Lone goal in first half enough for Royals : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Lone goal in first half enough for Royals|
|Bartkowiak notes team growth after Oswego soccer starts 0-3|
|by Laura M. Medina|
Though making considerable progress in a short period of time, the Oswego girls' soccer team had yet to secure the elusive first win in three tries.
After enduring lopsided losses in their first two games of the season, one first-half goal was all Rosary needed to send the Panthers to a 1-0 home-opening loss last Friday afternoon.
Oswego (1-3) dropped its opener at Bartlett on March 15 and its road contest against Naperville Central four days later by identical scores of 4-0 prior to last week's contest. It was evident that efforts on both sides of the ball have improved since those matches, but notching a victory remained the lone objective that has escaped the team until Tuesday when Oswego earned its first win of the season after beating West Chicago 4-0.
"We're definitely growing and learning, and they're learning what is and isn't going to work, and as they get comfortable in themselves, they're going to take more of those chances," said Oswego head coach Jamie Bartkowiak.
"We keep growing, and that's what we're all very excited about, the coaches and girls - they see it, and we see that growth is there. We're not even close to a pinnacle yet; we have a long way to go, and we keep seeing it game to game."
Following Tuesday's win, Oswego was scheduled to visit Southwest Prairie Conference foe Romeoville today, Thursday, at 4:30 p.m. prior to hosting Plainfield East next Tuesday.
"We're progressing offensively from game to game," Bartkowiak said. "If you had seen our first game to this game, we're two different teams offensively."
Against Rosary (3-0), Oswego created several chances that could have turned its season's tide, specifically in the first 15 minutes of play, but nothing seemed to find the back of the net.
Meanwhile, it looked like the Royals were on their way to a tally 12:32 into the match, but an offsides call negated the scoring attempt and gave the Panthers possession and momentum.
From there, the home side created back-to-back offensive opportunities - an attempt from senior Trisha Carr on a feed from sophomore Kaylan Mills and a corner kick about 60 seconds later - but things were stopped by goalkeeper Lauren Frasca, who finished with eight saves on the day, effectively keeping the Panthers off the board.
Possession was passed between the teams over the next few minutes, with Rosary's drives resulting in saves from sophomore goalkeeper Amy Annala, and Oswego's rushes turned aside by the opposition.
Then, a steal by midfielder Molly Piech with about 19 minutes remaining in the first half kicked off the scoring play that put the Royals on the board, as her attempt on net faltered and turned into a second-chance opportunity for defender Stephanie Ebert to set up forward Quincy Kellett at the 18:18 mark.
Kellett, one of the Royals' many offensive threats, entered the game following a two-goal performance in their win over Kaneland last Wednesday.
"It was a hard-fought game on both sides, except they put one away, and we didn't," Bartkowiak said.
Kellett's goal appeared to give Rosary considerable momentum, as the team came out just five minutes later with another scoring attempt that was saved by Annala. Oswego then persevered with a sense of urgency, creating several chances near the net that were stopped by the defense.
Both teams had similar attacks as the half wound down, but the Panthers' scoring rush in the final seconds failed to reach the net.
In the second half, Oswego looked to turn the tide, coming up with a huge stop about five minutes in and then turning it around for a couple of offensive rushes - one started by freshman Mikaela Mockenhaupt and the other by sophomore Krissy Klingbeil - at the 28-minute mark. Both, however, were stopped by Frasca.
"They've just been putting things together, especially offensively - working the ball forward and across the field a little bit more, working the ball outside, putting together some offensive combinations a little bit better," Bartkowiak. "That's definitely been improving."
But things again shifted Rosary's way with about 15 minutes to go in the game, as Annala (14 saves) was tested by several attempts that could have increased the damage. She received a bit of help with 9:20 to go, when she was pulled out of the net by another play, and Klingbeil kicked out the shot instead.
With so much pressure by the Royals' offense in the final few minutes, there was little the Panthers could do capitalize, and they ended up with another tally in the loss column.
"When it's a one-goal differential, not too much is broken; you just fight harder, and then you kind of throw everything you can at them in the last 10 (minutes) with a little bit more attacking," Bartkowiak said. "When you're down by only one goal...you just keep playing."
In spite of everything last week's trying schedule, Oswego's strong play versus Rosary is keeping the team optimistic for more goals.
"We are definitely getting better, and if we keep doing that game to game, then that record is going to catch up with us," Bartkowiak said.
"They're working hard in practice, talking to each other and setting their own standards very high, which means that they want to improve from not just game-to-game, but from practice-to-practice, making it easier for us to reach those goals."
Notes: Oswego earned its first win of the season Tuesday after beating West Chicago, 4-0. This was the first game the Panthers have scored all season. They were led by four different players who each scored a goal.
Mockenhaupt (assisted by Trisha Carr) posted the first goal of the game. The second goal in the first half was scored by Bridgett Leverich, assisted by Hunter Coppes.
Coppes also assisted Nikki Anderson's goal in the second half. Kaylan Mills also scored in the second half with the assist coming from Carr.
Annala posted the Panthers' first shutout of the season. She had three saves in the first half and six in the second half.
"I was incredibly proud of what the girls accomplished," Bartkowiak said. "They really put everything we have been working on in practice together and came together and came out successful. We're looking to improve even further on this, and I'm very excited for the possibilities."