The Shattuck-St. Mary’s U16 Girls went away to St. Louis, MO this past weekend to play in front of college coaches at the SLSG Fall Classic & College Showcase, an event that annually draws many of the Midwest’s top clubs and college coaches.
Playing in their away Maroon colors for the first time in over a month, the Sabres came roaring out of the gates on Friday night with a six-goal outburst against their first opponent, Sporting St. Louis. In just the second minute of the game, sophomore Hannah Melchiorre took a pass from Anna Kuhl and finished from close range to make the score 1-0. Kuhl would find Halie Reznik just over 10 minutes later with a ball played in to her feet. Reznik took the pass, cut inside her defender, and tucked the ball just inside the far post for a two-goal lead. Keeping up her recent run of goal scoring, Nina LeFlore got herself on the score sheet in the 24th minute. The freshman lost her defender down the left sideline, drifted inside, and put a perfect one-touch finish to a well-placed Alyssa Hendricks pass. Rounding out the first half goal-scoring party, LeFlore got her second in the 35th minute, this time collecting the ball herself and streaking down the same left sideline and past her defender before slamming another effort far-post past a diving Sporting goalkeeper. The second half was a more evenly played one, but the damage had already been done. After Sporting STL found their way into the game with an early second-half goal, Reznik grabbed her second of the game, muscling her way through two defenders before finishing with a powerful strike from distance. Reznik completed her first hat-trick as a Sabre in minute 61 with the assist going to Melchiorre. While the goal and assist went to the aforementioned Reznik-Melchiorre duo, the team worked the ball all the way from central defender Carissa Seying on in to Reznik’s finish with a 12-pass combination that was truly a team goal. A late Sporting penalty gave them a measure of resolve, but the 6-2 final score line left no doubt as to the game’s winner.
Saturday, Mother Nature decided to get in on the fun, as the weather made for a wet, sloppy game that was played on a deep-sitting grass field. The conditions made it hard for the 16s to play “the Shattuck way”, and Windy City Pride found themselves 1-0 up on the Sabres after a defensive miscommunication allowed their forward a clear path to goal. The miscue fired Shattuck up however, and Reznik found the back of the net yet again to equalize 1-1. As more rain pelted the field and conditions continued to worsen, both teams found any real combination play or sustained possession difficult to come by. Windy City scored again against the run of play, but Reznik equalized for a second time…her fifth goal on the weekend. Just when it looked as though the game would end in a draw, Shattuck earned a corner kick with about two minutes to play. Patricia Wentworth rose highest from the service, and nodded home her first goal of the season to give the Sabres their second victory in as many days.
Sunday’s game had to be moved due to excessive rainfall the previous day, and the Sabres found themselves playing the Madison 56ers on an old turf field that played extremely fast and saw the ball bounce much higher than usual. Playing their third game in three days on a fast field, the Sabres fought to adjust in the opening minutes. Despite good movement in midfield and an advantage in shots on goal, the halftime score remained tied 0-0. In the second half, Shattuck brought out more of their trademark fast, purpose-based attack, but the product in the final third of the field still went missing. Three good second half chances were thwarted by either good Madison goalkeeping or a slight miscue in timing. Despite once again playing the better, possession-based game and creating more scoring opportunities, the 16s found themselves on the wrong end of a 1-0 game to end the weekend.
“It was good to play a game like we had Sunday,” said coach Sue Vodicka. “Their more direct, physical style of play is something that we’ll see again, both in future showcases and certainly during State Cup, so it was good for the girls to experience that this weekend. Overall, this was a good litmus test to see where we are at as we near Fall Break and begin our final month’s prep for the CASL Showcase.”
There is little time for rest for the 16s, as they take to the road again next weekend. They will travel to Brookfield, WI for their final two Midwest Regional League games of the fall season. The following weekend they will play host to Minnesota Thunder Academy and Minneapolis United as a part of the Fall Friendlies weekend.