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Game story: Lemont rings the bell in a win over Reavis

By Bobby Narang, 04/20/24, 7:30AM CDT


Hosts post complete performance in 4-0 South Suburban win

LEMONT – Senior Emma Amberg feels right at home on the thick playing grass and spaciousness of her home field at the Lemont Sports Complex.

She scored a team-best 15 goals in her freshman season, but the promising start to her prep career hit a detour with a season-ending knee injury in a regional championship game.  The injury caused her to miss the majority of her sophomore season.

Just when Amberg thought she was cleared to play, she suffered a hip fracture that sidelined her for some of her junior season.

So, when Amberg, now healthy and back scoring goals with regularity, made a long run in the 10th minute of Thursday’s game against Reavis, she wasn’t worried about taking a chance. The forward broke free near the benches of both teams, stopped, and then slotted home an incredible shot from 22 yards for a goal that energized her team,

With its confidence soaring after the 10th-minute goal, Lemont (9-3-0, 4-0-0) put in several reserves scored twice more in the first half en route to a 4-0 win over Reavis in a South Suburban Blue conference game.

The Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match powered the offense with a hat-trick.

Even Amberg, who has nine goals this season, was amazed at her icebreaker.

“I was taking it down the line,” Amberg said. “I made a hard run. Normally when I take it down from the right, I like to cut in left and shoot for the front post. That one I hit with my right foot, top-left corner. Those shots are hard to make.
That gave us the energy in the first half. We wanted to shut them out right then.:

Reavis (6-7-1, 4-2-0) struggled offensively and didn’t show much of an attack until there were less than 20 minutes to play.

Rams coach Konrad Dziedzic had a good angle on Amberg’s shot, standing about 15 yards behind her from the sidelines. He noted his team battled for the 80 minutes, after taking a lesson from a 7-0 loss to Hinsdale South on April 13.

“That was a good shot,” he said. “You put her in that situation again, and she probably won’t score in that situation. I thought it had no chance of going in. But give props to Lemont, they played a very good game. It was important for us to stay in the game and make it tough for them to score.

“That was a big plus for us moving forward. Being able to hand around with a team like Lemont hasn’t happened in the last few years. I don’t think we’ve beaten them in 15 or 20 years, but I could be wrong.”

Reavis freshman midfielder Isabella Lopez was surprised by the opening goal.

“I thought it was a really good shot,” Lopez said. “She had a great opportunity and took it.”

Lopez added that Reavis can learn from the defeat.

“I feel in order to be a better player and team that you have to play against the best,” Lopez said. “I feel like they are a really strong team, and I felt we can learn and grow from this.”

Lemont coach Rick Prangen said it was a quality conference home victory for his girls. Junior goalie Lauren Tracy notched the clean-sheet, finishing with one save. Her counterpart, Reavis sophomore goalie Delyanna Arocho, had a tougher work day. She stopped five tries in the first half and finished with nine saves.

“For us, we have a tradition in conference to be competitive and win it,” Prangen said. “We’ve watched Reavis play a few times. They have some skilled players. I love their keeper. She’s a nice player and will be a whale the next two years. That’s great for them to have her. We were pretty comfortable playing on the larger field, and spreading them out. I was happy with our pressing in the final third.”

Dziedzic saw positives from his players.

“Our keeper had a busy day. Overall as a team, we’re getting better defensively and making less and less mistakes and not allowing as many clear chances,” he said. “In our game against Hinsdale South, they beat us bad because we made more mistakes. We learned from that game. We played better against a better team. Hopefully, come playoff time we eliminate our mistakes and can compete and actually try and get a good result against a team like Lemont.”

Prangen said the first goal set the tone for the victory.

“Overall, the first goal was a cross. I think she was crossing, and it went in,” Prangen said. “Three good goals and one fortunate, but also limiting them. I don’t think they had a corner in the game. We really stopped them just over midfield and the top of the final third, so that was a good thing for us. I’m really happy with that.”

Lemont senior defender Casey Kittridge said everyone was on the same page against the Rams.

