Girls Soccer: Balanced Oak Park-River Forest burst past Hinsdale SouthOak Park, 04/09/12--Oak Park River Forest's Mikaela Gillman and Hinsdale South's Sarah Leganski go up for a header. Oak Park River Forest High School hosted HInsdale South High School in girls soccer Monday afternoon. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 9, 2012 10:40PM
Oak Park-River Forest has found its momentum after a slow start.
The Huskies won their third consecutive game with a 3-1 victory over visiting Hinsdale South Monday in the preliminary round of the Pepsi Showdown. OPRF earned goals from three different scorers — Joy Dennis, Meredith Blatner and Wren Osler — while it was Blatner’s goal in the second half that gave the Huskies the lead. OPRF plays at fifth-seeded New Trier at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the first round of the Pepsi Showdown.
Blatner’s goal with 26:44 to go was her second of the season for the Huskies (5-3), who lost three of their first five games to open the season. Eight different players have scored goals for OPRF, which is trying to win at least 12 games for the sixth consecutive season.
“It’s exciting. (The win) brightens the team up,” Blatner said. “We’re getting everyone energized, especially with that go-ahead goal and then the third goal.”
Osler’s goal provided a little insurance with a two-goal lead with 10:14 remaining in the game. Her free kick went over the heads of a four-defender wall by Hinsdale South and caught the upper left corner of the goal from nearly 30 yards out.
Hinsdale South (1-6) tied the game with 30:24 remaining in the second half on Betta Bifero’s first goal of the season, but the deadlock ended on Blatner’s goal four minutes later. Bifero’s goal came off Jessica Koziol’s corner kick, which glanced off Sarah Leganski and went to a wide open Bifero. Bifero lined a shot with her right foot to the left side of the goal from nearly 20 yards out.
The Hornets were coming off their first win of the season, a 3-1 victory at Leyden April 5.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries this year,” Bifero said. “It’s been tough getting a good starting line a lot. At practice, a lot of times we have to make sure people keep trying their hardest.”
Hinsdale South took only three shots in the first half. OPRF alsodominated in the second half and nearly scored another goal by Mikaela Gillman, but officials called offside.
Blatner’s goal came off an assist by Lauren Wilkes, who sent the ball to the front of the goal. Blatner rushed the goal and just beat Hornets keeper Vanessa Niestrom to tap the ball in for the score. Niestrom was never able to control the ball and collided with Blatner on the play.
The Huskies led 1-0 in the first half on Dennis’ left-footed shot out of crowd that stunned Hinsdale South with 46 seconds before halftime.
“The team is starting to come together,” said first-year OPRF coach Ignacio Ponce. “We tried some new things at the beginning of the season. We do not have a go-to leading goalscorer, by far. In the past, we had one or two players that dominated our goal scoring.”