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Game story: Mondejar delivers late stunner, Warren takes down Stevenson

By Mike Garofola, 04/21/24, 12:45AM CDT


Blue Devil's 2-1 win delivers 3 key North Suburban Conference points

GURNEE -- A superb late goal from Warren sophomore Kate Mondejar dealt visiting Stevenson a heart-breaking 2-1 defeat on a rainy, cold Thursday night at the Blue Devils’ O'Plaine Campus.

The result gave the Blue Devils (7-5-0, 1-1-0) a much needed three points after they suffered a 3-0 loss to Libertyville two nights early in its league opener, much to the chagrin of co-captain Reese Mertens and the goal-scoring hero Mondejar.

"Libertyville is always going to be one of our toughest games in conference; we know a lot of their players through club soccer," began Mertens, who along with teammate Sofia Ogren shared the Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match honor.

"We opened pretty well against them. But after their first goal our heads went down, and we just didn't play like we all know that would could.

"(That's) why it was so important to come out tonight and play hard for 80 minutes against another good team in our conference."

"There's always that external factor when we play Libertyville," began Mondejar, whose five goals are second on the team behind Addison Stanciak.

"Like Reese said, we know and play with a lot of players from Libertyville. We were ready for that game, (but) that first goal seemed to take a lot out of all of us.

"We came ready to play tonight, and it was a great win for us and one we really needed."

Blue Devils manager Ryan McCabe commented how important it was to keep the losses to the bare minimum in this talent-rich league that also includes Lake Zurich, Lake Forest and now a resurgent club from Mundelein.

"Nobody can afford to lose more than one in league play, that's what made this win tonight so important for us," said McCabe.

Stevenson (6-3-2, 0-1-1) was left to wonder what might, or in their minds, should have been.

"We had 18 shots and just one goal from all of those shots, multiple corners and free kicks," lamented Patriots manager Jay Bulev. “So first and foremost, better finishing of those chances created might have led to a different result.”

"We were disappointed we could not finish our game with Lake Zurich on Tuesday because of the bad weather," began the Patriots terrific centerback Anabelle Egeland. “One half of play was ruled official so it was a 0-0 draw with them.”

Then came a result that was worse against Warren.

"We fought hard to get back even with them early in the second half but our attack didn't really produce much of anything after that,” Egeland added. “So, this ended up being a disappointing loss."

The home side came out with plenty of pace, purpose and positive play during the first quarter hour - much of that through the play of Ogren from her spot at the six. The Blue Devils extremely active backline also made solid contributions.

"Sofia did a great job keeping things organized for us,” McCabe said. “Her terrific vision and work-rate really came into play.

"Our backline played really well tonight. Outside backs (Reese) Mertens and Jelly Amezquita were really involved in our attack, with Jelly coming up with a big assist on our first goal."

Amezquita provided a lovely early ball to the back post where the always present Addison Stanciak could be found cutting inside to redirect past Patriots keeper Reese Yoo, who had no chance on the close-range effort.

Stanciak, named all-state a year ago by Chicagoland Soccer and the IHSSCA, recorded her sixth goal of the season in the 11th minute.

Stevenson (6-3-2, 0-1-1), which is ranked 10th in the Chicagoland Soccer Top 25, responded shortly thereafter with a nicely struck snap-shot from Madison Olsen that went just wide, and some nice combination play from Olsen, through Neta Peregoudov and Arria Chavez that the Blue Devils backline effectively shut down.

"We've been solid along the back thus far,” said Mertens. “We play really well as a group, and our communication has been just great."

Mertens and Amezquita complement the veteran centerback partnership of Mia Gloria and Maya Martinek, who together, on this night were balanced, organized and rarely exposed despite the presence of the Patriots scoring star Ellie Egeland on the prowl.

Egeland was dangerous out wide and a constant threat with her lethal, and powerful left foot. She tested Blue Devils keeper Emma Megerle on several occasions on the night.

Her best opportunity in the first half came after a neat steal of a wayward pass when she tricked her way left-right and finally to her left before firing just wide from 30 yards. The home fans gave a sigh of relief after holding their collective breath.

Just afterward, an Emma Pop effort was saved by Megerle and caromed to Alexa Karagrannis whose looping attempt from 30 yards was collected easily by the Blue Devils junior keeper.

With the intermission nearing, Amira Chavez, on the turn, forced Megerle into action once more.

