Close game lives up to the hype : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Close game lives up to the hype |
|Anderson credited with game-winning goal for Oswego soccer team|
|by Christine Bolin|
The Oswego girls' soccer team is on a roll at just the right time of the season.
The Panthers have won three consecutive Southwest Prairie Conference games, including Tuesday's big battle with rival Oswego East.
The Panthers were the first to score and beat the Wolves, 2-1, at Oswego and improved to 8-10-2 overall. Oswego finished 5-2 in the conference, and has just one regular season game left - today, Thursday, against Batavia at home on Senior Night at 4:30 p.m. - before the postseason begins next week in the Class 4A Metea Valley Regional against Plainfield North next Wednesday.
"It was nice to end the conference season on that win - that's big for us," said Oswego assistant coach Kelsey Hoinkes, who was filling in for an ill Jamie Bartkowiak. "It gives us a little more confidence going into the postseason. We are playing better soccer as a whole team going into the postseason."
This was Oswego East's last regular season game before taking on Waubonsie Valley in the Class 4A Waubonsie Valley Regional on Tuesday. The Wolves capped the conference season 4-3 and are now 8-8-1 overall.
"Last year (against Oswego), it was 1-0, so it's always within a goal or so, but it's still a conference game," Oswego East head coach Lauren Anderson said. "It's Oswego, so there's always more hype because we are in the same town."
Before either team scored, Oswego junior defender Riley Brown went down with what appeared to be a broken ankle at the 33:38 mark in the first half. An ambulance was called, and the game was stopped for nearly 20 minutes.
"It happened right in front of me; it was really scary," Oswego junior forward Bridgett Leverich said. "I don't think I've ever seen her cry. She's tough."
This was the first of four times the contest was paused due to injuries. Oswego's Kaylan Mills, a sophomore midfielder/forward, was injured late in the second half after her shot attempt fell short.
"We did have one problem after another in this game, but we kept fighting," Hoinkes said. "Bad things happened...but our effort was excellent. It was a rough game."
The injury bug also hit Oswego East, as sophomore midfielder Maddy Aubuchon left the game early after she hyperextended her knee with 20 seconds left in the first half. Junior midfielder Holly Schwarz also had to leave early late in the second half after she twisted her knee.
"They should be all right by tournament time," Anderson said.
Oswego had several close shot attempts before one finally went in. Leverich received a flawless pass from junior forward Nikki Anderson for the Panthers' goal at close range with 3:40 remaining in the first half.
"It was an amazing feeling (to score first)," Leverich said. "It wasn't even planned. The ball just came to me, and it happened. Nikki's cross was perfect. I seriously could not stop smiling for a good seven minutes."
"That was big," Hoinkes said. "I thought it was a bad cross. I thought it was going to be a bad shot, but it was a great goal. It was very well-done, an all-around great goal and great play from both our players."
The Panthers second goal was clocked in at the 30:50 mark in the second half. A group of players from both sides were near the goal, and it looked like an Oswego East defender may have guided the ball in the goal's direction, but Anderson was credited with the score.
"It was a cluster of players, but (Anderson) came out and said she scored the goal," Hoinkes said.
Oswego East's goal was tallied around the 20-minute mark in the second half, thanks to junior midfielder Megan Moran on an assist from junior midfielder Anida Phetchanpheng.
"Megan did a good job finishing that goal, but really Anida created it with her intensity and keeping the ball in place," Anderson said. "It was a good combination."
Notes: Prior to the rivalry matchup, Oswego won a pair of conference games against Minooka, 5-1, on May 1 and Plainfield Central, 3-1, on May 3.
Against Minooka, Kelsey Kraft scored twice, and Nikki Anderson, Erin Apolzan and Trisha Carr scored once.
Against Plainfield Central, Hunter Coppes (assisted by Trisha Carr), Kraft (assisted by Brown) and Kraft again (unassisted) scored the goals for the Panthers. Amy Annala played in goal and earned 8 saves.
Conference leader Plainfield North beat Oswego East, 8-1, on May 3. The Wolves were the first team in 11 games to score on the Tigers. They followed that with a 7-0 win over East Aurora on Saturday.
The Panthers are in the Class 4A Metea Valley Regional, where they were given the No. 10 seed.
Oswego takes on No. 5 seed and fellow conference opponent Plainfield North on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
The game before that is between No. 3 Metea Valley and No. 14 West Aurora. The winners play each other on Fri., May 18 at 5 p.m.
The Wolves are in the Class 4A Waubonsie Valley Regional, where they were given the No. 12 seed. They will take on the host-Warriors, the No. 6 seed, on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. The winner will play the winner of No. 4 Neuqua Valley/No. 13 Plainfield South on Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the title game.