DEPUE — Sometimes only a few offensive opportunities present themselves on the soccer pitch and the DePue Giants seized the most of them to steal a 3-2 come from behind victory over the Hall Lady Red Devils Thursday night at the Lake DePue field.
Hall was in control early as it had the Lady Giants back on their heals for the majority of the first half.
“A lot of the season so far we have been back on defense and we haven’t had an authentic opportunity yet to attack the offensive zone,” DePue coach Tim Stevens said. “I’ve personally been preaching to the girls that we need to concentrate on defense and play the passing lanes to force mistakes.”
Captain and forward Vanessa Olivares proved instrumental in the early goings of match as she gained the offensive zone and drew a foul in the penalty area, forcing a penalty kick.
She stepped to the penalty mark and drilled a shot top shelf to give the Lady Red Devils a 1-0 lead.
Each team struggled to gain an advantage for the remainder of the half until the last two minutes when a flurry of breakaways led to two Lady Giants’ goals.
The first came as a result of a shot which ricocheted off a teammate to the left of the net where a wide open junior forward Lindsey Werkau found the back of the net to tie the game 1-1 with less than two minutes to play in the opening half.
Less than a minute later, another breakaway gave the Lady Giants their first lead of the game as Werkau made a nice pass which got sophomore Melissa Serrano behind the defense where she poked a shot just past the left of Lady Red Devils’ goalie Hope Connor.
DePue took a 2-1 lead into the half.
“I like to try build a team that can learn from their mistakes, they knew they came out slow,” Stevens said. “They identified the problem and all I had to do was tell them to pick it up or they were going to blow an opportunity to have success.”
Olivares stepped up again as she received a pass from sophomore forward Andrea Cruz and sent a shot which rattled the cross bar but had enough momentum to trickle in for the 2-2 equalizer at the 8:44 mark of the second half.
The game winner came with 30 minutes gone in the second half when sophomore midfielder Guadalupe Moreno found some open grass, streaked down the sideline, found freshman midfielder Larisa Moya cutting towards the net and sent a shot over the goalkeeper for the game winner.
Hall continued to attack the DePue defense but had minimal chances during the remainder of the game as the Lady Giants swarmed to the ball every time Hall threatened to attack the goal box.
Their only real chance came off of a rebound just after the 35-minute mark when Cruz and defender Danielle Seibert each had a chance to slam home but goalkeeper Maricela Garcia was able to pounce on the ball just before either player could get the shot off from less than five yards out.
“I like that they fought back and showed a lot of improvement in the second half and played hard but I’d personally like to work on coming out strong instead of having to make improvements and come back from behind,” Stevens said.
Notes: Hall was led offensively by Olivares with two goals and Cruz with an assist. DePue worked with a balanced offensive attack as Werkau, Serrano and Moya each scored goals and Werkau and Moreno collected assists.