Scouts on to Pepsi Showdown Round of 16
By Dan Santaromita
CLICK HERE FOR LAKE FOREST'S TEAM PAGE
Lake Forest put in a good team win against Fenwick to open the Pepsi Showdown, but senior midfielder Abby Shipp stood out among the rest.
Shipp scored the opening goal and assisted on the second in the Scouts’ 2-0 win over the visiting Friars. She wreaked havoc on the Friar defense and connected with her teammates consistently.
“That one right there played the best game I’ve seen in a long time,” Lake Forest coach Ty Stuckslager said referring to Shipp.
With Shipp anchoring the midfield the Scouts (6-2-1) dominated the game from start to finish. The Friars (2-3-1) rarely had a look at goal.
Lake Forest fired several shots in the first 20 minutes, but didn’t put anything on frame. Shipp ended that trend with a piercing run through the Friar defense to create a wide-open shot inside the box. Her finish gave Fenwick goalkeeper Sydney Galvez-Daley (7 saves) no chance in the 25th minute.
It was one of many impressive plays from Shipp, who frequently beat defenders off the dribble.
“I felt like I had a lot of space and I just felt like when I got the ball not a lot of people were on me so I figured I’d dribble,” Shipp said.
Fenwick’s best scoring chance of the match came in the final minutes before halftime. Maddie Stupinski lobbed a shot from outside the box that appeared way over, but the wind kept the ball in play and knocked it off the crossbar. A rebound header went over the goal to end the threat.
Despite playing against the wind in the second half the Scouts stayed on the offensive and scored a coach’s dream of a goal seven minutes in. Several Scouts got in on the play before Mackenzie Mick hit a first touch ball to Shipp, who crossed to freshman Carly Hoke. Hoke redirected the ball into the net with a low finish.
“The second goal as I told the girls was the best goal I’ve seen in several years,” Stuckslager said. “The movement. The number of touches. We’d love to give six assists because it was the build up to the final touch in the net that was outstanding.”
“That’s what we work on basically in practice,” Shipp said of the build up.
The Scouts didn’t add to the scoring, but maintained control of the match. Keeper Liz Clark only needed to make two saves for the team’s fifth shutout.
The backline of Lucy Edwards, Sydney Johnston, Marina Katz and Mackenzie Mick dealt with what they needed to, but the Scouts’ dominant midfield play didn’t give them too much work.
“I thought we played really well,” Katz said. “We played together. We switched the field. We did everything we needed to do.”
Shipp, Ali Danneker and Danielle Loeger formed a strong triangle in the midfield. The connecting play of the Scouts is something Stuckslager views as a strength of the team.
“We’ve been working on it and the nice thing is we’re kind of a new team together because we lost the 15 girls last year,” he said. “They’ve been building and this is only our eighth day back from spring break so we’re still trying to get our fitness, but there was the movement with the wings and the center middies. They got us opportunities.
“We’re ahead of where I thought we’d be at this time.”
The players aren’t surprised by the early success though.
“We have a lot of good younger players and everyone is working together,” Katz said. “I think it’s something we expected.”
Lake Forest faces Wheaton Warrenville South Thursday in the Pepsi Showdown round of 16. The Tigers won 2-0 over Huntley in their tournament opener.
“This is something to show everybody that we can play with the top teams,” Katz said of the tournament.