CARY – Cary-Grove players had one thing on their minds in a rainy and cold match against Woodstock North on Thursday afternoon: Get the ball to the net because anything can happen.
Trojans coach Ray Krystal made sure to emphasize that point to his young players before their nonconference match, and that proved to be the difference when Ellie Santucci scored two goals by shooting the ball at the net in her team’s 4-3 win.
“It’s a slippery game, so when you take shots and they’re hard, it’s probably going to go in,” Santucci said. “With the support of my teammates, that helped too.”
Players from both teams weren’t afraid to shoot to start the match, as Woodstock North’s Gracie Zankle scored with 32 minutes left in the first half by knocking in a goal from outside the box that just went over Cary-Grove goalkeeper Ashton Proctor’s arms.
The Thunder didn’t hold the lead for long, with the Trojan’s Taylor Pawl almost mimicking Zankle’s shot with an attempt from beyond the front of the box with 29 minutes left in the first half.
Santucci gave Cary-Grove (1-3-0) a lead it wouldn’t give up when she scored off a shot from the corner of the field that went in with three minutes left in the first half.
The freshman scored again off a shot near the corner of the box to make it 3-1 with 27 minutes left in the match, and Chloe Warner scored off a rebound on a fast break to make it 4-1 with eight minutes left in the game.
Underclassmen scored all four of the Trojans’ goals, and Krystal was proud to see their effort be rewarded.
“It’s just really the effort that they put in,” Krystal said. “We have some youngsters on the team, [Santucci’s] one of them, and the effort, the excitement and the enthusiasm for the game and for being on the team and part of the program, that’s important to see.”
Addison Rishling joined the scoring late for Woodstock North (1-2-0) when she knocked in a goal from the corner with four minutes left in the match and scored again off of a free kick in front of the box with about a minute left.
Thunder coach John Sullivan was proud of the effort that he saw from his players in the last five minutes of the match, but he needs them to do that for a whole half in order to win a game like Thursday’s.
“I thought we had a great first half and came out flat in the second half,” Sullivan said. “The weather didn’t help us, but that’s March soccer for you.”
Woodstock North will go on spring break and won’t play again until April 5, when it visits Marengo. Cary-Grove will have some time off and returns on the same date, playing at Libertyville.
Thursday was the Trojans’ first win of the season. The team faced tough competition in Prospect, Hersey and Lake Zurich with a young team that has players learning how to succeed at the varsity level.
Wins like Thursday’s are important for the team as it continues the nonconference portion of its schedule.
“I think it helps a lot, because after a game like this, our energy is so much better than the last couple games, and it helps a lot, especially because we have freshmen,” Santucci said. “We want a good representation of what our team is, especially what it’s going to be going forward.”