Girls Soccer: Freshman’s goal lifts Lyons past Hinsdale Central
A lot of soccer players dislike playing on a muddy field in the pouring rain, but Lyons defender Liza Gabrek isn’t one of them.
“I love this,” Gabrek said. “This is my favorite condition to play in. It’s most dramatic.”
Gabrek made Tuesday’s showdown with rival Hinsdale Central dramatic. The freshman scored the first goal of her career to lead the Lions to 1-0 victory in LaGrange.
Fellow fullback Ari Kowalski triggered the decisive play by making an overlap run into the left corner before crossing into the middle of the Hinsdale Central box. The Red Devils cleared the ball but Gabrek aggressively went after it and launched a 23-yard shot that skimmed off the head of a defender and then the gloves of goalie Jenna Blodgett with 28:18 left in the first half.
“It’s extremely rainy and the weather’s terrible, so the goalies are going to be pretty nervous,” Gabrek said. “So I just thought why not take a chance. It’s wet out, so they might bobble it and fortunately it went in.
“I’m just a freshman and I’m a defender so it’s not very likely for me to get a goal, so I’m pretty excited about it.”
Blodgett, a sophomore making just her third appearance in place of injured starter Riley Glenn, had to jump for Gabrek’s shot but said she would have saved it had it been dry.
“It was crazy wet,” said Blodgett, who made five saves in the second half to deny the Lions an insurance goal. “Everyone was slipping everywhere and the ball was slippery.
“They just got that one touch on the ball and it slips through and it’s hard to grab it and hold on. It’s just hard with the rain and the water.”
Even Lyons senior goalie Maggie Orlowski had trouble catching the ball, bobbling several shots. But LT’s back line of Gabrek, Kowalski, Sarah Mazur and Emily Thuma did not allow a shot after halftime and Orlowski finished with five saves to record her 11th shutout.
The win puts Lyons, which had tied its previous three games, in the driver’s seat in the West Suburban Silver race. The Lions (10-2-4, 4-0) are a game ahead of York and Oak Park-River Forest. An Lyons win over Proviso West on Thursday means next Tuesday’s Lyons-Oak Park contest will decide at least a share of the title.
Hinsdale Central (5-9-2, 2-2) can still play spoiler as it can knock York out of contention by beating the Dukes on Thursday.
“I keep telling the girls we’re close and eventually a ball is going to bounce our way,” Hinsdale Central coach Michael Smith said. “We’re putting ourselves in position to be dangerous. It’s one positive touch here, one slip there and it’s a whole other deal.”
The Red Devils have now lost five 1-0 games this spring, four of which have come in the past five matches.
“It was a rivalry game and we wanted to win it, but I think from this game we’ve just got to say that we want to put goals away,” Blodgett said. “We’re taking a few chances but definitely not enough. We’ve got to get some numbers on the board.”