CRYSTAL LAKE — Tuesday’s Fox Valley Conference Valley Division soccer match between Prairie Ridge and visiting Jacobs could have been the scene of a detergent commercial.
The two teams took the field for warmups with bright, clean jerseys, but by the end of the 4-0 victory by the Wolves, the players were soaked and the clean jerseys were unrecognizable. The field conditions got so bad because of the constant driving rain that the match was called 11 minutes early because of unplayable field conditions.
But the Wolves (5-2-1 overall, 1-0 FVC Valley) still found a way to execute their aggressive game plan despite the weather.
“I told the girls before the game that we were going to pressure Jacobs defensively because we knew they were going to make mistakes in the weather,” Wolves coach JC Brown said, “and we wanted them to make more mistakes by us pressuring hard.”
The Wolves’ defense held Jacobs (4-8-1, 0-1 FVC Valley) to only three shots on goal while totaling 18 themselves, as the Wolves were on the attack throughout.
“With the water, it’s about how hard you’re going to work and if you’re going to put yourself in the right spot,” Jacobs coach Anthony Cappello said. “It’s about doing the little things the right way, and it’s something we need to work on.”
Prairie Ridge goalkeeper Whitney Whitehouse was recognized by Brown as doing a phenomenal job by not only turning away the three shots she saw, but more importantly in helping out the defense on a day when nothing was certain because of the poor conditons.
“She’s a great player,” Brown said. “She talks a lot back there, and because we have a younger defense, I need her leadership out there.
“They get nervous with the wet weather and not knowing what to expect and she helped them out and made some great saves.”
Water would splash up around the players’ cleats with each step and as the match went on, the field took on more and more water. Large puddles appeared on the field and caused players to slip, like when Jacobs defender Margaret Rivera lost her footing after taking a free kick at midfield.
The growing standing water also impacted the players’ passing as the ball simply stopped when it hit a puddle and effectively ruined a scoring chance.
“With the cold and wet weather, I usually like to take more touches with the ball and have them take as many dribbles as possible,” Brown said. “We have a lot of players who can take any defender 1-on-1, so I have to push them to be aggressive. And with this weather, you never know what’s going to happen.”
Jacobs scored in the 24th minute when Erin Ginsberg put one past Foster for the only goal in the first half. Ginsberg also scored her second goal of the match in the 52nd minute while Larissa Dooley and Ashtynn Trauth each added second-half goals in the win.
“We just tried to keep the ball at our feet,” Ginsberg said. “My first goal felt good and I just wanted to come out and play my hardest, and I think I did that.”