ST. CHARLES – St. Charles East girls soccer coach Paul Jennison got the positive response he was hoping for on Saturday afternoon from his team after a disappointing loss less than 24 hours earlier.
Not only did East blank Kaneland, 3-0, in a non-conference match, the Saints almost doubled the number of goals the Knights allowed all season. Going into Saturday’s game, Kaneland gave up a total of four goals in 15 previous matches.
The Saints were coming off a frustrating conference loss Friday night against Geneva.
“It’s huge,” East coach Paul Jennison said of Saturday's bounce-back. “I’m very happy that they bounced back from yesterday’s game. Definitely a good test to come back with.”
Kaneland coach Scott Parillo – whose Knights (13-2-1) lost for the first time since their season opener – agreed.
“They could have had their hangover and just folded. But they didn’t," Parillo said. “That’s a testament to [Jennision] and his girls.”
On Friday, a loss to Geneva denied the Saints (13-4-2) a share of the Upstate Eight Conference River title.
“They almost matched today what we have given up all season, that’s the disappointing part from my standpoint.” Parillo said. “We’ve only given up four goals all year. One was a penalty kick and two were in the first game [of the season]. Then we give up three today.”
Jennison was also pleased with how his team scored its goals.
“The big difference [today] is the goals that we put in. That’s been our Achilles heel all season - shooting on target,” Jennison said. “We’ve tried to play the pretty stuff all year but frankly, in front of the goal, we need more accurate shots. Today we got three nice finishes.”
The Saints got on the board two minutes into the first half on a Kelli Santo Paulo kick that went over Kaneland goalkeeper Emily Chapman’s outstretched hands into the net.
“It's way better to come out and score first,” Santo Paulo said. “It got us more motivated and our heads up instead of down. It helped us to move forward and play better.”
East scored its next goal at the 28:30 mark of the second half. Chapman (eight saves) deflected a shot right to Saints forward Rion Gaffney. The senior booted the ball in from the left side of the goal.
Santo Paulo ended the scoring with her second goal of the day five minutes later. After a cross from Sophie Jendrzeczyk, Santo Paulo knocked the ball in.
Most the action took place on Kaneland’s side of the pitch.
“They were able to connect on passes better than we were. The girls were right on top of us,” Parillo said. “We tried to match their intensity. I thought we did much better in the second half.”
"I’m proud of my girls," Parillo added. "The fought. They didn’t give up. Most of them are freshmen and sophomores. It bodes well for the future but not today against a team that came out with a mission."