CARY – Prairie Ridge freshman Sam Gablenz admits she's surprised by the start she has had to the season. She hasn’t played goalkeeper in two, maybe three years.
On Tuesday, the Wolves’ keeper finally allowed a goal after five shutouts to start the season, but Prairie Ridge held on for a 4-1 victory over Cary-Grove.
“I’m really shocked at how I’m doing because I haven’t played goalie in a while,” Gablenz said.
The Wolves didn’t have a clear-cut goalkeeper coming into the season. The coaches approached Gablenz about giving it a shot.
“I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it for the team,’” Gablenz said. “I’d been keeping some skills together. I practice with my dad. I haven’t really done any training. But I fit right in.”
Prairie Ridge (6-0, 1-0 Fox Valley Conference) remains unbeaten and Tuesday, for the first time all season, faced a deficit.
C-G’s Kelly Stayart scored the game’s first goal on an assist from her sister, Jenna Stayart, in the 16th minute. Prairie Ridge wasn’t rattled, though.
“I loved our fight,” Wolves coach Andre Watson said. “We go down a goal, not only that, but we’re being outplayed in the first 20 minutes, and then we came back and dominated the rest of the game.”
Lucy Klimkowski pulled Prairie Ridge even with a goal on a free kick in the 24th minute. Klimkowski’s free kick arced high into the air and dipped at the last moment, slipping past the goalkeeper’s outstretched hand and into the upper right corner of the net.
“I thought it was too high at first, but it just floated at the perfect height and went in,” Klimkowski said.
Klimkowski, a freshman, almost netted two similar free kick chances in the second half. She said she feels pretty confident taking deep shots on set pieces.
“It’s hard because you don’t want to hit it too hard,” Klimkowski said. “You have to find that perfect balance. I guess that’s what I’m bringing to the table as a freshman.”
Senior Jena Berkland gave Prairie Ridge the lead with a deep goal in the 36th minute. The Wolves held on the rest of the way.
Reanne Weil added a goal early in the second half after collecting a loose ball that teammate Madison Kachelmuss sent into the box. Nicole Anderson gave Prairie Ridge its fourth goal after a long pass up the middle of the field from teammate Abby Eriksen.
With the recent weather, C-G (1-2-2, 2-1 FVC) hadn’t played a match since March 21.
“Early, we played well,” coach Ray Krystal said. “We played that way for a good period of time, created opportunities and chances, but we didn’t capitalize on enough of them. Prairie Ridge really took advantage of the energy that they created and that made a difference for them.”
C-G goalkeeper Sydney Schmidt made two saves in the first half. Lauren Passaglia finished the game in goal.
Gablenz made six saves for the Wolves. She made sure to credit the Wolves' defense for helping her off to such a great start to the season. Watson is impressed, too.
“As a freshman, she’s played like a senior all year long,” Watson said. “She does a great job. She’s really composed back there. Goal lets in, the first one we’ve let in, and it didn’t rattle her."
STAR OF THE GAME
Prairie Ridge, Fr., GK
Freshman goalkeeper Sam Gablenz finally allowed a goal after five consecutive shutouts to start the season. But she rebounded to hold the Trojans scoreless the rest of the way.
6: Prairie Ridge remains unbeaten at 6-0.
AND ANOTHER THING …
Wolves coach Andre Watson felt his team did a good job of winning 50-50 balls and constantly putting pressure on the Trojans.