Girls soccer defeats Libertyville keeping their status in the Lou Malnati’s tournament alive

Grace Ainger, Managing Editor

If a team can gain momentum, there’s almost no stopping them. Especially for the Huskies. The Naperville North High School girls soccer team fought to achieve the momentum needed to gain success on Monday, Apr. 10. After an uneventful first half, they were able to fight off Libertyville High School’s aggressive defense for a strong win in an important tournament. 

After a slow first half and a Libertyville goal in the last 20 seconds, The Huskies (3-3-1) defeated the Wildcats (3-1-1) with a final score of 3-2. 

The Huskies struggled in the first half to gain momentum against the Wildcats’ strong defense. Though the ball stayed in the Wildcat half, uncontrolled ball movements and a lack of communication kept the team from the success of scoring a goal. Junior Annie Chang, who scored the second goal in the second half, explains how the team felt in the first half and what kept them motivated.

“I thought we came out a little bit tired, we were kind of slower than the second half. We picked it up because we realized how much we need to win this game to stay in the tournament,” Chang explained. 

The second half took a different turn with the net getting lots of action. Libertyville got an early goal, but the Huskies didn’t let it stop them and put two goals in the net within 10 minutes of each other. Their offensive momentum rippled to the defense as they fought hard to push back the tough Wildcats. Freshman Claire DeCook scored the first and third goals in this half and explains what the team focused on improving in the second half.

“It’s definitely going out of the back and our defenders hitting wide to the outside backs. That’s when we connect through me. We connect our passes and we settle down… and take a moment to breathe,” DeCook said. 

After losing to Evanston in the first round of the New Trier Lou Malnati’s tournament on Saturday, the team was hungry for a win. The team’s win over Libertyville kept them in the tournament and their desire to win even stronger. Head Coach Steve Goletz explains the importance of their strong second-half performance and how it can apply to future games.

“I think we’re in a tough stretch right now. We’ve played three top 10 teams in the state in five days so for a super young team to come out and battle and go down a goal 1-0 and then come back and score three goals unanswered, I thought it was awesome for the group,” Goletz said. 

With the team being about halfway through their season, they are looking to constantly improve game after game. With important matches such as the Naperville Invitational and DVC matchups, DeCook discusses a goal she has for her team moving forward.

“Definitely consistency. We lost our game against Evanston and [now] we won. We’re good at breaking people’s winning streaks, but I want us to gain a winning streak ourselves,” DeCook said. 

The team will hit the turf once again at New Trier for the next game in the tournament on Wednesday, Apr. 12 at 6 p.m. against St. Francis High School.