Wheaton North attack finds its rhythm to beat South Elgin

 
 
Updated 5/18/2022 10:21 PM

Having scored just one goal in its last six matches, Wheaton North's girls soccer team put aside its offensive frustrations for 40 minutes on Wednesday night.

Junior forward Macy Hutchinson scored a pair of first-half goals, while senior forward Olivia Moreno added another off a picture-perfect feed from Maddie DelAlcazar as the Falcons (9-9) jumped out to a 3-0 halftime lead over South Elgin (6-9-4) during their Class 3A regional semifinal match at Jim Rexilius Field in Wheaton.

 

Nearly five minutes into the second half, senior Rowan Smith found the back of the net off a centering pass from freshman Talia Kaempf, and the seventh-seeded Falcons eventually cruised to a 4-0 triumph.

"It was one of our most complete games," said Falcons coach Tim McEvilly. "We just haven't been able to string that last pass together for a couple weeks. We played tight games with (Wheaton Warrenville) South, Geneva and St. Charles North.

"We've been playing quality competition, but the kids were focused tonight. We were really organized in the back and composed getting the ball forward."

Five minutes after Hutchinson fed Kaempf for a shot that was turned away by Storm goalkeeper Karissa Cruz, Kaempf returned the favor, setting up Hutchinson for the game's first goal with 26:13 left in the opening half.

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"We've been working a lot on taking the ball in and crossing it in practice, so it was really good to see it translate on the field," Hutchinson said. "I was so glad to have a nice little finish."

Nine minutes later, senior midfielder Claudia Kim was tripped in the box, and Hutchinson delivered a right-footed penalty kick into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.

"Macy's PK finish was very composed and confident," McEvilly said.

The Falcons' 3-0 halftime advantage was just what McEvilly was looking for.

"It has been difficult for us to put the throttle down all the way," the coach said. "When you've got a chance, you've got to bury somebody."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Falcons did just that, adding their fourth goal early in the second half, and sophomore keepers Zoey Bohmer and Olivia Iberle combined for the team's eighth shutout.

"We talked at halftime about starting strong in the second half," said McEvilly, whose team will face second-seeded St. Charles East in Friday's 5 p.m. regional final.

The Saints defeated Wheaton North 4-0 on May 12.

"You're always going to be challenged playing St. Charles East," McEvilly said. "They're dangerous all of the time. My kids will be up for the challenge."

South Elgin loses eight seniors to graduation -- Mallory Stueck, Katrina Barthelt, Liliana Ernandez, Chloe Beucler, Madeline Meiner, Emily Delamora, Alexia Benitez and Norak Stueck.

"We've been fighting adversity all year," said Storm coach Laura Szwaja. "We had four starters out injured today. One of them (freshman Ashley Gonzalez) was at home after her ACL surgery today.

"COVID stole a lot from this group. I feel badly for them because they didn't get what they deserve out of high school soccer through no fault of their own."

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