After a hard fought overtime loss to Plainfield South on Saturday, April 20th, the Oswego East girls’ varsity soccer team (2-3) took on Plainfield North High School the following Monday the 22nd (6-0), losing 1-0 and continuing the Lady Wolves’ losing streak.
The Wolves started the game off with great combination passing and nonstop attack, pinning the Tigers in their defensive third for the opening 15 minutes. The Wolves were dominating with and without the ball as North was struggling to just get out of their own half.
East hit the Tigers with three quality shots in the span of five minutes, really opening up their chances, two of which coming from sophomore defender Alex McPhee, who recently verbally committed to play soccer at Ball State. Alex was pushed higher up the field this game due to the loss of junior midfielder Haley Lewis who was out with an ankle injury.
Shortly after the Wolves’ everlasting attack, all it took for the Tigers was one lucky punt and minor miscommunication between Oswego East’s two center backs as number 24 Lindsey Dasocko capitalized on a one on one breakaway, putting the Tigers up 1-0.
“We knew going into the game that 24 would be fast, so we wanted to make sure she couldn’t get the ball at her feet or on a through ball,” senior defender Katie Olivas said.
After the goal, East kept pushing, looking for the equalizer but just could not put the ball in the back of the net. The Wolves out shot North 6-2, dominating on offense in the first half.
The Wolves’ midfield was a big part in so much that they were winning every ball in the air and keeping the Plainfield North defenders on the back foot with their high pressure.
“We were winning all the 50/50 balls, being aggressive, and really connecting to feet, making sure our passes were accurate with good pace,” junior midfielder Maddy Frazer said.
Going into the second half, there wasn’t much for the Wolves to change as they rolled out the same lineup as they did at the start of the game, just looking for the goal that would bring this game back to even.
“We had possession and out played them all game,” freshman midfielder Taylor English said. “We just couldn’t finish our chances.”
The Tigers were just barely hanging on as their second half game plan coming straight from the whistle was just to defend that 1-0 lead.
The dominating pressure and lack of ability to put the ball in the back of the net just continued for the Wolves as Plainfield North’s goalkeeper Ashley Clarke was making save after save to prevent the game-tying goal. Senior forward and East student athlete of the week Sydney Conway said that it just wasn’t their day taking four shots, two of which were on frame and forced a save out of Plainfield Norths goalkeeper.
“I just feel like we weren’t converting in the final third and North had a few shots but was able to put the ball in the net,” Conway added. “We did everything we could passing and movement-wise. We just fell short. It was one of those days.”
The lack of ability to finish their chances has been a recurring theme for the Wolves over the last couple of games as this was the team’s fourth straight loss.
“We need to work on set plays and finishing to help regain our confidence after these last couple of games,” Conway continued.
Whether or not there was a struggle to finish out the offense, Assistant Coach Sean Kelleher said that there just wasn’t an effort to close out the game in the final minutes.
“It just seems like nobody knows what it means to give it your all in the last five minutes of a game … We outshot them 14 to 5 and just couldn’t capitalize,” Keller added. “It starts in practice. Practice should be more important than any game.”
The girls are looking to bounce back from the last couple of losses and that begins in practice and working on what needs to be fixed before the next game. Head Coach Juan Leal said that that’s where it starts.
“The mistakes we make in practice and fail to correct are the same mistakes we’re making in games,” Leal said.
The Lady Wolves’ next game is a non-conference game on Thursday, April 25th, at Geneva High School where they will play Hinsdale Central at 7 p.m.
Zachary Lass is a sports writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl