Girls soccer: Joliet West, Plainfield South battle to scoreless tie

Plainfield South’s Hannah Folliard readies at the net against Joliet West’s Abigail Vugteveen on Thursday, April 18, 2024.

PLAINFIELD – The scoreboard might not have reflected it Thursday, but for Joliet West, a 0-0 tie with Southwest Prairie Conference rival Plainfield South can be viewed as a win.

“We had never beaten or tied Plainfield South,” a soggy West coach Alan Stewart said after a the rain-filled second half. “We’ll take that as a sign we are improving.”

The Tigers (11-4-2, 2-2-2) dominated action in the first half, but Plainfield South’s back line teamed with goalkeeper Hannah Folliard to turn them away at every attempt. Joliet West had at least nine shots on goal in the first half, but none found the back of the net. Folliard made six saves in the first half and a couple of shots were either just wide or went over the goal.

Although the play was concentrated in South’s end of the field in the first half, defenders such as Brianna Major, Kendall Pachowicz, Kaitlyn Brayton, Arabella Guadiuso and Abigail Stepanek forced West to take shots from farther out than they wanted.

Joliet West’s Sophia Podmolik works the ball against Plainfield South on Thursday, April 18, 2024.

“This was a game with two pretty evenly matched teams,” South coach Thomas Blake said. “Our defense did a great job. There have been a lot of games where we have been complimented by refs or opposing coaches about our defensive shape as a team. Our back line and our goalie are as good as anyone’s in the conference.

“They might not be the fastest, but they play tight with their positioning and they are able to shift well. We do a good job of not letting the ball get to the center of the field and make teams attack from wide. That limits the space in the goal that they can shoot at, and Hannah can stop just about anything.”

Plainfield South (4-6-3, 1-3-2) was able to generate a few shots on goal in the second half, but West goalie Kaleigh Blatti turned them all away. Tiger midfielders and defenders, which included Miley Aguirre, Anahi Pena, Sophia Padmolik, Mackenzie Mertes, Julia Martinez, Jovi Biancorosso, Mia Antomez and Stephanie Flores, were able to keep the Cougars at bay.

Joliet West’s Jovi Biancorosso makes a long pass against Plainfield South on Thursday, April 18, 2024.

“We are two evenly matched teams,” Stewart said. “We were able to control the ball a lot and we got a lot of shots on goal, but we couldn’t find the back of the net. That’s kind of been our MO lately. We had a nice six-game winning streak, but the last two games have been 0-0 ties. Against Yorkville, we had a 16-6 shot on goal advantage, and it was probably the same today.

“South having a 6-foot goalie with great hands had a lot to do with us not scoring, but we were taking shots from too far out, as well. We need to work the ball closer. I thought our midfielders, especially Julia Martinez, played a great game keeping control for us. We will keep on plugging and we’ll get some balls in the net.”

There was a flurry of action late, as West got a direct kick at the 15-yard line near the left sideline, but the shot by Podmolik was saved by Folliard. The Tigers had another direct kick with 51 seconds left by Abigail Vugteveen, but that was also saved by Folliard. The Cougars got a late direct kick from the 34 yards out by Guadiuso, but Blatti saved a rebound attempt.