"I thought both sides played really well despite the rain and wet conditions," Mertens said. “We had a few chances and so did Stevenson.”

Stevenson went to work as the second half started. Ellie Egeland's 30-yard cracker was turned away by Megerle to give the Patriots a corner to begin the second period. The Maryland recruit’s follow-up corner serve found Madison Olsen inside the box. Her header met another save from Megerle.

Then Stevenson found what it was looking for.

Egeland hit a long-range thunderbolt over the outstretched gloves of Megerle for her 15th goal off the season to level the contest in the 44th minute.

The Egeland equalizer inspired the urgency and tempo of the match, which led to a handful of chances missed on both sides of the park.

Warren produced a well-executed counter which led to a corner; Stanciak went just wide from 22 yards after Gwen Zajac played a lovely ball across to her co-captain.

Ellie Egeland answered with 25-yard free kick curled around a three-person wall but wide of the back post in the 54th minute as the action continued to go box-to-box.

"When Ellie got us back even, I really expected to inspire us to get a second one, but we just could not connect passes or create enough quality chances," said Anabelle Egeland.

"The key moment to me was the 10 minutes after we scored," began Bulev. "We needed to get another goal. Although we created chances, none of them were dangerous enough to take the lead."

"The game kind of evened out after that equalizer, but I was happy with the way we responded after that goal," said McCabe. “I felt like the last 10 minutes or so we defended well and really pressured them leading up to the game-winner from Kate."

After winning consecutive free kicks, Stevenson’s Abby Samson drove both attempts straight into the gloves of Megerle from 35 yards.

Ellie Egeland's left-footed smash went off a Warren defender and on to the foot of Arria Chavez, whose return effort went wide of the back post in the 72nd minute.

Moments later, a brave save from Stevenson’s Yoo denied Stanciak her second goal of the night.

With both sides throwing everything forward, as their collective backlines stayed alert and ready for a potential counter, Morgan McKelvey forced Megerle into action. Warren answered with Mertens’ cracker that hit a Patriots player on the way in but still required a save.

Mondejar grabbed the winner out of the blue after Mertens unleashed a remarkable long-range cross-field serve from just in front of the Blue Devils bench. It found the head of her teammate in a sea of white and blue shirts.

"I always know that Reese is going to put a great ball into the box whenever she has the chance. All I could think of (was) to find a way to get in position to put a head on it," said Mondejar with a big smile.

Stevenson was left to deal with having the rug pulled out from under it.

"We played really well all throughout the Malnati's tournament, especially against New Trier who we ended up in a 1-1 draw with," began Anabelle Egeland. "I was hoping we could continue our great play after the tournament, but we'll get back to playing that well next week for sure."

"We focus on staying strong during the first five minutes after a goal is scored, " said Bulev. " I felt like we responded well after their first goal. We created chances on a variety of shots from different players, but unfortunately, we were unable to put any of those into the back of the net.

"Both Egeland sisters, and Sami An played well tonight."

The Patriots resume league play against Mundelein on April 23 and at Lake Forest on April 25. 

Warren will compete for a BodyArmor title against Boylan at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at the Lyons Soccer Complex in LaGrange. 

"It was a much-needed win against a very good Stevenson team,” McCabe said. “We did a lot of things well tonight on both sides of the ball, and I like the way we responded after our loss the other night against Libertyville."

Starting lineups

Stevenson (4-2-3-1)
GK- Reese Yoo
D- Kelsey Krull
D- Anabelle Egeland
D- Grace Harper
D- Alexa Karagrannis
M- Emma Mendoza
M- Madison Olsen
M- Neta Peregoudov
F- Ellie Egeland
F- Arria Chavez
F- Sami An

Warren (4-3-3)
GK- Emma Megerle
D- Jelly Amezquita
D- Mia Gloria
D- Maya Martinek
D- Reese Mertens
M- Elise Weidemann
M- Sofia Ogren
M- Kate Mondejar
F- Lenzi Yasmin
F- Addison Stanciak
F- Gwen Zajac

Chicagoland Soccer MVPs of the Match: Reese Mertens, sr., D, Warren; Sofia Ogren, jr., MF, Warren

Scoring summary

First half
Warren: Stanciak (J. Amezquita), 11'

Second half
Stevenson: E. Egeland (unassisted), 44'
Warren: Mondejar (Mertens), 79'