East split a pair of games on Tuesday at St. Francis’ Springfest Classic in Schaumburg and now has a 3-1-1 record.
The Rams lost to Benet 2-1 in the morning, but bounced back with an afternoon win over Maine West. Captains Alex Ruffer and Jess DeJong each scored a goal in the 2-0 victory over the Warriors. Both games were played with 30-minute halves.
Ruffer and DeJong, who scored the lone Rams’ goal in the loss to Benet, are two of just four returners for East. The newcomers have added talent and speed to the squad while the early learning curve hasn’t been as steep as expected.
“They’re way more mature than where they should be for their experience so we’re really excited about that,” said coach Kent Overbey. “Especially for how limited we’ve been in practice I definitely think we’re way ahead for how inexperienced we are.”
Jordyn Fulton, one of the sophomores, assisted Ruffer’s opening goal against Maine West. Maria Berrum has been a key to the backline and freshman Brittany Paganucci already has two goals on the season.
“They have a lot of skills,” said DeJong, a senior, said of East’s younger players. “It’s nice playing with them. We have good outside mids now. They have speed, that’s something we didn’t have last year on the outside.”
Juniors Taylor Hallcox and Kelly Ravenscraft drew compliments from Overbey for their play in the back. Senior goalkeeper Veronica Fairbairn, an all-conference and all-sectional pick last year, has helped organize the defense.
The loss to Benet was a disappointment for the Rams, but getting a game against quality opposition was essential with the DuPage Valley Conference opener against Naperville Central looming on April 2.
“That was a good tester for us,” DeJong said. “A lot of them are inexperienced in the DVC so that was a good I guess you could say awakening for them to prepare them for it. Their first real test for it.”
The Rams have two more matches before meeting Central. They play their home opener Friday against Jacobs and will visit Fenton on Saturday at noon.