After beating 3rd seeded Metea Valley this past Saturday 2-1, the Scouts have now paved the road to the championship game of the 2017 PepsiCo Showdown. In a very heated and intense match, both teams were held scoreless in the first half. However, the seal was finally broken when freshman Julia Loeger netted her first goal of the season.
Metea Valley answered shortly after with a questionable offsides finish to tie the game at 1-1. The Scouts then responded in the 61st minute as junior Mary Gregg scored the final goal of the game, effectively leading 10th seeded Lake Forest to the championship. The game will be held this Sunday at 3:40 pm at DePaul University where they will face the top seeded North Stars of St. Charles North.
On their way to the championship the Scouts have beaten both the number 2 (Warren) and 3 ( Metea Valley) seeds. Clearly unfazed by their seeding, the girls have only given up one goal this entire tournament. A major key to this success is the back line consisting of Morgan Asmussen (senior), Gwen Walker (senior), Ella Marquart (freshman), and Maggie Mick (sophomore). An odd mix–age wise–has proven to be the perfect combination thus far in their season. However, it will be put to the test as St. Charles North is currently undefeated (8-0-1) and is scoring just over 4 goals per game on average during their first nine contests.
The main focus for the Scouts will be containing the North Stars’ high-powered offense. During the week they will for sure get some more experience as conference play starts up again. On Tuesday the Scouts traveled to Stevenson where they rolled to another shutout victory, beating the Patriots 1-0. The lone goal came from senior Hannah Bell as she rocketed a shot from outside the box into the back netting. Dominating throughout the entire game, the Scouts looked lethal. Thursday, the team is set to square off against Warren for a rematch back in Gurnee. After knocking the Blue Devils out of the PepsiCo Showdown just one week prior, there is no doubt tensions will be high.
Coach Stuckslager’s 4-2-3-1 formation should match up well with the North Stars’ strong-attacking midfield, hopefully suppressing any and all counter movement. The key to the game is to keep the tempo down. Preventing all counter attacks will be crucial in the early stages of the game. Being able to develop the offense from the defense will set up the most control and hopefully the most success for the Scouts.
Whoever draws first blood will have control of the pace of the game, so for the Scouts to have the best chance they must find a way to act rather than react. With the current form Lake Forest is in, it should be an even matchup. With that being said, these two conference games mid-week were great timing. Not only does it keep the focus away from this Sunday, but it helps keep the same rhythm as past weeks. A great mix of in-game and practical experience should help the Scouts preparation tremendously.
PepsiCo Showdown Championship: Sunday April 23rd, 3:40pm Depaul University’s Wish Field