Girls soccer seizes win over Hersey Huskies in 1-0 home win

Junior Erin Kelly (8) lunges for the ball, keeping the Huskies from getting a goal against the home team.

In their season opener on March 15, 2023, the Libertyville varsity girls soccer team defeated the Hersey Huskies, with a final score of 1-0. Despite the cold weather and initially slow start, the Wildcats were able to pull out a win under the stadium lights.

Slow Start:
The first half started out slowly, the team just trying to figure out how to play together. There were some plays that presented scoring opportunities, but to no avail. Continuously trying to push up the sideline, junior Molly Koch (3) had multiple runs. The defense, led by senior captain Pru Babat (10), successfully prevented Hersey from scoring.

As the half came to an end, it was clear that the game plan needed readjusting.
“First half, we were just trying to force things down the sideline,” head coach Daniel DePaz remarked after the game. “That was our biggest adjustment [for the second half].”
So when the second half started, the Wildcats came out strong. There was an increase in energy from both teams, both craving a win. Hersey was increasingly aggressive, knocking girls down left and right. Junior goalie Kate Hopma (00), refused to fold, making multiple saves as the Huskies took possession of the ball.
Five minutes into the second half, disaster struck. Two LHS players failed to communicate and ended up knocking heads going for the ball. Babat and junior Erin Kelly (8), were both taken out of the game, where they had brief concussion testing. Despite a chance of injury, both eventually returned to the game.
Nineteen minutes into the second half, when it seemed like the game was going nowhere, senior and team captain Jenna Krakowski (18) swooped in with an amazing play. After a pass through the middle, she shot… and scored, making it 1-0 with 20 minutes left to play.
The rest of the game was filled with back and forth, Hersey remained aggressive but failed to score. It was clear that Krakowski’s goal ignited energy in the Wildcats. As the Huskies grew more determined to score, the home team’s defense only grew stronger. The minutes counted down and the cold seeped in, but the Wildcats were able to hold the Huskies off until the game was over, securing their first win for the season.

Looking Ahead:
The athletes have some areas for growth, as Krakowski reflected on the strengths and weaknesses of their first game, saying that “we need to work on some finishing. We had a lot of opportunities today.”
However, the team also has a lot to work with. Even though the team is still figuring out how to play together, DePaz said the players are equipped with lots of skill, passion and knowledge,
“It’ll take time for us to feel more comfortable together and playing with one another,” DePaz explained, “but the intelligence is there in how we move with the ball. We’ve got a lot of smart players and good players.”