Girls soccer: Morton's quick start sinks Willowbrook
Morton's Carisma Rosales and Esmerelda Bautista can put together a novel attack when they are on the same page.
It can end up being a real thriller, or a horror story, depending on your perspective.
It was the latter for Willowbrook goalkeeper Maddie Aderholt and her teammates on Thursday night.
Aderholt did everything she could to keep the Warriors in the game, making eight saves, but it wasn't enough as Rosales and Bautista combined for four goals and three assists to lead Morton to a 5-0 West Suburban Conference Gold Division victory.
"Those two had some connection I've never seen like that," Aderholt said. "Those players just worked like magic."
Indeed, Rosales, a sophomore forward, scored three goals and an assist. It was her third career hat trick but first this year. Bautista, a senior midfielder, added a goal and two assists, both of which came on Rosales goals.
"Some games they do connect, some games they don't," Morton coach Jim Bageanis said. "Today they were on and that was very good."
Morton (8-3, 1-0) was good from the start, putting Willowbrook (6-3, 1-1) in an early hole.
Aderholt made a great diving save on Aaliyah Leanos' one-timer from 10 yards out with 33:57 left in the first half, but the Mustangs kept coming, repeatedly using precision passes to break through the Warriors' defense.
Just 31 seconds after being denied by Aderholt, Leonas took a long lead pass from Andrea Aguirre, broke free into the box and tucked a shot inside the left post.
Bautista made it 2-0 only 28 seconds after that, scoring on a breakaway off a pass from Rosales.
"We wanted to come out hard as a team and work together," Rosales said. "I think once we work all together and we don't give up on the game, we're good as a team on and off the field."
Rosales increased the lead to 3-0 at the 17:59 mark with a great individual effort. She got the ball in the middle of the field about 40 yards from Willowbrook's net and raced forward through two still challenges from defenders and slotted a shot past the charging Aderholt.
Rosales added two more goals in the second half, both off assists from Bautista.
"She has good skills," Bautista said of Rosales. "She takes the balls down the line, she crosses them good and she finishes good."
Bageanis was happy about that because he was expecting a tight game.
"It being the first conference game of the year, we wanted to come out and make a statement and just set the tone for the rest of the season in conference," Bageanis said. "I think the girls came out in the first 15 minutes and played really well."
Willowbrook has been playing well but has lost two of its last three games by 5-0 margins. The Warriors have outscored their opponents 23-4 in going 6-1 in the other seven games.
"I'm hoping that we find our range because we've had some good wins so far and we have two 5-0 losses," Aderholt said. "We've got to find what's going wrong in these games and try to make them a 1-0 loss or a 1-0 win. I think we're better and we have a lot more potential than that."