High school girls soccer: Cary-Grove beats Crystal Lake Central, sits alone in 1st place in FVC

CARY – Crystal Lake Central’s Emma Bolanowski scored a penalty kick goal with 3:29 remaining to pull the Tigers within one goal of Cary-Grove.

Central had worked the entire second half Tuesday to create scoring chances, but the C-G defense shut it down for the final three minutes of their Fox Valley conference game.

Trojans forward Jenna Stayart scored a penalty kick goal of her own with 9.9 seconds remaining to cap a 3-1 C-G win and to give herself her third hat trick of the season. 

“She gives her all in every game and every practice,” C-G coach Ray Krystal said.

Stayart scored twice in the first half, giving C-G (8-1-1, 4-0 FVC) a 2-0 lead. Central (10-2, 3-1) did everything it could to work its way back into the match in the second half but couldn’t seem to find a goal. 

“We didn’t get our finishes in today,” Central coach Sarah Fack said. “The whole second half I thought we put them under pressure a number of times. We didn’t give up. We’ve got some things to work on and learn from in this game.”

The win elevates C-G into sole possession of first place in the FVC at the midway point of the conference schedule. The Trojans control their own fate in the conference. Win out in FVC play, and they are conference champs. 

C-G has FVC games remaining against McHenry, Hampshire, Jacobs and Prairie Ridge. 

For Central, the loss hurts, but it's not out of the FVC race yet. The Tigers were coming off a 2-0 win over Prairie Ridge last week, which was the Wolves’ first regular-season loss since 2017. 

“[Tuesday] was similar to our PR game: In the first half, it took us awhile to figure some things out,” Fack said. “That second half we did a lot better job marking up and working as a team.”

Stayart created chances with her feet early on. She had a harder time doing so in the second half. 

In the 87th minute, Central’s Erica Novy drew a foul inside the 18-yard box, which awarded Central a penalty kick. C-G goalkeeper McKenna Sheehan guessed wrong, and Bolanowski sent the PK into the net.

Stayart, who now has 14 goals this season, was quick to return the favor. 

“It’s really fun to watch her,” Sheehan said of Stayart. “She’s really good with turning and getting the ball and finding people. She’s not selfish or anything. She finds the open player, and if she needs to take it, she’ll go and score for us."

Sheehan made five saves, although Central kept her busier than the stat sheet indicated. Central’s Nora Ryan made 12 saves. Each team had a shot deflect off the crossbar. 

Krystal was impressed with Central’s fight. 

“Their record, they’ve earned that with the ability that they have and how hard they will work for each other,” Krystal said. “I’m happy I have a team that has the same type of mentality and same type of attitude."


Jenna Stayart, Cary-Grove, so., F

The C-G sophomore scored a hat trick, with two goals in the first half and a penalty kick goal in the final minute of the game. 


4: Cary-Grove moves to 4-0 in the Fox Valley Conference. The Trojans are the only unbeaten team remaining in the conference. 


The Trojans’ FVC matchups with Jacobs (May 2) and Prairie Ridge (May 7) will provide a tough final week of the regular season. 

Cary-Grove 3, Crystal Lake Central 1

CLC 0 1 – 1

C-G 2 1 – 3

First half

C-G – Stayart, 31st minute.

C-G – Stayart, 38th minute.

Second half 

CLC – Bolanowski (PK), 77th minute. 

C-G – Stayart (PK), 79th minute. 

Goalkeeper saves – Crystal Lake Central: Ryan 12. Cary-Grove: M. Sheehan 5. 

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