Girls soccer: Glenbard West keeps surging with win over Glenbard South

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GLEN ELLYN – Winless and scoreless through their first six games, one might assume the sky was falling for Glenbard West.

One would assume wrong.

Sure, the Hilltoppers took some lumps thanks to a strength of schedule to start the season that was beyond compare, but they also kept their heads up. They played solid soccer at times during defeat, progressing in the right direction so that the victories would ultimately come.

On Monday, they got another one. The Hilltoppers spoiled Glenbard South’s visit with a 4-0 victory. Four different Hilltoppers scored in their fourth win in six games.

“I think we’ve had a lot of tough games and finally started to find our groove and settled in a little bit,” Hillttoppers senior goalkeeper Ava Sullivan said. “We played our game today. We were able to possess and get it down to the end line and cross it and that worked for us.”

Sullivan recognized that earning wins early would be especially difficult, but even not getting them could prove beneficial in the long run. From an 0-5-1 start to 4-6-2 today it’s hard to argue.

“I think we have a very young team, a very new team, so we knew that it was going to be a little bit of an adjustment,” Sullivan said. “And our schedule, especially at the beginning of the year, was very tough. So we knew we had to keep up the optimism and focus on getting that first goal and knowing that more goals would come after that.”

They needed only about 10 minutes to get their first against the Raiders. Freshman Jen Gritis provided the assist to junior Aniela Rossi.

“We launched it in and it bounced around near where I was at the top of the box,” Rossi said. “I just shot it and that was pretty much it.”

Rather, it was just the beginning of a big scoring night for the Hilltoppers. They came into the game with just four goals, if you exclude an 11-goal outburst in one lopsided victory.

Senior Kylie Clifford made a move off a set piece to find freshman Lilly Hubbuch who blasted a 17-yard strike with 16:43 left in the first half to make it 2-0.

“A perfect throw-in from (sophomore) Hana Allen,” Hubbuch said. “She threw it into the penalty kick area and I saw the open goal and just went low corner.”

Glenbard South (7-5) created some chances in an attempt to slice its deficit in half, but couldn’t get one.

“The second half we were all up top,” Raiders senior Lauren Price said. “I thought we did a good job of running the ball.”

The game stayed 2-0 for a considerable time before senior Audrey Sawyer extended the lead, converting a penalty kick with 16:27 remaining.

Junior Makenna Yeager joined in on the fun with 18 seconds left, blasting a shot off the inside of the far post that caromed in. Senior Claire Russell had the assist.

The game was part of the annual Glenbard Cup competition which also includes Glenbard East. The three teams play for bragging rights, a traveling trophy and all the other reasons kids play high school soccer.

While the loss puts a damper on the Raiders’ chances to win it this year, they’re quickly turning their attention to their next game, Tuesday night against Bartlett.

“We’re going to try to do everything we can to get Bartlett,” Raiders coach Kevin Berner said. “To stay undefeated in conference and move that to 4-0 and then hope for the best for the seeding for the regional. You look at the sectional and it’s tough. It’s a tough sectional. It always is.”

Last year, the Raiders won 2-1, but losing this one takes nothing away from the strong season they’re having.

“We’ve had a really great season,” Price said. “(Freshman) Kaitlin Erickson is new on the team and (freshman) Izzy (Breault) plays up top for us and is an amazing defender since (junior) Annika Wise is out, so it’s been nice adding players to our team. Our offensive line is absolutely incredible. We’ve got some amazing runs in.”

Chris Walker

Chris Walker is a contributor to Shaw Local