Galason's return highlights Huntley soccer opener

HUNTLEY – Late last season, Huntley goalkeeper Jessica Galason suffered a broken jaw in a match. On Tuesday, the senior played in her first high school game after the injury.

Galason had her jaw wired shut and was forced to drink shakes and other liquefied foods causing her to lose more than 10 pounds. 

Since then, she has put that injury out of her mind and returned to the starting lineup where she played an important role for the Red Raiders in their 1-0 nonconference loss to Palatine.

The senior keeper made 13 saves in the match, including one early in the first half that required her to lay out for the save and ended up colliding with a Palatine forward.

"I was a little worried when she took that knock," Red Raiders coach Kris Grabner said, "but she got right back up."

The jaw injury didn't cross Galason's mind when she made the play and has returned back to full form, even when blocking shots that sometimes require her to make contact with other players.

"There are no worries from me," the senior said after the match. "That's all fixed and I'm ready to go."

The Red Raiders (0-1) needed all of her 13 saves to keep the score close as the Pirates poured on the offense in the second half, uncorking 11 of their 14 shots, when they shot on the south goal as the wind gusted from the north.

After being turned away by Galason and the Red Raiders defenders, the Pirates (2-0) finally broke through with 18:43 remaining in the match on a throw-in play.

Forward Gina Falato received the throw from Allison Rzepka in a group of about six players, but was able to get off a shot that whizzed by Galason's outstretched arms.

"Huntley really limits opportunities in the back because they're so organized and always double on the ball before you can get turned and into position," Palatine coach Willie Filian said. "On that play they were a little late and our girl made a good play."

That was just one of the few times the Red Raiders got caught as their defenders limited good scoring angles throughout.

After the goal, Huntley played with urgency and picked up the pace on the offensive end, but found it hard moving against the wind that made it difficult to get behind the Palatine defenders.

Forward Taryn Jakubowski finally broke through at the 70-minute mark and fed teammate Alyssa Kaufman, who fired the ball into the back of the net. The goal, however, was wiped out after an offsides whistle.

"Taryn was a beast up there," Grabner said. "We just have to get better connections with her, and I thought Alyssa Kaufman did a nice job up top, as well.

"There are so many little things we did well. I hate losing, but there was a lot of good in it."

Huntley also took a hit offensively as it was missing one if its top players – forward Delaney Loprieno. The senior, and Northern Illinois recruit, was expected back this season after missing most of last season with a torn ACL but missed Tuesday's match because of an issue with the injury.

She had an MRI Tuesday and will be fitted with a new knee brace to prevent further stabilization issues.

"They don't think it's anyting too serious," Grabner said. "It sounds like the prognosis is pretty solid, so we should see her again pretty soon."

Huntley plays Hersey at 3 p.m. Friday at home.