Coming off a three-week layoff, the Shattuck-St. Mary’s U-16 girls were chomping at the bit to get themselves back into the competitive swing. There was no better time for that to happen than during Fall Family Weekend on the SSM campus, which coincided with two big Midwest Regional Games that same weekend.
Playing in unseasonably warm weather and a fierce crosswind for most of Saturday morning, the Sabres took on FC United from the Chicago area in their first game of the weekend. In only the 12th minute, Halie Reznik had Shattuck on the board, chipping the goalkeeper after some nice pressure applied by the Sabres’ attacking players in the opposition’s defensive third. Just over ten minutes after that, the Sabres did well to head from danger a deep service off a set piece that FC United had put into the area, a play that sprung Anna Kuhl free with plenty of space to move forward. After committing a defender and playing a well-timed pass to a streaking Hannah Melchiorre who finished with a laser beam of a strike, Shattuck had a two-goal lead. Not taking their foot off the gas however, Shattuck scored one more before halftime with a fine Ashley Kemmet finish giving the Sabres a 3-0 lead at the half. The goals for Reznik, Melchiorre, and Kemmet each marked their second of the season in U-16 MRL play.
The second half saw more good soccer from the Sabres, dominating possession and tiring out the FC United forwards with quick, accurate ball movement from the Shattuck back line of Leizl Chavez, Carissa Seying, Alex Skinner, Patricia Wentworth, and Hunter Zamzow. A 56th minute Catherine Seying goal, also her second of the MRL season, made the score 4-0 and effectively put the game out of reach. Despite a late FC United goal from a well-taken free kick in a dangerous area, the Sabres earned all three points en route to a 4-1 victory.
Sunday’s clash saw Shattuck up against the Milwaukee Bavarians in another unseasonably warm mid-October morning game. Despite a sluggish start and a more even game in terms of possession than what the Sabres had in their Saturday game, the first half looked to end in a 0-0 tie. In the last minute of the first half though, Nina LeFlore was able to free herself up deep along the right flank, and Reznik met her cross with a convincing one-touch finish for a 1-0 halftime advantage. “It was great to get that goal at the end of the first half,” said U-16 head coach Sue Vodicka. “While our opponent did little to truly threaten our goal, it gave us a bit of a psychological boost heading into halftime….a real momentum builder. We knew we had to change a couple things up in the second half to raise our level of play, but 1-0 always looks better at halftime than 0-0.”
In the second half, the Sabres committed an extra player deeper into midfield to give them more options to change the point of attack. The combination of Emma Clark, Frankie Blevins, and Ingrid Engelhardt were able to do just that, and the Sabres finished the weekend on a high note with a much more balanced, impactful half of soccer. In the 57th minute, Ana Ginez muscled her way through two defenders along the left sideline, served a ball in toward Alyssa Hendricks who created enough separation for herself in front of goal to bend a curling effort far post and past a diving Bavarians goalkeeper. The U16s earned themselves a 2-0 victory, finishing the weekend with six goals scored by five different players. The Shattuck goalkeeping duo of Katie Commins and Dana Grieme combined their efforts on the weekend, earning themselves a shutout in Sunday’s game and conceding only one goal over the weekend’s 160 minutes of action.
The U-16s will host the Minnesota Thunder Academy ECNL girls this coming Wednesday, October 14 at 7:00pm in the dome before taking next weekend off. “The girls will hopefully take advantage of this coming weekend,” said Vodicka, as it will be our last weekend off until Fall Break.” Following this off weekend, the U16s have a friendly the following weekend at home before heading to Missouri at the end of the month for the St. Louis Scott Gallagher Fall Classic & Girls Showcase.