HOFFMAN ESTATES – Prairie Ridge girls soccer coach JC Brown said forward Larissa Dooley could be the team’s fastest player.
The sophomore backed up her coaches words Saturday afternoon with quite a display.
Dooley used her quickness to break free of the Hawks’ defense early and often, which opened up numerous offensive opportunities. She had two shots on goal and scored within the first 20 minutes on a slick pass from Kelsey Bear to give the Wolves an early lead. Although the chances were abundant, that would be PR’s only goal in a 1-1 tie. Because it was a nonconference game, it can end in a tie.
“It was exciting,” Dooley said of scoring the first goal of the season for the Wolves. “It was nice to put one in and I thought we did well for our first game. We just need to get in the swing of things and that will come.”
The beginning of the game was played mostly in PR’s zone, but that quickly turned around once the players settled in and became accustomed to the field-turf at Garber Stadium.
The Wolves (0-0-1) put four shots on goal in the first half and had the Hawks on their heels as Dooley stretched the field, forcing the Hawks to play defensively.
“She is really quick and agile,” Brown said of the sophomore. “We try to get her up because when she has a chance she can really run. With her body-size, she can get bumped off the ball easily so we try to get her out in the open.”
Dooley had two more chances at another goal early in the second half before Hoffman Estates made some adjustments and keyed on her defensively. The Hawks also played more aggressively on offense, but the Wolves were up to the challenge except for one miscue.
Solid defensive play from Hallie Simons kept the Hawks from getting any clean looks at the net, and goalkeeper Brooke Laibly directed her teammates into position and was rewarded by only facing five shots all afternoon. The only blemish on an otherwise outstanding defensive effort came on an inbound pass late in the game.
The Wolves turned it over immediately in their own end and gave Laibly no chance to stop the shot by the Hawks’ Michelle Montes De Oca in the 69th minute.
“The goal was a temporary lack of focus and execution,” Brown said. “They’re still getting to know how to play with each other, and in our first game we’re still trying to get in game shape. I liked what we were able to do but we have a lot of work left to do to compete with the teams in our conference.”