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Girls’ soccer opens season with a capitalizing victory

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Girls’ varsity soccer opened its season with a dominating 4-1 win over DuPage Valley Conference rival Wheaton North at Mustang Stadium on Saturday. The entire game was filled with action and intensity, and the Mustangs were proud to start the season in such an explosive way.

“It was energizing to finally get out on our home turf to start the season with a high standard of intensity and obviously a win,” senior Jade Eriksen-Russo said.

From kick-off all the way until the final whistle, consistent team chemistry was seen along with a strong offensive showing. The defense also played a key role, as senior defender MaKenna Schoolman was named the game’s “Chicagoland MVP of the match.” Head coach Chris Whaley was pleased with the team’s work ethic, and knows that this win can help the girls seek more motivation as the season continues.

“We had a couple of good practices before the game that kind of showed [the girls’] level of comfort. It’s always a little bit of a mystery in a game situation to see if that can translate onto the field, and it did. [The girls] moved the ball very well, and it took a while, but eventually they were able to score and find some good opportunities,” Whaley said.

The first half started with a tight battle from both sides. However, the Mustangs were eventually able to gain momentum with goals from seniors Nicki Hernandez and Abby Severson, respectively at the 27th and 35th minutes.

In the second half, senior Jade Eriksen-Russo was able to give the Mustangs a 3-0 lead with a penalty kick conversion in the 52nd minute. Although Wheaton North scored shortly after at the 53rd minute to make the score 3-1, sophomore Sophia Majher scored the game winner in the 60th minute to help hold the 4-1 win. The Mustangs also out-shot Wheaton North 22-3, which gave them a statistical advantage.

“It’s still early, but our first game gave us a good idea of what we need to build on moving forward and gave us some momentum for the games to come,” senior Abby Severson said.

Having a strong sense of knowledge of each other off the field, the team hopes that this is something that can translate to the field during gameplay. While it is still early in the season, the Mustangs will look for more wins such as this one to help progress as time goes on. The team has a unique blend of veteran leadership, as well as newcomers who look primed for an immediate impact.

“This season, we want to play in the moment and focus on each game with the same level of importance and passion. One of our team mantras is ‘No fear, no regrets,’” Eriksen-Russo said.

Over spring break, the Mustangs will participate in a tournament at the Lou Fusz Soccer Complex in St. Louis on March 31 and April 1. Their next DuPage Valley Conference match is April 4 at Neuqua Valley.

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Girls’ soccer opens season with a capitalizing victory