HUNTLEY — The Huntley girls soccer team used a combination of constant offensive pressure and strong defense to get past nonconference opponent Hersey on Friday afternoon.
The Red Raiders scored a goal in each half and goalkeeper Jessica Galason turned away six shots to complete the shutout for a 2-0 win.
Sophomore forward Taryn Jakubowski scored each of the Red Raiders goals. In the 25th minute she received a feed from Abigale Enrici and was able to fire a shot past Huskies' goalkeeper Morgan Harris to take a 1-0 lead.
"I just tried to fight off the defender and get to space and just shoot it," Jakubowski said.
Her second goal required no shaking of the defender as Alyssa Kaufman was fouled in the goal box for a penalty kick, which Jakubowski took with 11:54 remaining in the match. She scored in the lower left corner but had to re-take the shot after moving before the whistle.
Once she reset, she shot the ball in the same place and scored for a 2-0 lead.
"I just need to listen better," she said with a laugh. "But I felt confident retaking it and the same spot was open."
Her two goals gave Huntley its first win of the season, but the win is just a small piece in the bigger picture for Huntley (1-1).
In recent seasons, Huntley has had often played one of the most difficult nonconference schedules in the area.
The reason for the heavy dose of tough opponents, as coach Kris Grabner explained, is to get his team ready for conference play and, ultimately, the postseason.
"As we got better and better over the years, we tried to set up a schedule that was as challenging as possible," Grabner said.
This season is no different as the Red Raiders opened their season against two strong teams. They lost to a Palatine team on Wednesday that has one of the top keepers in the state.
The Red Raiders rebounded handed Hersey (4-1) its first lost of the season, Friday. The Huskies had already beaten strong teams such as Carmel, Prairie Ridge, Lake Forest and Cary-Grove. Huntley will finish its homestand against Elk Grove and Belvidere North.
"It's a good start to the season where we get tested early," Grabner said. "We want to win games but we also want to be prepared by the end of the season."
The Red Raiders have reached sectionals in each of the past seven seasons but haven't been able to advance.
Friday's win was a step in starting to play good soccer as Jakubowski and the rest of the offense were able to solve a talented group of Hersey defenders, while Rachel Zobott led the defense in shutting down Hersey's offensive skills.
"We're athletic enough to score on weaker teams," Hersey coach Darren Llewellyn said, "but a stronger team like Huntley was able to limit our chances.
"They're solid. You can tell they play well together and their midfield and front line is stronger than even they might think."
Huntley got off just four shots on goal against Harris, but the ability to possess the ball and control the pace of the match proved the players ability to adapt, which is something that Grabner was excited to see at this point in the season.
"Our goal is to just get through that dang sectional," he said. "These team's back line has been so good, we just have to learn to beat that and score goals when it's tough and that will help us out down the line."