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Game story: Honk, honk: Edwards, Batavia make serious noise at Lake Park

By Bill McLean, 04/06/24, 12:15AM CDT


Senior’s hat-trick lifts visiting Bulldogs to 4-0 DuKane win

ROSELLE — While visiting Batavia was warming up for its frigid DuKane Conference opener against Lake Park on Thursday night, a pair of geese strutted behind and adjacent to a goal area.

Shots flying off the feet of the visiting Bulldogs didn’t bother the waterfowl in the least. It was as if they owned Bob Monken Field.

“That right there is a home-field advantage,” cracked Batavia coach Mark Gianfrancesco, feigning seriousness. “Maybe they’ll end up wearing Lake Park jerseys.”

The match started 11-on-11 and ended 11-on-11. But an airborne goose found another way to get involved, honking loudly moments after Batavia sophomore forward Emma Wecker opened the scoring with a 15-yard, far-post goal off a feed from junior midfielder Reese Recker in the 15th minute.

Was the reaction from above a boo or a rah?

A translator wasn’t available at press time.

Bulldogs senior forward and Wheaton College-bound Abi Edwards didn’t need to utter a syllable to deliver a series of emphatic messages. She scored twice in the first half and completed her hat-trick early in the second half, as Batavia —which hadn’t played in nine days — skipped to a 4-0 victory and improved to 3-3-1 and 1-0-0 in the DuKane Conference.

“Our speed of play,” Recker said of what impressed her the most about Batavia’s effort in its post-spring break opener. “We showed that some time off didn’t hurt us. We got right back into it, and when you do that, it’s fun.”

Batavia had the run of play in the first half. Lake Park senior goalkeeper Vanessa Boafo made five of her 17 saves in the first 14-plus minutes. Recker and Wecker — which would make a dandy business name — teamed up numerous times to navigate through a Lake Park defense that could never rest. Junior forward Natalie Warner’s speed and sound distributing abilities also created countless chances for the visitors.

But Edwards emerged as Batavia’s primary difference-maker.

She even made a pass in the 24th minute led to her first goal. Wecker settled Edwards’ dish before hammering a shot that banged off the near post.

There for the rebound was an alert Edwards, who poked an eight-yarder past Boafo’s left hand. 

Three minutes shy of intermission, Edwards fielded a lofty far-post service from Recker and made it 3-0 from about three yards. A pass from Warner preceded Edwards’ third tally, a 10-yard, lefty strike in the 48th minute.

“We made a lot of connections tonight,” said Edwards, the Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match by a landslide. “That was one of our best games of the season, as far as working as a team.”

Wecker left the field after a knee injury in the final minute of the first half and did not return to action.

“She’ll be fine,” Gianfrancesco said afterward.

Addison Solomon was super fine as the sub for Wecker in the second half. The junior forward posed a legit threat to pad the lead practically every time the ball was at her feet.

“Addison took some good shots on-frame,” Gianfrancesco said. “I liked the way we adjusted with Emma out. We got to see players play different positions. Overall, our speed of play was very good. We did a nice job, considering we hadn’t played in a while.”

Batavia’s scheduled game against Kaneland on Tuesday night was postponed due to inclement weather.

“We need to play games,” Gianfrancesco said. “We need to get back in a rhythm.”

Lake Park’s Lancers (2-6-0, 0-2-0) were coming off a 2-0 win over  visiting St. Edward on Tuesday. They had lost 7-0 to host Geneva in their league opener the night before. Geneva is ranked no. 24 in the Chicagoland Soccer Top 25.

Other ranked schools in the league include St. Charles North (no. 11), Wheaton Warrenville South (no. 15) and Wheaton North (no. 16). One-loss St. Charles East is among the honorable mention teams.

“We play in such a tough conference,” said Lancers coach Caroline Kilrea, whose side features a pair of Chicagoland Soccer All-State Watch List booters (senior midfielder Francesca Cali and junior midfielder Alexa Liapis). “You can’t get down, can’t show any negative body language. Our girls don’t, and they continue to work. Batavia is a confident team, a team that plays well together and has multiple fast wingers. Their subs are equally fast.

“Teams,” she added, “aspire to compete like Batavia does.”

Gianfrancesco shifted senior back Addison Lowe to forward in the second 40 minutes. Like Solomon, Lowe created ample space for herself to take shots on goal.

Lake Park freshman midfielder Mizzia Vavalle battled like a seasoned veteran at times by displaying her speed and passing skills on a handful of rushes. Amelia Szamatowicz, another freshman, stood out on defense in the first half, hustling to slow a counterattack and later blocking a laser off the foot of Wecker.

Winning keeper Reagan Sulaver, a junior committed to Western Michigan, didn’t make a save but slid feet-first to thwart a Lake Park rush late in the second half. Lancers sophomore forward Adrianna Skruch drew a penalty in the box in the 67th minute; the ensuing PK, struck by a teammate, missed wide.

“She keeps us on our toes in practice,” Recker said of Sulaver. “It helps so much, getting to go against a great keeper like Reagan in practice. In games she’s good at telling us what to do and where to be.”

Both clubs compete on Saturday. Batavia visits Neuqua Valley at 10 a.m.; Lake Park hosts Elgin at noon.

Batavia hits the road again for its next DuKane match April 11 against no. 11 St. Charles North at 6:30 p.m.


Just a guess here. Several parents of Batavia players must be avid Cubs fans. Why else would three of the Bulldogs have the first name Addison? The trio: Addison Lowe, Addison Schaffer and Addison Solomon. None of the Bulldogs, by the way, is named Clark. … Batavia took 10 corner kicks to Lake Park’s 0. … Thursday’s shutout was Batavia’s third of the season. … Lake Park junior back Gabriella Glodz, on keeper Boafo: “I like everything about her game. She talks a lot out there and gives us good advice. Always positive, too.” Lake Park’s Cali, on Boafo: “She’s a rock. Vanessa gives it her all every game.” … Glodz, on Batavia’s Bulldogs: “They play with a lot of urgency.”

Starting lineups

GK Reagan Sulaver
D Alexa Schorr
D Addison Lowe
D Emma Stoodley
D Elizabeth Rio
MF Sarah Koziol
MF Addison Schaffer
MF Reese Recker
F Natalie Warner
F Emma Wecker
F Abi Edwards

Lake Park
GK Vanessa Boafo
D Maya Zur
D Rylan Bauernfreund
D Amelia Szamatowicz
D Gabriella Glodz
D Ruth Dellaria
MF Francesca Cali
MF Giovana Mirandola
MF Mizzia Vavalle
F Adrianna Skruch
F Kira Holliday

Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Abi Edwards, sr., F, Batavia

Scoring summary

First half
Batavia — Wecker (Recker), 15’
Batavia — Edwards (Wecker), 24’
Batavia — Edwards (Recker), 37’

Second half
Batavia — Edwards (Warner), 48’