With snowflakes falling from the sky and fans huddled under blankets, the OPRF soccer team battled both the weather and its opposition from Immaculate Heart of Mary on Saturday. The Huskies prevailed with a 3-0 shutout despite the frigid conditions.
OPRF (7-3-1) started its offense quickly, scoring just 2:24 into the first quarter. Bridget Gallogly passed the ball to Amanda Velasquez off of a free kick, and Velasquez kicked the ball towards the right corner of the net just past the IHM goalkeeper. The kick, which came from close to midfield, sparked the Huskies' offense, and they were able to control the rest of the game.
With four minutes remaining in the first half, Gallogly set Ana Pappageorge up for an excellent scoring opportunity. Pappageorge shot the ball, which the IHM goalie saved. She got her own rebound and took another shot, only to have it ricochet off the post.
Sarah Bunch started the Huskies' scoring in the second half. The Huskies moved the ball in front of the IHM goal, and Bunch got control of the ball and kicked it over the Fighting Tigers' keeper. An IHM defender tried to keep the ball from going in, but it bounced off her head and into the net.
Two minutes later, Gallogly nearly scored, and also nearly got an assist with the big rebound that the IHM goalie gave up. Amanda Corcos picked up the rebound and got a good shot off, but it hit the crossbar and did not go in.
Gallogly was able to help the Huskies widen their lead a minute later, however, when she fed Pappageorge the ball behind the IHM defenders. Pappageorge got the ball past the keeper and into the back of the net, giving OPRF an insurance goal.
Emily Steffen, Bunch, and Laura Bach each had scoring chances in the remaining 30 minutes of play, but none of their shots found the net. Steffen just barely missed the net with 25 minutes left in the game. Bunch was able to get her shot on goal, but the IHM keeper stopped her shot. Bach drew the goalie to one side of the net, but then her shot missed wide.
The Huskies' defense, led by Corcos and Velasquez, stopped almost everything that IHM could do offensively. The Fighting Tigers came closest to scoring with 21 minutes left in the game on a breakaway. M.G. Huth (five saves) came out of the net, however, and was able to thwart the shot by sliding in front of the ball.
"This was one of our better games," said head coach Doug Hunt. "We had great defense, and that helped a lot."
Even with the cold temperatures Saturday, the Huskies generated more offense than they have recently.
"We had previously been having trouble finishing, but we were able to score [against IHM]," said Jenny Donley, a junior midfielder. "They were a pretty solid team, so to beat them by that much was really good."
Looking ahead, the Huskies want to keep their offensive power going against St. Ignatius on Thursday (4:30 p.m.).
"We need to come out and have a competitive game," Hunt added. "[St. Ignatius] is always a tough game."