ST. CHARLES — On a night when the Chicago area experienced a rare weather event known as a “pneumonia front,” Wheaton Warrenville South got another hale-and-hearty effort from sophomore forward Ashlyn Adams.
Adams, a mid-season Chicagoland Soccer Watch List pick, scored twice in the first half to lead her Tigers to a 4-1 win over Elgin in the second Class 3A St. Charles North Regional semifinal on Tuesday night. The game began with temperatures in the low 80s but plummeted suddenly to temps in the 50s.
“They should be selling hot chocolate here,” a chilled fan said near the concession stand at halftime.
Wheaton Warrenville South coach Guy Callipari waited until after the match to ingest something sweet — a decadent, whipped-cream-covered piece of Bundt cake. It was his birthday, after all, one he happens to share with Tigers sophomore midfielder Lily Petrie, who provided the assist on Adams’ first tally. The pair were born a mere 46 years apart.
Callipari’s seventh-seeded squad had a strong wind at its back in the first half but needed 19 minutes to score against the 11th-seeded Maroons (9-8-2).
“Credit Elgin,” Callipari said after his club improved to 8-7-5 overall and 6-0-3 in its last nine games. “They played excellent, well-formulated soccer early. They have speed and size. They took opportunities when they existed.
“The game reached a point where I started thinking, ‘Hey, we’re in a game here.’”
Adams netted her second goal of the postseason opener in the 33rd minute, and Tigers sophomore back Brooke Ittersagen converted a penalty kick a minute later to make it 3-0 after Petrie had drawn a foul.
Wheaton Warrenville South led 3-1 at intermission.
Wheaton Warrenville South will face the host school for the St. Charles North Regional title on Friday at 6 p.m. The North Stars (14-3-1) — ranked no. 6 in the Chicagoland Soccer Top 25 and seeded second in the West Chicago Sectional — routed 14th-seeded Streamwood 8-0 in Tuesday’s first regional semifinal.
St. Charles North defeated Wheaton Warrenville South 3-1 in the DuKane Conference
opener for both teams on April 6.
“St. Charles North plays well, plays hard,” Adams said. “It’s a talented team.”
“We will have to be on our front feet against a team like that,” Callipari said. “We’ll hope to be in it long enough to figure out what we need to do (in order to advance). We have awesome, competitive kids who don’t take defeats easily, which is a good thing.”
Wheaton Warrenville South last lost on April 22, when it fell 2-1 to Bettendorf (Ia.) in
a Tournament of Champions match.
Wheaton Warrenville South went up 1-0 Tuesday night on a give-and-go sequence initiated by Adams near midfield. After dishing a pass to a wide-open, sideline-adjacent Petrie, Adams dashed toward the middle of the box, where she then redirected a perfect cross from Petrie past Elgin senior goalkeeper Anay Arreola (eight saves).
Fourteen minutes later, Adams — from about 10 yards — chipped a delivery from senior midfielder Kate Gronlund over Arreola to complete her brace.
For her game-opening and game-winning tallies, Adams collected the Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match honor.
“Ashlyn,” Petrie said, “is amazing. It’s not unusual for her to dribble through and around six, seven, eight players at a time. I also remember her breaking free from a clump of three players trying to defend her.”
Tigers senior forward Lauren Barnett, another midseason Chicagoland Soccer Watch List selectee, capped the night’s scoring with the only goal of the second half. In minute 49, she hit a running, right-footed volley off a fine service from senior back Ella McClatchy. The near-post shot traveled about 15 yards.
Elgin got on the board via a spectacular goal by junior midfielder Dahlia Perez in the 36th minute. The Maroon gathered a feed from senior midfielder Ella Steckbeck inches from the touchline in front of Wheaton Warrenville South’s bench and then blasted a high, 35-yard shot that eluded the mitts of Wheaton Warrenville South sophomore keeper Marilyn Dixon (one save).
“Beautiful release, beautiful goal,” Elgin coach Alicia Knoll said.
Knoll’s side played inspired, fearless soccer throughout the first 20 minutes. The Maroons’ midfielders and forwards generated sustained forays at one end and either slowed or impeded attacks at the other end.
Elgin looked nothing like a typical 11th seed.
“I was very impressed with our team’s composure,” Knoll noted. “Our girls didn’t feel pressure and were in control, for the most part, for a while at the beginning. They didn’t put their heads down when we fell behind, which would have been easy to do.
“They kept battling,” she added.
Elgin teardrops fell afterward. Maroons players and coaches hugged and had a tough time letting go.
“We had a lot of seniors (11) this season,” said Knoll, whose eyes welled up as she spoke.
Keepers Dixon and Audrey Utz (one save), a Wheaton Warrenville South freshman, shared time in goal for the victors. Utz entered the contest in the 61st minute.
“We’ve been working hard in practice, and we’re communicating well in games,” Petrie said of Wheaton Warrenville South’s nearly month-long stretch without loss.
“We’re growing together and working together,” Adams added. “And we’re leaving everything out there when we compete.”
Only two referees worked both 3A St. Charles North regional semifinals on Tuesday. Disconcertingly, nobody was able to determine the whereabouts of the third official. … The coolest first name among players from both teams in the second semifinal belongs to an Elgin senior midfielder. The first three letters of her given name are Super Bowl-ish. The Maroon’s full name is Xixtlally Chavez. … Wheaton Warrenville South’s goal differential during its current unbeaten streak of 6-0-3 is 22-3. … Adams, on Petrie: “She’s a great center-mid, but she can play anywhere.” … In addition to Adams and Barnett, Wheaton Warrenville South players Kate Hartnett (senior forward), Carolyn Harvey (senior midfielder) and Ava Walsh (junior midfielder) made the midseason Chicagoland Soccer Watch List, which was released on April 21. … Tireless Wheaton Warrenville South freshman forward Lucy Jethani neither scored nor had an assist Tuesday night, but she dribbled and passed adeptly in both halves. … Tuesday night’s sudden drop in temperature prompted a shrug from Callipari, who had packed an extra layer for the trip to St. Charles North. “I’m from Canada (London, Ontario),” the coach said.
GK Anay Arreola
D Lexie Schwaab
D Jaisly Reynoso
D Izzy Castro
MF Dahlia Perez
MF Ella Steckbeck
MF Sabrina Gomez
MF Emelia Rodriguez
MF Nayeli Villaruel
F Janey Bermeo
F Ruby Lopez
Wheaton Warrenville South
GK Marilyn Dixon
D Brooke Ittersagen
D Ella Byrnes
D Ella McClatchy
MF Kate Gronlund
MF Carolyn Harvey
MF Lily Petrie
F Lucy Jethani
F Kate Hartnett
F Ashlyn Adams
F Lauren Barnett
Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Ashlyn Adams, so., F, Wheaton Warrenville South
Wheaton Warrenville South — Adams (Petrie), 19’
Wheaton Warrenville South — Adams (Gronlund), 33’
Wheaton Warrenville South — Ittersagen (PK), 34’
Elgin — Perez (Steckbeck), 36’
Wheaton Warrenville South — Barnett (McClatchy), 49’