Redskins’ offense takes charge against Foxes

MORRIS – For host Morris girls soccer, Tuesday’s battle with Yorkville carried much more weight than a typical match, even one in the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference East, would carry.

It was senior night, and the six Morris players who are part of the Class of 2014 were honored beforehand and inserted into the starting lineup. It was also a match in which both teams were seeking revenge of sorts. Yorkville lost to Morris in a Class 2A regional final in 2013, and Yorkville defeated the Redskins earlier this season, with both results by a margin of one goal.

“We were missing a bunch of our starters due to vacations and strep throat,” Morris coach Kristen Porter said of the Redskins’ earlier loss to the Foxes before Tuesday’s match. “This was the game, when everything started to spiral out of control with the sickness on our team. Strep throat ran through the team. We lost, 1-0. We had a bunch of shots off the crossbars, but we couldn’t get a goal. Tonight, we really need to make a statement.”

Consider the statement made. Morris defeated the Foxes, 4-1, in what might very well prove to be a preview of a regional championship match 18 days later in Morris.

Sustained Morris offensive pressure was the story of the first four minutes. Two offsides calls thwarted potential breakaways, and senior Ciara Gallo put a shot on goal, before junior Katherine Gallick broke free of the defense and kicked the ball past Yorkville keeper Sigrid Piszczek at 36:04 of the first half.

Senior Kirsten Galloway ended a two-way offensive drought when she single-handedly produced the second Morris goal at in the 22nd minute. She stole the ball in the middle of the field, barreled through two Yorkville defenders and left-footed it into the upper-right corner.

Gallo appeared to make it, 3-0, at 7:36 of the first half when she knocked in a rebound, after Piszczek had made an initial save, but no goal was ruled. A leaping Piszczek save was required when Gallo got 1-on-1 with a defender and fired three minutes later, but it remained a two-goal match at halftime.

Sarah Megazzini got Yorkville on the board on a free kick in the 60th minute. Less than a minute later, Yorkville’s Aspen Bialek had a steal several feet directly in front of the Morris goal, but her shot sailed over the net.

After one golden Morris chance failed to produce a goal, junior Emily Burling gave the Redskins an insurance goal at 15:02 of the second half after taking a Gallo pass and grounding it past Piszczek. Sophomore Amanda Grant made it, 4-1, at 10:06 when she knocked the ball away from Piszczek, who had played it aggressively, and chipped it into the empty net.

Sophomore Maren Bashor was the winning keeper.