“I think we had a great game and kept positive energy and worked hard the whole game and gave our best effort,” she said. “We had a good warmup today, so I knew we would have a good game.”

Kittridge contributed another top play in the win. She knocked in a header off a free kick from Ella Simpson for a 2-0 lead in the 22nd minute.

“Ella puts in some great corner kicks,” she said. “I think it was my fourth header goal this season, so it’s really fun. No one was by me, and I’m super tall, so I just had to jump up and get there.”

Kittridge said Lemont is building toward the Class AA playoffs.

“We want to make it far in the playoffs,” she said. “We’re working hard and for each other. We can make it far in the playoffs. We have to keep working hard and push through it.”

Lemont freshman forward Gabriela Kurac had her game interrupted. She got hit in the nose by the ball and left the field in the 15th minute. She finished the match with several attempts.

“I think we did very well and connected really well, and Emma finished strong,” Kurac said. “I was hoping for a goal, but it didn’t happen. Maybe next game. It was a very good win, just good finishing and through-balls. I hope that I play through those channels and score more goals and connect through those front-runners.”

Lemont sophomore midfielder Chase Bergeson was one of the standouts in the shutout. Bergeson nearly added a goal but drilled her shot off the crossbar in the 78th minute.

“I missed earlier in the half and was hoping to get one,” Bergeson said. “I haven’t scored a goal yet this year, but I’m hoping to get one soon. I think we had a really good work-rate, did a good job connecting and staying solid all game and didn’t fall off in the second half. It always feels good to get a clean-sheet.”

Reavis senior forward Alaina Hernandez, a Benedictine recruit noted the Rams played with more urgency and effort in the second half.

“I saw us playing a lot better defensively, but we didn’t have many opportunities on our side at all,” Hernandez said. “We were competing with them. We definitely made them work for it. They got a few good goals, but they had to work for the other goals.

“This game will get us ready for sectionals. We can work on how we work better defensively against a good team. The Hinsdale South game wasn’t the best outcome, but this game showed that if we do work better defensively that we can stay in the game.”

Dziedzic praised several of players who have played key roles this season.

“Isabel Lopez is a recent addition to our team,” he said. “She has made a significant impact on our offensive style of play. Despite not playing soccer since her freshman year, she has seamlessly filled the role of a true number nine, which was missing from our team last year. Isabel has been instrumental in creating and converting the majority of our scoring chances this season, boasting 12 goals and two assists.

“Isabella Lopez, a freshman, has been a consistent starter this season. She is undeniably one of our most talented players, showcasing exceptional skill with the ball. Isabella’s impact on our team has been immense, particularly in controlling the ball, creating opportunities, and reclaiming possession in the midfield. Her addition has bolstered our midfield, significantly enhancing our team’s strength in the middle of the pitch.

“Alaina Hernandez is a four-year varsity player and our team captain. She exemplifies true leadership, both on and off the field. She is one of our most hard-working players, demonstrating relentless determination. Alaina’s exceptional work ethic has led to numerous goal-scoring opportunities for both herself and her teammates, resulting in four goals and nine assists so far this season.”

Starting lineups
GK: Delyanna Arocho
D: Marlene Gutierrez
D: Ashley Gomez
D: Miriam Gutierrez
MF: Olivia Smycz
MF: Erica Divizio
MF: Jasmine Juache
MF: Isabella Lopez
F: Alaina Hernandez
F: Isabel Lopez
F: Alyssa Juarez
GK: Lauren Tracy
D: Daria Koslosky
D: Alexandra Chrisman
D: Ava DeMaio
D: Casey Kittridge
MF: Chase Bergeson
MF: Ava Bergeson
MF: Ella Simpson
F: Emma Amberg
F: Gabriela Kurac
F: Sarah Shields

Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Emma Amberg, sr., F, Lemont

Scoring summary

First half
Lemont: Amberg (unassisted), 10’
Lemont: Kittridge (Simpson) 22’
Lemont: Amberg (Koslosky), 33’

Second half
Lemont: Amberg (unassisted), 59’