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Nicole Janowiak's hat trick lifts Downers Grove south soccer

Mustangs quickly put first loss behind them with solid 5-2 win over Lincoln-Way Central.

DOWNERS GROVE — Downers Grove South's girls soccer team suffered its first loss of the season Wednesday night.

But after falling to St. Charles North 2-0, the Mustangs quickly put the loss behind them with a 5-2 win over Lincoln-Way Central Thursday night.

"We came off a loss from last night and we knew we had to work on possession a lot because that was our weakness (against St. Charles North)," senior midfielder Nicole Janowiak said. "That was our main focus in the game and I think we did really well connecting, possessing and getting it up to the forwards."

Janowiak took advantage of the Mustangs' (4-1) ability to control the ball, build the attack and push to the net. She scored the first of her three goals on Stephanie Zurales' assist early in the first half, and Zurales added a goal with 15 minutes left before halftime to make it a 2-0 game at the break.

Perhaps as impressive as South's ability to possess the ball was the way it responded to Lincoln-Way Central scores. When the Knights cut the deficit to 2-1 less than nine minutes into the second half, Janowiak ran onto a through ball and poked it home 35 seconds later to make it 3-1.

Janowiak back-heeled Brittany Dietz's corner kick into the net in the 16th minute for a 4-1 lead, and when the Knights cut it to 4-2 with 12:22 to play, Autumn Rasmussen answered 25 seconds later to push South's lead to 5-2.

"We allowed ourselves to think about (losing to St. Charles North) a little bit, but our goal was to come back and be better today, and we did that," South head coach Abby Anderson said. "Our finishing, our patience with possession was better. Our ability to possess a little bit more — possession, possession, building the attack and finishing when we get in there."

The Mustangs will host Neuqua Valley at 2 p.m. Saturday and open West Suburban Gold conference play against visiting Willowbrook at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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