It was worth the wait in the season opener and the Stevenson girls soccer team found the game-winning goal late.
Abby Kalou scored the first goal of the season in the final 15 seconds that powered Stevenson past host Buffalo Grove 1-0 on Wednesday afternoon.
The sophomore placed herself toward the back post and connected on a volley kick that was sent by Kalyssa VanZanten off a corner kick.
“I just saw the corner (kick) heading over everyone,” said Kalou, who had 3 goals last year. “It was a set play, our plan was to crash the front post, and my job was to make sure nothing gets out. I saw the ball come down and I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t hit it over (the net). I saw the entire back post was open so I went for it. It was very exciting to get it.”
Stevenson played the game missing two of its starters — senior Purdue-bound Hannah Lapeire and junior Isabella Michael who are out with ACL injuries, but the Patriots played with a lot of composure showing possession and a number of shots on goal.
“Buffalo Grove puts up a good fight with us every year,” Stevenson coach PepeJon Chavez said. “I like the way they’re coached and how they prep their team. I know no matter what they will give us a good tactical matchup. For our girls, we had the better end of play with the lack of execution. That just shows our maturity or the lack thereof. We need to grow to have an emotional stability in all areas of the field, because we’re going to play more physical opponents than BG or getting to play New Trier or Libertyville. I will contest we need to play better in those games and that we need to battle. I’m trying to get our team to take the battle every day and that’s maturity.”
Throughout the match the Patriots had a number of chances with shots on goal or actually off the post and crossbar that was off the foot of VanZanten, Krissy Hill and Gracie Wingfield.
Senior VanZanten is a newcomer with the Patriots this season. She has a sister Brianna who played with the Patriots last season and is now is at Case Western.
VanZanten may be new but sees a lot of positive things with this group playing up top.
“I see a lot of potential and room for improvement,” said VanZanten, who has committed to play at Notre Dame next year. “I’m really satisfied with our goal after a team effort from a broken down play. When I first hit the corner, I thought I miss hit it, but I remembered the play we were running and I was supposed to place it. We still need to learn to play with one another and learn each other’s tendencies. We’ve just had only five to six practices together.”
Buffalo Grove played some strong defense in making it difficult for Stevenson to find good shots in the match, which shows great promise for the Bison starting the season.
Their back line includes Angelina Kalamaris, Bridget Reynolds, Zoe Robertson and Christina Ruterschmidt. Zugey Olvera made 5 stops in goal.
“We do have some key players that got some valuable minutes last year,” Buffalo Grove coach Pat Dudle said. “I thought as a starting point for a first game it was good against a good opponent.
“Hopefully, we keep improving chemistry and build up for conference. We have players back there that have played a ton of minutes, They are great leaders back there and it was a great performance against quality attackers from Stevenson. It was a great goal (for Stevenson) and a great service.”
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