Another day, another three big points for Prospect.
The Lady Knights stayed at the top of the MSL East Division after Tuesday afternoon’s 2-0 win over hosts Rolling Meadows at Robert Hoese Field.
The win now puts Tom Froats’ club six points clear of second-placed Hersey. Another three-point result on Wednesday against Hoffman Estates will give the Lady Knights (12-3-1, 6-2-1) their first trip to the MSL Soccer Cup since 2002.
“We didn’t play the best football. (Part of) that was thanks to Rolling Meadows, who have some very talented players, but we got what we came here for and that was another three points to help us get closer to the division championship,” said Froats .
“Prospect is athletic, has depth and players like the No. 23 (Kayley Bouzas) who has a real physical presence down the middle and the No. 2 Jillian Sawadski, who let us know with their speed and ability to push their attack, really hurt,” said Mustangs coach Mike Drenth.
“Rolling Meadows had a lot of possession in the first half, even upwind, and we didn’t come out and we didn’t come out and we didn’t play like we should have,” Sawadski said.
“(We) talked at half-time about coming out with more urgency and energy and we did that to control the game and get another important three points.”
While the home side would enjoy a higher percentage of possession, thanks in part to Vanessa Campos, Chiara Divito, Michaela Jackman, Vanessa Adan and others, it was the Lady Knights who would carve out more scoring chances.
The aforementioned Kaylez Bouzas had a handful of those chances – her best came early when she was given enough time and space to serve up her 30-yard cracker that forced goalkeeper Caroline Ciccone to turn the post.
Sadawski, a junior, was at the heart of several counters that would unleash the visitors. She used speed, pace and a bit of trickery to unlock the Mustangs on her own end before finding teammates Abby Knott, Hannah Mekky, Maggie Rosenberg and Kayley Bouzas, who Froats pushed up front after the break.
“Jillian did a great job for us the whole time and when we got Kayley up front in the second half that helped create more for us in the last third,” said Froats.
With the match looking set to go into the break scoreless, Julia Valentini fired her shot from 35 meters into the top right corner in the 36th minute.
“We were hoping to keep them off the scoreboard in the first half (then) to come out with the wind in our favor after the break to maybe score a goal or two. But we came out flat and Prospect had too much in for us. The early ones will take control,” said Drenth.
Sawadski smashed two challengers into the box where she was dragged to the ground and set up a PK attempt for Natalie Bouzas, who calmly deflected her free-kick into the back net to double the advantage after 45 minutes.
“We’re not going to flip out but this win today helps put us in very good shape in our quest to win the MSL East,” said Froats.
“We’re so much better than a year ago but we just can’t find a way to score lately and that was our downfall,” said Drenth, whose club are now 3-6 without scoring for six games -3 has fallen behind, 2-5-2.
Lily Barich has been a solid backbone for the Lady Knights, who have now kept their last six opponents out of the net.