Girls soccer: Benet beats Joliet Catholic, now 11-0
Benet Academy's girls soccer team maintained its perfect record in a 4-1 victory over Joliet Catholic on Monday night.
The Redwings (11-0) defense held firm against an onslaught of JCA attacks from the start of the match.
JCA (8-1-1) had several chances in the first 20 minutes of play with senior midfielder Breanna Ciemny making runs trying to find senior forward Morgan Furmaniak.
But it was Benet who scored first with about 13 minutes left to play in the first half when Anna Casmere found the back of the net to take the 1-0 lead.
The two squads traded penalty kicks with JCA's Furmaniak converting after a handball foul in the Benet keeper's box to tie the match 1-1.
About a minute later, JCA returned the favor with a handball inside its own box which allowed Benet's senior forward Jaimee Cibulka to score on a penalty kick and retake the 2-1 lead.
Benet wasn't finished.
With a little over six minutes left in the first half, a cross from senior forward Anne Warren hit off a JCA defender into the goal. The Redwings went into halftime up 3-1.
A little over five minutes into the second half, Benet cemented its lead when Cibulka stole the ball from the JCA defense, sprinted toward the goal and scored to put her team up 4-1.
Despite the deficit, JCA attackers continued to make chances for themselves, but couldn't finish against the stingy Benet defense.
"I think we had our chances and we were there, but we didn't finish in the final third like we wanted to," Furmaniak said. "But we're going to learn from that, practice it, and keep going."
"We knew number 20 was a very strong player," said Benet defender Brook Pullen. "And we knew we just had to man mark her and hold her up. I think we locked it down pretty well."
Benet's goalkeeper Shannon Clark made several saves to keep JCA from scoring beyond the penalty kick. She praised her defenders for helping her keep the ball out of the net.
"I had a fantastic back line, so I wasn't alone back there," Clark said.
Even though it took Benet a bit to get its offense going, and conceded the first penalty kick, Clark lauded her team's resilience and ability to continue playing regardless of any early mistakes.
"It doesn't get to us," she said. "We put the hard work in and we get back up and we don't let it affect our game."
For JCA's part, Furmaniak conceded Benet came out the stronger squad, but hopes to take lessons forward as they prepare for the playoffs.
"I think we just didn't come out how we wanted to," she said.
Benet will travel to St. Viator on Thursday while JCA will head to take on Nazareth Academy on Wednesday.