Blackhawks make it interesting vs. Glenbard East
By Gary Larsen
If you watch enough soccer games in which a team is trailing by three or four goals, you’ll often see players hang their heads and stop fighting.
No such tendency exists at West Aurora, which continued to get after it despite facing a 5-1 second-half deficit to visiting Glenbard East.
The Blackhawks ultimately lost the contest, but the 6-4 final score reflected the fight they put forth to the final buzzer.
“It was fun. Unfortunately, we gave them a big lead and just couldn’t come back from it,” Blackhawks’ assistant coach Eddie Navarro said. “A couple mistakes hurt us early and we just ran out of time.”
“But they decided they wanted to play in the second half. I give them credit because they don’t put their heads down. It’s nice to see them find that motivation and support each other.”
The old saying goes that when you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you should do is stop digging. The Blackhawks will continue to work on putting their shovels down at the outsets of games.
“It’s gotten more and more noticeable that we’re not starting (strong) in the beginning,” West Aurora’s Jessica Saffell said. “But the season’s not over yet and we all just need to get that mentality. We have to keep going hard.”
With the Blackhawks facing a 4-0 deficit, it was Saffell went on a three-goal scoring burst in the second half that woke up the West Aurora faithful. Saffell has now scored 19 goals in 21 games.
“It was the Jessica show. It was fun to watch,” Navarro said. “But we need to be a little more supportive of her.”
Two of Saffell’s goals showcased the big leg she has used to great effect this season, while the third came from 14 yards out.
“On the first one I just saw that the goalie was out, and I just kicked it,” Saffell said. “She was out of position and it went in. On the second one, I just looked to shoot and it went over her head.”
Saffell scored 6 varsity goals as a freshman last year before breaking it open this year.
“I’m more aware now,” Saffell said. “Last year I was more nervous, playing with all the seniors on the team, but now I’m coming out and trying to lead.”
Daniela Bueno scored the Blackhawks’ fourth goal against the Rams. Saffell sent in a long free kick that found its way to the far post, and Bueno was there to clean up on it.
Bueno has developed into a solid midfielder this season, and she’s only a freshman.
“She has really come along. She’s become a leader on the field,” Navarro said. “Even as a freshman, she gets the respect of all the seniors.
She just takes control of the game. She does the hard work in the middle and gets to the play to develop. You won’t see that on any score sheet, but she’s smart and she’s setting everybody up.”
Saffell can relate to the acclimation Bueno has had to make as a varsity player.
“She’s progressing. It’s difficult – I was a freshman last year and my first varsity games, I was nervous,” Saffell said. “But she’s getting more and more used to us.”
“She wins the middle and she knows how to play them in to me up top, or we do give-and-go’s in the middle. She’s a big part of the team.”
Navarro credited Rachel Simpson and Stefanie Rempala for both putting in a good day’s work against Glenbard East, and wants to see this year’s squad find a more consistent level of urgency with the season now winding down.
“We play a good forty minutes,” he said. “But we have to play eighty.”
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