Girls soccer: Cibulka, Benet down Carmel to make it 9 straight
Benet's Jaimee Cibulka earned a rare early exit in Wednesday's game against Carmel.
After scoring 2 first-half goals in less than a 2-minute span, Cibulka cherished leaving the field in the 52nd minute.
Cibulka strolled off the grass field, reached the bench area and asked Benet coach Gerald Oconer one simple question: "Am I done?"
Yes, she was finished for the game, but despite a 2-goal performance that sparked the Redwings to a 5-1 girls soccer victory, Cibulka heard someone from the Benet sidelines bark a stern warning to her: "Don't eat the donuts."
Cibulka, a Loyola recruit, joked she was happy for the short outing, especially since the East Suburban Catholic Conference matchup started 30 minutes later than the scheduled time.
"It's always great to put games away early," Cibulka said, smiling. "We certainly had a long warmup today, but we stayed focused and were able to get the job done. It was kind of nice (leaving the game early)."
Behind Cibulka's pair of first-half goals, the Redwings (9-0, 3-0) remained on track for an epic showdown against undefeated Joliet Catholic on May 17.
Brooke Pullen added a header late in the first half, and Rachel Burns and Katie Lewellyan tallied goals in the second half for Benet. Sophomore goalie Shannon Clark finished with 5 saves to record her fourth shutout this season.
The Redwings, who have scored 33 goals in their last six games, kept Carmel (25 goals this season) scoreless until freshman Anna Hartman found the back of the net in the 73rd minute.
"We're taking it one game at a time," Cibulka said. "It's always good to put some goals in the back of the net and be able to connect and get a lot of different people on the field. We're using every game, even today, to try and improve."
Oconer said Cibulka, a starter on the 2019 Class 2A state champion team, developed into an elite scorer.
"When (Cibulka) came in as a sophomore, we had a lot of older and experienced players, so she was more of a setup person for us," he said. "That's why she led our team in assists. She really set up a lot of our goal scorers. Over the last couple of years, she's developed that goal-scoring mentality. When she gets the ball in the attacking third, she's looking to score not pass. She's one of those difference-makers in high school who makes all the difference.
"If you have one of those, and surround her with really good talent, that's what happens and why we keep winning games."
Carmel (4-4-3, 0-2-1) trailed 5-0 before Hartman, while nursing an injured ankle, tapped in a short shot for a goal.
"We always want to keep pushing even when we're down," Hartman said. "We had to score. That's our mentality."