victory on March 15. Against Lake Forest Academy, she booted a 15-yard, far-post goal off an assist from junior forward Kate Bienkowski and then beat starting keeper Chichi Otti (six saves) in the 10th minute with a left-footed, 10-yarder after gathering the pass from sophomore back Brooke Kaiser.
That upped the visitors’ lead to 3-0.
Lake Forest (7-7-3) had taken a 2-0 lead less than a minute earlier, thanks to an eight-yard Bienkowski goal off Kaiser’s first assist.
Bodine earned the Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match honor for igniting Lake Forest’s resolve with her early strikes and accounting for 40 percent of the Scouts’ 5-0 advantage at intermission.
Lake Forest’s other goals in the first 40 minutes came from junior midfielder Elizabeth Flynn (27th minute) and sophomore midfielder Lilianna Hernandez (36th minute). Flynn blasted a 25-yard goal off a ball from junior midfielder Bella Griffith, and Hernandez’s 30-yard shot smacked the crossbar, headed due south and bounced twice before entering the goal.
Sophomore midfielder/forward Carys Kelly got credited with the assist on the Hernandez tally.
“I was happy with our play in general,” Stuckslager said. “Some girls played different positions. Some JV girls got to play with varsity girls. I liked our overall execution, and it was 75 degrees and sunny.”
A warm moment unfolded after Lake Forest won the coin toss on Lake Forest Academy’s Senior Day. Injured Lake Forest Academy senior midfielder Annika Subrahmanian, out for the season after recently suffering a serious knee injury, received the kickoff from a Scout and then promptly kicked the ball out of bounds using her healthy leg.
She then returned to the sideline as spectators applauded.
The referees had been alerted of the prearranged way to honor the Caxy.
“Playing Lake Forest High School is always a challenge,” said second-year Lake Forest Academy coach Ackim Mpofu, who played men’s soccer for his native Zimbabwe in the 2010 Junior Olympics. “Our young team stayed positive and showed good character today.”
He pointed to a tough 2-1, Independent School League loss to visiting North Shore Country Day on April 14 as a highlight of the season.
“Everything we did that day looked sharp,” Mpofu recalled. “Unfortunately we lost, but we could see what we were working toward. We could see our potential. We then played well again right after that while defeating Morgan Park Academy.”
Caxys senior co-captain and defender/striker Diana Bishopp, a native of Columbus, Ohio, and a future Sacred Heart University
(Conn.) Division I hockey player, called the loss to NSCD a “winnable game.”
Bishopp’s D-I athleticism, particularly her speed and skill set, was evident on the soccer pitch in both halves Thursday.
Two of her hockey mates, sophomore twins and defenders Adriana and Andrea Fernandez, also battled against Lake Forest’s Scouts.
“We had to have a good mindset against a strong team like Lake Forest High School,” Andrea Fernandez said. “And we did. We kept our heads up at all times.”
Lake Forest’s Auriol found twine via her 20-yard, far-post goal to open the scoring in the second half.
Seven minutes later, she and Mitchell combined for that picturesque goal to cap the scoring.
Constantine (two saves) recorded her second shutout in four days. She had protected the nets in Lake Forest’s 1-0 defeat of host Mundelein on Monday.
“We did not take this game lightly,” Mitchell said on Thursday. “Our mindset right from the start was, ‘This game could go
Bodine came up with a postseason mantra for the Scouts who aren’t seniors. It’s one she hopes she’ll be able to make use of for no fewer than seven games — the length of a state champion’s postseason run.
“When we’re out there in the playoffs, we’ll be thinking, ‘Let’s play well for the seniors,’ ” she said.
Lake Forest, seeded fourth in the AA Deerfield Sectional and an Honorable Mention team in the Chicagoland Soccer Top 25, hosts 13th-seeded Northside in a regional semifinal on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Lake Forest Academy, an IHSA "associate member" school, is not eligible for the state tournament. The Caxys finished their season with a 4-7-0 record.
Lake Forest ended the regular season with a goal differential of plus-seven. The Scouts had entered Thursday’s action against
host Lake Forest Academy having scored 18 goals and allowing 18. … Lake Forest Academy coach Mpofu was only 15 years old when he made his professional soccer debut as a box-to-box midfielder for Highland FC. He met and once shared a stage during an event with Zimbabwean Kirsty Coventry, who won a gold medal and three silvers in swimming at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. “What an honor that was,” Mpofu said.
GK Sarah Constantine
D Hannah Balmelli
D Brooke Kaiser
D Andrea Constantine
D Olivia Auriol
MF Ryan Rice
MF Amelia Fontana
MF Ainsley Mitchell
F Adah Bodine
F Lily Remus
F Kate Bienkowski
Lake Forest Academy
GK Chichi Otti
D Andrea Fernandez
D Adriana Fernandez
D Carla Accogli
D Anusha Srivastava
MF Annika Subrahmanian
MF Lindsay Farbman
MF Serena Gilani
MF Selena Goekce
F Esti Rosenblatt
F Diana Bishopp
Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Adah Bodine, jr., F, Lake Forest
Lake Forest — Bodine (Bienkowski), 4’
Lake Forest — Bienkowski (Kaiser), 10’
Lake Forest — Bodine (Kaiser), 10’
Lake Forest — Elizabeth Flynn (Bella Griffith), 27’
Lake Forest — Lilianna Hernandez (Carys Kelly), 36’
Lake Forest — Auriol (Mitchell), 55’
Lake Forest — Mitchell (Auriol), 62’
Tag(s): Lake Forest