Coach: Ignacio Ponce
Katie Oldach Sr., GK
Emily Vachon Jr., GK
Elise Dellegrazie Jr., GK
Renata Voci Sr., D
Wren Osler So., M/D
Sanya Ovonovic Sr., D
Zoe Snelling Jr., D
Katherine Skrine Sr., D
Patricia Witt Jr., D
Claire Cekander Jr., D
Sara Richert Sr., D
Emily Verticchio Jr., D
Naomi Johnson Jr., D
Mikaela Gillman Sr., M
Joy Dennis Sr., M
Tess Trinka So, M/F
Maggie Blaha Jr., M
Meredith Blatner So., M
Erin Schrobilgen So., M
Rebekah Dempsey Jr., M/D
Jacque Bono Jr., M
Sophia Pappageorge Sr., M
Nicole Smart Jr., M
Olivia O'Sullivan Jr., M
Mogbaola Ana Agboola Sr., F
Ruby Gonzalez So., F
Alicia Gerin Jr., F/M

Huskies at .500 with win over Glenbard West
By Dave Owen


Renata Voci and Oak Park took Glenbard West’s best shot on Tuesday, and responded to the challenge.

For the Huskies (3-3), repelling a strong early offensive attack by the Hilltoppers (1-5) and answering in kind produced a 2-0 win in the WSC Silver opener for both teams.

Senior defender Voci literally felt the Glenbard West onslaught, as she was struck in the face with a shot 7:45 before halftime. Voci was back on her feet within five seconds unfazed by the play, and continued her key defensive role the rest of the way in the shutout performance.

“It happens a lot as a short player,” the 5-foot-2 Voci said. “I get elbows to the face, I get hit in the face a lot, so I’m kind of used to it. My lips are a bit numb, but I just told the refs if you see blood let me know because otherwise I’m not going to stop.”

Voci, Wren Osler, Katherine Skrine and Naomi Johnson provided the defensive wall in front of junior goalkeeper Emily Vachon, who started in place of Katy Oldach (expected to be sidelined by injury until next week).

“Mentally (Vachon) was prepared and she made some nice saves, and our back line looked strong," Oak Park coach Ignacio Ponce said. "Naomi Johnson my outside left defender, this is the first time she’s played on the outside and she just stood out. We took her out three or four times because she’s nursing an injury too, but she contributed tremendously. Our back line’s not the biggest, but we’ll fight and scrap for balls and I think we’re understanding the game better.”

With the wind at their backs in the first half, the Hilltoppers had early control of play. In a strong two-minute surge early in the match, an aggressive attack by Abby Ohmstein set up two corner kicks. Then after Becca Dugan was fouled, a strong 40-yard direct kick by Jamie Henkel resulted in a Vachon save.

“The first 5-7 minutes was kind of bouncing all over the place because we were trying to take our ground and figure out what was going on,” Voci said. “But once we got acclimated we figured out we needed to be on the ground and we got our pace and rhythm. Once the rhythm was there the effort was there, that’s where we our intensity came from and you really saw the heart of the team.”

Oak Park’s offensive heart began to pump on a pretty combination play in the 27th minute.

Off a cross to the top of the box from Ana Agboola,  sophomore Lauren Wilkes tipped the ball to her left to teammate Maggie Blaha, whose liner into the upper left corner of the net put the Huskies up 1-0 with 13:11 left in the first half.

Wilkes started in her first varsity game since the Huskies’ season opener against Naperville Central.

“She played well at center mid,” Ponce said, “and was very physical gaining position. That’s something we’re looking for from our center mids. This I think is the 7th sophomore that is on the field contributing. We’re a young team, but I think they’re catching on quickly.”

The Huskies’ lead had to endure Voci’s shot to the face and brilliant late first half play from Glenbard West’s Kaitlin Moore. After first setting up a quality chance for Natalie Salo that was shot just wide in the 36th minute, Moore deftly dribbled between Huskies into the box in the final seconds of the half before a nice clear by Blaha ran out the clock.

“We knew the wind would be a factor, and we were hoping to score a couple of goals in the first half,” Glenbard West coach Maciek Kusmierz said. “We weren’t able to capitalize on our opportunities and gave up one goal in the first half. Then in the second half I  thought Oak Park picked up the pace of the game and we found it difficult going against a strong physical team.”

Agboola in particular was dominant. After having been robbed on a 15-yard blast on a foot save by charging Hilltoppers’ keeper Anna Soane with 9:30 left in the first half, Agboola couldn’t be stopped on her next big chance with 33:44 remaining in the game.

Off a pass from Tess Trinka, Agboola nicely pivoted and turned her defender with great ballhandling and launched a 25-yard shot just under the crossbar for a 2-0 Oak Park lead.

 “I have to thank my dad for that,” Agboola said of her ballhandling skills. “He’s been training my brother and I since we were three, so I’ve always had really good control. And I’ve played with boys a lot, and they don’t play passing as much as playing at their own feet and then passing.”

Agboola later used similar great footwork to spin free of a defender and just miss another 20-yard rocket over the net. Oak Park’s Ruby Gonzalez also nearly scored in the second half on a great individual play, a nicely placed 30-yard direct kick that Soane kicked aside.

Glenbard West limited the damage of Oak Park’s threats thanks to the efforts of players like senior defender Becca Dugan.

“A player that has been consistent against the tough teams we’ve played so far is Becca Dugan, who played outside defender on the left side for us today,” Kusmierz said. “I think game in and game out she proves to be a very consistent and improving player for us.”

The Hilltoppers’ offense countered with its own challenges in the final 20 minutes, starting with Megan Kostolansky’s  20-yard shot just over the net off an Alex Levin pass. Alyssa Cantore and Zoe Pearson later had scoring chances in the box, with Pearson’s threat off a Jamie Henkel direct kick with 2:35 to play cleared out of bounds by Voci.

With 10 seconds left, Voci cleared the Oak Park zone off a free kick from midfield to seal the shutout.

“We started communicating a lot more, something we’ve been working on a lot as a team,” Voci said. “And possession was another key factor. We were in the top third and the forwards were passing and resetting. That really set the pace, and that’s what really got us pumped up and got us the win.”

After an inconsistent first five games of 2012, the Huskies were focused on starting conference play in style.

“Through our games we’ve gone through so far, setting the tone from the start has been something we’ve been trying to build on,” Voci said. “Today on the bus here we were talking that this is our first conference game, this is how we’re going to set the tone for our season. It needs to reflect the heart that we have and the trust we have for each other, and I think it showed.”

The Huskies host Downers North on Thursday in their next WSC Silver match.

“There’s a lot more to come from other teams that are going to challenge us,” Ponce said, “but this is where it’s a challenge for us to see if we can step up to that level.”


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