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Vikings' Postseason Comes To An End

Posted Saturday, May 30, 2009 by Paul Johnson
By Paul Johnson - Beacon Newspaper

STREAMWOOD -- Coming into the season, with a new coach in charge and a roster depleted by graduation, not much was expected of Geneva's girls soccer team.

But the Vikings put together a stirring postseason run, a run that came to an end Friday in the Class 3A Bartlett Sectional final. Geneva, who hadn't allowed a goal in postseason play, allowed one to second-seeded Conant 1:19 into the game and wound up losing 1-0.

The Vikings finish the season 11-8-3. Conant advances to play in the Barrington Supersectional with a state tournament berth on the line Tuesday.

"We were looked at as underdogs all season," Geneva senior Emily Hinchman said. "It just means a lot to me that our team stepped up. I know early in the season we didn't really get the results that we were looking for, but I think we showed everyone that we are a really strong soccer program and that Geneva soccer isn't going anywhere."

After holding South Elgin, St. Charles East and St. Charles North scoreless to reach the sectional final, Conant (18-1-4) stunned the Vikings by getting on the board at the start. A cross from Brenna Fitzpatrick was punched in by Alyssa Stylski and Conant forced the Vikings into unfamiliar territory -- playing from behind in a postseason game.

"I think some of it might have had to do with nerves," Hinchman said. "We haven't advanced this far lately, so we were all really excited to be there. I know we were really confident stepping onto the field, but that may have hurt us a little in the beginning. Beating a strong team like North will give you confidence. I think we were too loose on our marks. We just had to tighten up our marks."

Things got even more difficult for Geneva when sweeper Stephanie Davison was involved in a nasty collision and had to leave the game. That forced the Vikings to move speedy forward Demi Miller back to defense and put other players in new positions.

"Losing Stephanie is a big loss, but Demi stepped up and had a great game," Geneva coach Megan Owens said. "They didn't really put much pressure on us in the second half."

Geneva never did manage a shot on goal, but it had some solid chances late in the second half. With 15:52 left, Hinchman, playing forward instead of her customary midfield slot, had an open shot that sailed high. She then had a free kick from about 30 yards out with 4:20 to go that wound up squeezing in between the crossbar and the football crossbar.

"We knew (Hinchman) was a player, one of the best midfielders we've played against," Conant coach Jason Franco said. "Putting her up top made me nervous. But we had numbers around her and she got run into traffic a lot and we hung on."

Owens, in her first season as coach after moving down from McHenry to take over for Ryan Estabrook, won her first regional title as a coach with this squad and saw the Vikings come on at the right time of the season.

"We made a good run," Owens said. "Everyone counted us out all year, saying it was going to be a rebuilding year for Geneva. I think a lot of programs would give anything for a rebuilding year like the one we had." Girls Soccer: Class 3A Bartlett Sectional

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