CARPENTERSVILLE — Dundee-Crown didn’t want to waste an opportunity at staying undefeated on the season against Hampshire on Thursday.
Both teams entered their Fox Valley Conference opener with undefeated records and the Chargers, who built a 4-1 lead, nearly couldn’t hang on against the Whip-Purs.
But Emilia Arias scored a late goal off of a corner kick, keeping the Chargers unbeaten and helping them hold off Hampshire, 5-4.
“It’s nice that we didn’t give up on the plays and that we executed down the stretch,” D-C coach Rob Moulton said. “True adversity reveals character and I thought our girls fought until the end and put us in the opportunity to win. We executed and took advantage.”
D-C (4-0, 1-0) found its opportunity to win the game when the Chargers drew a corner with under 10 minutes remaining. Berkley Mensik had missed sending the ball over on her previous chance, but this time she sent a perfect ball to the Hampshire goal where Arias placed it in the corner of the goal to give her team a 5-4 lead with 9:07 left.
The goal was Arias’ second goal of the match – and the season. She was happy to execute on the game-winning set play.
“I just saw the ball coming straight at me,” Arias said. “We do this at practice, it was something we always do and it was easy. I put it in the right angle and it was a good shot.”
Arias scored the first goal of the match when she knocked in a shot off of a cross pass from Mensik on a fast break with 36:09 left in the first half. Mensik got involved in the scoring herself when she scored off of a free kick just outside of the box with 22:58 left in the first half and scored again over a minute later to give D-C a 3-0 lead.
Hampshire’s Francesca Pastolrelli scored on a free kick with 15:19 left in the first half to cut the deficit to 3-1, but Marisol Gutierrez got a goal back for the Chargers when she scored on a rebound off of a Mensik free kick with 6:13 left in the first half.
Genevieve Bangert scored for Hampshire to make it 4-2 with 45 seconds left before halftime.
The Whips (5-1, 0-1) took advantage of the flipped field and used the wind to their advantage in the second half. Kortney Fairwood scored for Hampshire with over 34:13 left in the match and then Bangert tied the match on a fast break three minutes later.
“That’s a good team,” Moulton said. “They capitalized on our mistakes and we have to make sure we’re limiting our mistakes.”
Hampshire battled in the last nine minutes after giving up the match-winning goal but couldn’t capitalize on any chance near the end.
Whips coach Kelly Madison was proud of the way her players battled back as a team and how much they’ve grown in their six matches.
“We, honestly, have improved so much this year, and have worked so hard that we’re here to win,” Madison said. “We’re here to be a part of these top teams and this was one of our first steps. Yeah we lost, but we came from three down to make it a competitive game.”
Hampshire will host Elgin on Saturday while Dundee-Crown will play against Bradley-Bourbonnais on Saturday at the Plainfield North Classic.
Wins like Thursday are good teaching moments for Moulton. While he’s proud that his players found a way to win the match, there are still lessons they need to learn if the Chargers want to contend for a conference crown.
“It’s good to learn through a win but at the same time we have to put teams away,” Moulton said. “When we have a 4-1 lead, we can’t sit back. We have to be aggressive, what got us that lead, playing our game, we have to dictate the tempo.”