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Game story: Lane’s fast start overwhelms DePaul

By Patrick Z. McGavin , 04/21/24, 10:15PM CDT


Sevova keys win with early opener in 4-0 neighborhood nonconference victory

CHICAGO — The distance separating the campus architecture of Lane and DePaul is measured in hundreds of yards.

The schools both play their home baseball games at Kerry Wood Stadium, which blurs their geographical lines.

Lane is the city’s highest enrollment school at 4,171 and the fourth largest in the state.

DePaul is a private school with an enrollment of 833 and its origins in the storied past of Gordon Tech.

Meeting seven-time defending Chicago Public League Tournament champion Lane marked a step up for the Rams, who are newly elevated to Class AA and are a member of the top table of the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference, the Red Division.

“We’ve never played them before. We didn’t really know what to expect going into this game, but we showed up and showed out,” Lane midfielder Kristi Sevova said.

Her fifth-minute goal sparked Lane’s three-goal opening explosion that left the Rams reeling and the Champions with a 4-0 victory at DePaul Stadium.

Lane (10-2-0), which is ranked 11th in the Chicagoland Soccer Top 25, scored three goals in the first 11 minutes. Two were accomplished via penalty kicks that developed out of the Champions constant pressure at the start of the match.

Ranked third in the Chicagoland Soccer Class AA Super 7 poll, the Rams (7-2-2) struggled to match the speed, physicality and intricate overlapping runs of Lane.

“I think it was really unlucky at the start,” DePaul midfielder Ava Bucholz said. “Off the one goal they had in the run of play, it came off a deflection.

“They had a couple of penalty kicks, and we had some that didn’t get called. I felt, although they might have looked better as a team, we worked harder, and we just kept running.”

A three-year starter, Sevova is a driving engine of the Lane attack. She is physical, tough, courageous and has 
great instincts with the ball.

Lane worked really well attacking the Rams from the start. The ball was almost exclusively in DePaul’s defensive third.

“We have really been practicing hard this past week and a half, really trying to expand our offensive game,” Sevova said.

“We’re really cutting and realizing when to check it, and when to make a run on the outside. I think it really showed today when we broke down their defense. I think our hard work is paying off.”

Off a corner kick from the right edge, Sevova controlled the ball after a scramble and hammered it in from about 22 yards. The ball hit the net after it clipped a Rams’ defender in the 5th minute.

“They were trying to clear it out, and it just deflected over to me,” Sevova said of her third goal of the season. “I got a good shot off, and it hit the girl’s back.

“Maybe it was lucky, but it was a good goal.”

Sevova earned the Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match distinction for her outstanding play.

Lane was not satisfied there. The Champions continued to flood the Rams’ box with numbers, setting up the two backbreaking penalty kick attempts.

In the seventh minute, forward Jackson Caffey was free on the left edge, and played a ball into the box to forward Grace Carman.

A DePaul defender was ruled to have made an illegal touch.

Carman scored from the spot for her 10th goal of the season in the seventh minute.

In the 11th minute, Caffey was at the top of the box, and made a quick juke step toward the goal. 

She was knocked down from behind and awarded a penalty kick.

A Chicagoland Soccer All-State Watch List player as a freshman last year, Caffey has been a revelation for the Champions.

She followed the foul with a completed penalty kick into the right side of the goal for the 3-0 lead in the 11th minute.

With the tally, Caffey matched Carman’s team lead with 10 goals.

“I think just getting numbers in the box is something we always want to create, with our movement and shot-making,” Carman said.

“Just putting pressure on teams is something that we’ve really been working on. You could say we were lucky, but I don’t think so. I think if you put the ball into the box, anything can happen.”

After its first defeat April 16 in a very competitive 2-1 league defeat against Loyola, DePaul was in deeply unfamiliar territory.

The Rams regrouped and started to gain their footing. 

Coach Tim O’Reilly and his players were upset when Buchholz made a deep run and was knocked off the ball. The official deemed it incidental contact and allowed play to move on.

The game demonstrated the remarkable progress of a program that went from 4-5-3 in the post-COVID season to 20-1-2 a year ago in Class A.

The Rams feature some skilled, athletic and dangerous players in their own right. A Watch List player, forward Lucia Trautman is a breakout sophomore.

She leads the Rams with 21 goals and five assists. Buchholz has scored eight goals and contributed five assists. Forward Ellie Glunz has six goals.

Defender Caitlin Kailus has also impressed as a super two-way talent and shot-creator. She entered the game with a team-best eight assists and is the team’s corner and free kick specialist.

DePaul generated four corner kicks in its effort to score and try to get back into the game.

Lane keeper Cynthia Waller was challenged on three of those kicks and had to come off her line. She showed her athleticism with grabs out of the air.

“It was tough, because their keeper is very tall and athletic,” Kailus said. “Sometimes those services just weren’t going our way. We had some good numbers up there and some good chances.

“At the end of the day, we just didn’t finish them. I thought our energy was really good throughout the day.”

Waller had five saves in her sixth shutout of the year.

Buchholz had the best chance in the second half with a ball from the right wing. The 17-yard shot just skipped over the top of the bar.

Lane’s victory was especially impressive given the team played without two offensive threats.

Senior forward Abby Snowden, who had nine goals and eight assists, was injured during practice Thursday. Junior midfielder Jennifer Rodriguez was unavailable for the match.

“It’s natural during a season that people are going to miss games, or they are going to be out or injured,” midfielder Jessica Carlson said. 

“It’s important that we are going to be able to fill that gap, no matter who it is. I think we have a solid enough all-around team in order to do that.”

Carlson closed out the scoring in the 60th minute. Carman’s free kick from the 20-yard line hit off the crossbar.

She elevated and smashed home the header from about eight yards.

Carlson is the Champions’ unsung hero, a versatile and heady talent who has played in the back and also in the middle attack. 

She led the team last year in total minutes.

Despite the loss, DePaul showed out and displayed toughness and resilience to stay in the game.

The team conceded just one goal in the final 69 minutes. Freshman keeper Abby Reap played the second half, and made three standout saves.

Buchholz, Glunz and midfielder Dylan Greene are seniors. The team is stacked with youth and exceptional promise.

The Rams are not going to see a team of Lane’s size — literally and figuratively — the rest of the season.

“We are friends and rivals with a lot of them. We know them from club,” Buchholz said.  “It’s a great competition. This game was really important to play, because we worked up a level as a team to show we can play against anybody.”

Starting lineups

GK: Cynthia Waller
D: Alyssa LoVerde
D: Aislin Anstee
D: Olivia Tinucci
D: Riya Jain
MF: Luzmarie Razo
MF: Kristi Sevova
MF: Jessica Carlson
F: Jackson Caffey
F: Grace Carman
F: Caitlyn Shane

GK: Reagan Stecz
D: Olivia Garza
D: Kaitlyn Reap
D: Fina Malven
D: Caitlin Kailus
MF: Ava Buchholz
MF: Dylan Greene
MF: Eleanor Farrell
F: Ellie Glunz
F: Lucia Trautman
F: Anna Rhomberg  

Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Kristi Sevova, sr., MF, Lane

Scoring summary

First half
Lane—Kristi Sevova (unassisted), 5’
Lane—Grace Carman (penalty kick), 7’
Lane—Jackson Caffey (penalty kick), 11’

Second half
Lane—Jessica Carlson (Carman), 60’