ELMHURST – After a regular season beset by injuries, York’s girls soccer team put that all behind them in the playoff opener.
The Dukes scored early and often in a dominant 7-0 win May 17 against Proviso West in the Class 3A York regional semifinal game.
“We’ve just been applying a lot of the things we’ve been working on in practice,” York sophomore keeper Kathleen Levins said. “Creating better angles for ourselves, keeping the ball down and making that [extra] pass instead of taking a bad shot. Definitely a lot of application from practice these last four or five games that we hadn’t done too well before. That’s helpful.”
The Dukes (12-8) were in control at both ends of the field.
They put 12 shots on net plus an additional three that just missed the mark, and held the Panthers to one shot on target – a shot from distance on a free kick that was handled by freshman keeper Isabella Gratzianna, who came on in relief of Levins early in the second half and shared the shutout with her.
Maggie Bleyer ignited the offense with two goals in the first eight minutes, and it was 3-0 less than 14 minutes in when Jenna Dvorak, who assisted on Bleyer’s second goal, headed in Gabriela Uribe’s corner kick.
Uribe rocketed home a shot from distance with 13:01 left in the first half, and Olivia Pechous made it 5-0 when she got the last touch on Morgan McCarthy’s corner kick 6:42 before intermission.
“I’m very pleased with the girls. We’ve been working on some things, and we’re finally getting healthy as well,” York coach Don Vana said. “We had an in-depth bench, which was nice, and the girls did some of the things we’ve been asking of them and we’ve been working on. Overall you can’t be anything but pleased.
“The girls are coming along. We’re happy with what we’re doing and where we’re going.”
While the offense shined, so too did the defense, which rarely allowed Proviso West to sniff the penalty area on offense and often stopped the Panthers’ runs near midfield.
McCarthy and Brianna Suchy notched second-half goals.
From her perspective in net, Levins liked what she saw from her team as it prepares to face Fenwick in the regional final.
“I have a lot of confidence. I feel like our defense was really strong in the beginning [of the season] and still is, and our offense is getting used to things,” Levins said. “With all of our injuries we had to move some people around and I think now the offense is picking it up, so hopefully we can put it together.
“I’m pretty confident going into [the regional final]. I think we have a great shot as long as all of us are ready to play.”
IF YOU GO
Who: York vs Fenwick
What: Class 3A York regional championship game
When: 5 p.m. May 19
Where: Clarence D. East Field, 355 E. St. Charles Road, Elmhurst