Girls soccer: Hinsdale Central, Oswego East battle the elements, play to scoreless tie
Hinsdale Central and Oswego East battled several unexpected conditions on Saturday afternoon.
Both teams attempted had to muster up the motivation to play a competitive nonconference game on the tail end of spring break, when most of their classmates are spending the weekend in sunshine or relaxing indoors.
Then, during the tense 80-minute game, the shifting weather played a factor -- cold, heavy wind, slight hail and rain and even a short period of sunshine. Maybe it was fitting the game between two highly talented teams was also on April Fools' Day.
In the end, Hinsdale Central and Oswego East finished in a scoreless draw at Dickinson Field in Hinsdale. The Red Devils (2-0-2) have played a light schedule in the first few weeks of the season compared to many area teams but managed to pull together two practices before Saturday's game after a week off to put together a solid effort. A year ago, on April 2, Oswego East rolled to a 4-0 win over Hinsdale Central.
On Saturday, the Red Devils were the aggressor, sending a wave of shots and controlling possession that tested Oswego East's back line. The Red Devils have recorded a shutout in three of their four games this season.
"We haven't played since Waubonsie Valley 12 days ago and we gave them off from Thursday to Thursday and had just two practices and worked on team-building these last two days," Hinsdale Central coach Tony Madonia said. "Oswego East is a very good team and will always give us a game. We want to see where we're at and to prepare for the rest of the season. Oswego East is a great team. It was probably a fun game to watch, even at zero-to-zero.
"Obviously, we made an improvement from last season against them. Defensively, we were really, really tight and it was hard to break us down. We've only allowed three goals. We played well defensively. That was a highlight."
Oswego East senior goalie Sam McPhee had a busy day in the net, which helped her handle the dramatic weather shifts throughout the game. McPhee, a captain who sparked the Wolves to a stellar showing last season, finished with eight saves. McPhee had several hard tumbles to the ground in the physical game, including suffering a hard hit near the post that left her on the ground for a few seconds with just under 10 minutes left in regulation.
But McPhee showed grit and resolve batting the aggressive Red Devils' attack to keep them scoreless.
"We worked really well together back there and stayed compacted and trusted each other," McPhee said. "We kept our composure. The weather didn't affect us. We played hard. We wished we would've come out with a win, though."
The Wolves (4-1-1) failed to score a goal for the second time this season but have outscored their opponents 25-1 this season. They closed out a busy spring break with three shutouts, including a 12-0 win over Joliet Central and a 4-0 triumph against Joliet West.
"We were just having problems connecting over the middle and tracking their players and just with our communication aspect," Oswego East coach Juan Leal said. "We stopped them a couple of times here and there, but Hinsdale Central was penetrating well. We were a couple of steps behind, a little more reactionary. In the second half, we made a couple adjustments."
Hinsdale Central freshman goalie Katherine Skinner racked up four saves to add to her impressive opening season. Sophomore midfielder Peyton Rohn said the Red Devils were motivated to atone for last season's debut to the Wolves.
"This game was a lot different than last year, when they came in and played amazingly," Rohn said. "Today, we stepped up our game and worked together and really were strong. We communicated a lot and had a lot of possession and opportunities and worked well together."