On a cold, blustery and wet day, the Fenwick girls soccer team succumbed to the conditions and to rival Oak Park in a 3-1 loss during consolation action of the 32-team Pepsi Showdown.
“It was a tough game the first 30 minutes,” said Oak Park coach Paul Wright, whose school hosted the game and the tournament. “It was going back and forth, and both teams had quality chances.
“This helps us a lot for our seeding meeting (on Wednesday night). It would have been nice to have better weather, because more fans would have probably come out. Nevertheless, this was a big win for us.”
Casey Blaha hammered home a Sarah McCall cross with 10 minutes to play in the first half to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead. Emily Gullo extended that cushion early in the second half, and Oak Park earned its third goal of the game thanks to an own goal by Fenwick with less than five minutes remaining.
Morgan Gallagher had the lone goal for Fenwick.
“Oak Park earned the victory on Saturday, and I applaud their girls for it,” Fenwick coach Chris Richter said. “We let them win too many 50-50 balls in the first half and ultimately one broke down for a back-post goal.
“In their limited chances to finish, they capitalized. Morgan Gallagher kept the game interesting, and we found a solid core that was committed to winning those 50-50 balls in the second half. We had an unlucky ricochet that turned into an own goal to end our rally, but I was happy with the second half.”
The weather conditions on Saturday were similar to what teams have had to deal with this spring.
“The weather has been hard, because there have not been back-to-back good days all season,” Wright said. “The weather has been brutally cold, windy and rainy.
“Last year at this time it was 70 degrees. The plus is that we have turf, and we can get out there and run around while other schools more than likely can not tear up their grass fields.”
Wright’s squad, who will battle Trinity tomorrow, is hoping to earn a top four seed at tonight’s Class AA sectional seeding meeting.
“I think we are a solid No. 2 or No. 3 seed with Downers South getting the No. 1 slot,” Wright said.
Fenwick will battle state-power Maine South on Thursday.
“We’ve taken some losses that we shouldn’t have in our non-conference tournament schedule,” Richter said. “We took care of business against sectional opponents like Morton and Nazareth.
“I think we’re going to be seeded outside of that top four in our sectional, but ahead of the rest of the pack. We also have 10 girls who have 30 days of varsity experience at this point and they’ll double that by the time regionals kickoff.”