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Game story: Loyola plays big, holds even vs. Glenbrook South

By Mike Garofola, 04/08/24, 10:45AM CDT


Ramblers keeper Zipprich comes up big in 0-0 result

GLENVIEW – Host Glenbrook South (6-1-1) was frustrated by an inspired Loyola club in their opener of the 6th annual Lou Malnati’s Deep Dish Classic. The match ended in a cagey 0-0 draw at the Titans’ John Davis Stadium.

This hard-fought 80-minute affair gave each side a point in the Group C standings. Lyons is the early leader after a 2-0 victory over Lake Forest.

"I cannot say how proud I am of the girls right now," said a thrilled Ramblers manager Shannon Hartinger whose young club gave their hosts all they could in order to stay level with a Titans side that was ranked fifth in the Chicagoland Soccer Top 25 and had outscored its opponents 20-6. Among Glenbrook South’s conquests is no. 19 Stevenson, which is in Group A of the tournament with Grayslake Central, Lane and event host New Trier.

"I think it's safe to say we came into this game as the underdog," said Ramblers keeper Chloe Zipprich, whose magnificent work between the sticks earned her a share of Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match along with Glenbrook South midfielder Olivia Ollmert. “We found a way to fight, defend, create some chances and work hard for 80 minutes to get ourselves a draw.”

"(Their) keeper was just amazing today,” said Titans first-year manager Cassidy Price. “She kept them in the game in the first half with some great saves. We did not come out to meet their energy and intensity, but finally got it back somewhat in the second half.”

Price, who starred at Glenbrook South for then-manager Seong Ha and later played at Simpson College in Iowa, assisted at Lake Forest College before returning to her alma mater as an assistant to Mark Daniels a year ago before taking over the program.

The Titans used spring break to their advantage.

"We took a collective reset at the break to sort some things out," continued Price. “We played today with much more intensity and like ourselves. In the end we learned the valuable lesson of coming out mentally prepared to play 80 minutes of soccer, and not just 40.”

Loyola (4-4-2) made a statement from the start.

"I was really proud of the way we played today," said Ramblers sophomore Lily Berhalter, who was a strong presence for the Ramblers. “So much energy and intensity from the opening whistle, which I feel we kept up for the entire game.

"Chloe was just great when we needed her to be. A game like this will go a long way toward the progress of this team, which has improved so much from our first game.”

"There was a lot of purpose to the schedule we put together this season," began Hartinger, whose club went 1-2-1 last year in the Malnati's, 11-7-1 overall and 5-0-0 to again take the top spot in the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference Red Division.

"We wanted to open up by challenging the girls with some very good opponents to help us prepare for the middle of the season, conference and the postseason."

Despite its first half struggles, Glenbrook South was at its most productive during the first quarter hour when Zipprich kept two sure-goals out of the back of her net.

The first came on a long-range wind-aided free kick from Lindsay Ciss, which had so much pace and accuracy that if Zipprich had not elevated to make a valiant effort to send the effort off the bar it would have been 1-0 Glenbrook South in the ninth minute.

"The Loyola keeper was great, but we really didn't create much of anything beside the other couple of chances we had," said Ciss, who excelled in the Titans three-back formation in front of keepers Lyndsey Mack and Mikayla Morse who shared the clean-sheet. “It seemed like we defended way too much in the first half and didn't really connect passes or do much in the run of play.”

Zipprich was at it again five minutes later after an Olmmert corner fell to Megan Murray whose one-timer forced Zipprich to extend as far as she could to her right in order to send the 14-yard cracker around the post.

The Titans created three-consecutive corners after the Murray attempt, each of which were defended nicely, and eventually cleared from the area.

"Zip (Zipprich) came through for us when we needed it most," said Hartinger. "I thought we defended well along the back. Our midfield and players up-top did well to disrupt things today."

It would be the work-rate, ability to play simple and completing passes that were most impressive about Loyola's play. Berhalter, Grace Lynch, Molly Briody and outside-back Ellie Vehovsky, who was able to join the attack or provide quality passes out of the back, stood out.

