Falcons score twice late to capture DVC win over Rams
By Eddie Burns
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It took 75 minutes, but Wheaton North finally ended its scoreless streak and it did so in fashion.
Tiffany Traxinger and Sydney Sharkey each scored in the final 4 minutes, 30 seconds to lift the Falcons to a 2-0 win against DuPage Valley Conference foe Glenbard East on Saturday evening in Wheaton.
Traxinger broke the scoreless match when the Falcons were awarded a free kick after a yellow card was called on a Glenbard East defender.
She made the Rams pay for their mistake when she bent a direct restart from approximately 28 yards out around the wall that the Rams’ defense had formed. The right-footed shot was just out of the reach of Glenbard East goalie Veronica Fairbairn.
“It was awesome,” said Traxinger, who missed Wheaton North’s loss at West Chicago this past Thursday because of an injury.
“It was great to get a goal that was placed as perfect as that was. Usually my shots hit the post, but this time it went in and that was great. We had gone too long without a goal, so it was about time.”
The Falcons (4-4, 2-3 DVC) had been held without goals during DVC losses to Naperville North and West Chicago this past week. Traxinger also tallied the goal with her future college coach in the stands, Trinity International's Patrick Gilliam.
Traxinger’s goal zapped the energy out of the Rams (7-4-2, 0-2-1).
“We got frustrated and we can’t do that,” said Glenbard East junior forward Jess DeJong. “We have to forget about the officials and keep playing the game. If (the officials) impact one person, it will spread to the entire team. Then we start fouling more and we get frustrated.”
Shortly after Traxinger’s goal, Sharkey netted a goal of her own to put the match away.
“Once we score, we can score in bunches – we did that late tonight,” Traxinger said.
Glenbard East coach Kent Overbey tipped his cap to the Falcons.
“Both of those goals were beautiful,” Overbey said. “There wasn’t much we could do on either goal. Neither goal was Veronica’s fault. We have to be better. We can’t give up and commit fouls in our end.”
The Wheaton North defense made life difficult on the Glenbard East offensive attack.
Outside backs HB Rowland and Lyndi Armstrong along with center backs Linnae Giuliano, Sarah Weatherred and Emily Barry were solid along with goalie Jessica Kiely.
“This team has each other’s back,” Giuliano said. “We like playing together (especially those of us in the back) and it is good having two outside backs knowing that they can go up and join the attack, so we as center backs know that when they go up into the attack they will go and they will go hard and get there. We have a lot of trust in each other.”
Glenbard East also has a stingy defense and it was for most of the match. Meghan Mumenthal, Jessie Grumstrup, Sadie Moore and Kelly Ravenscraft were victims of two perfect goals.
“Our defense played really well,” DeJong said. “The free kick got their momentum going.”
“Our defense has been stingy all year and this is only the second time this year we’ve had two or more goals scored on us,” Overbey said. “Frankly, it is hard to believe that Wheaton North isn’t scoring more goals. They push a lot of pressure, they connect a lot of passes and they have speed up top.”
The Rams also aren't scoring as much as they would like as they had no goals this past week in DVC matches against Naperville Central, Glenbard North and Wheaton North.
“We need to take more shots from farther out and then we need to follow up on our shots when we take them,” DeJong said. “If we take shots, we will put pressure on the opponent. We are trying to be a bit too cute sometimes.”
Glenbard East did piece together a few nice runs and created some scoring chances. In particular, Lindsey Paganucci, Alex Ruffer, Katie Difino and DeJong almost connected for a goal off a corner restart in the 60th minute, but the Falcons managed to clear the ball.
DeJong said that Glenbard East’s biggest issue was that it wasn’t playing foot to foot soccer.
“We were not connecting passes and we didn’t possess the ball like we’ve done a lot this season,” DeJong said. “We have to be a successful passing team to win.”
The Falcons hope to use this victory as a springboard as they enter consecutive tournaments in the Pepsi Showdown and Naperville Invitational.
“After the Naperville North loss, we were a bit down,” Giuliano said. “It was good for us to pick up the intensity and get this win because it will help build up our momentum.”
Wheaton North hosts Lincoln Way North on Tuesday in the Pepsi Showdown.
“It is really nice to see teams who we don’t usually play while running into some old friends from our club teams,” said Giuliano about the upcoming tournaments.
The Rams host Naperville North on Monday in DVC action.