"Our backline really played well together as a unit," said Zipprich. "They were able to play the ball out of our end and connect passes."

The Ramblers keeper made one last sensational save just before the intermission when Ollmert floated a lovely ball toward the near post that Sophie Piekarski ran on to.

Piekarski stung the left glove of Zipprich, who read the impending trouble and moved quickly to keep things level.

Glenbrook South was left frustrated.

"It was not a very good first half for sure," said Ollmert, who will play in the fall at UIC. “Our effort wasn't anywhere near where it should have been.

"We have 5-6 players back from club this year. I feel that inspires our opponents; so there's a target on our back. We have to be better prepared right from the start to meet the challenge that will come each time out."

There was plenty more purpose from the Titans after the break with Ollmert, Chloe Beach, Murray and junior Lauren Koopersmith applying pressure on the visitors, who managed just a pair of attempts on frame at second half keeper Mikayla Moore.

Sandwiched in between half-chances by Murray, Beach and Ollmert, who beat a trio of challengers before playing through the box to an empty back post, Emily Plovanich and Berhalter each had a go.

Things became a little testy after the Ramblers bench felt Beach should have been booked for a late run into Zipprich, but referee Rick Geatti felt otherwise. He soon restored order to set up a frantic final 20 minutes when each side went in search for what both hoped would be the eventual game-winner.

"I thought we stayed composed and kept our heads in the second half,” Price said of Glenbrook South. “Especially during the chaotic last 10-15 minutes, which I told the girls I was very happy with."

Both sides spent time trying to pry open the other. The first chance came from the Ramblers' Plovanich, who teed up a helper from Mim Fritzsche that forced Morse to save from 16 yards.

Berhalter tricked her way free off a neat little zig-zag before playing to Lynch, who in turn gave Plovanich another opportunity that Ciss ended with a stern, sharp tackle in-close.

"Ciss is so reliable back there for us,” said Price. “We can trust her to keep things safe in front of our two keepers."

"I really liked our grit and fight in the second half," added Ciss, who will play next fall at Fairfield College in Connecticut. “We'll need to make sure we bring that type of effort from here on out.”

Murray, Ollmert and Beach created a trio of corners in the last 10 minutes. One came close to leading to a goal 79th minute, when an exquisite strike from Ollmert rattled the bar.

Loyola gained confidence from their effort.

"We've come back from spring break and have started strong," said Hartinger. “We are undefeated in conference, and this game should go a long way toward us to getting ready for the rest of this tournament and beyond.”

The tournament continues Monday with the Ramblers hosting Lake Forest (1-1-0) Glenbrook South visiting no. 3 Lyons for a top-ranked test.

"We learned a lot about ourselves, and what we need to do next time we play, and that's what this tournament is all about," began Price after her club took time to sing happy birthday to Chloe Beach, who celebrated her 16th birthday.

"A tip of the hat to Loyola, and especially their keeper who played so well for them. For us, our second half was much better, and we'll look to come out strong right from the start on Monday at Lyons."

Starting lineups

Loyola (4-3-3)
G- Chloe Zipprich
D- Ellie Vehovsky
D- Maria Nikas
D- Claire Brady
D- Mia Wisler
M- Mim Fritzsche
M- Grace Lynch
M- Molly Briody
F- Lilianna Cesla
F- Lily Berhalter
F- Emily Plovanich

Glenbrook South (3-5-2)
G- Lyndsey Mack
D- Adyson Clemen
D- Lindsey Ciss
D- Emily Schultz
M- Madison Wessel
M- Avery Splear
M- Olivia Ollmert
M- Katie Condon
M- Lauren Koopersmith
F- Chloe Beach
F- Megan Murray

Chicagoland Soccer MVPs of the Match: Olivia Ollmert, sr., MF, Glenbrook South; 
Chloe Zipprich, jr., GK, Loyola 

Referee: Rich Geatti 

Scoring summary

First half
No goals scored

Second half
No goals scored