West Aurora girls soccer coach Laura Wagley received a welcome sight during the Blackhawks’ summer camp last June.
“The six freshmen I moved up (to varsity) came to summer camp,” said Wagley. “I had no idea about them. They were sitting over here and I was walking across the field with my assistant. I was like, ‘those look like soccer players. We’re moving them up.’ “
So far, the plan looks ingenious.
One of those varsity newcomers, Audrey Stephens, scored a pair of second-half goals as the Blackhawks (5-1) rallied to a 2-1 victory over Plainfield East (1-1-1) during Friday afternoon’s opening round of the Blackhawk Tournament in Aurora.
Since dropping a 3-2 season-opening decision to Wheaton Academy, the Blackhawks have compiled a 5-game winning streak during which they have outscored their opponents by a 14-5 margin.
Good numbers for a team that finished 8-12-1 last season.
“Getting those early wins is huge for us and building our confidence up with finishing,” said Wagley. “Today, Audrey had two goals as a freshman.”
With the wind at its back, Plainfield East grabbed a 1-0 lead on a goal from senior forward Shannon Coughlin in the 11th minute.
“So far this year we have been a first-half team getting out on teams early,” said Wagley. “Today, I don’t know (what happened). We’ve been on break and haven’t been really focused I guess. We came out way better in the second half.”
The momentum began to shift midway through the second half, as senior forward Katharine Stephens and junior midfielder Riley O’Brien seized control.
Katharine Stephens’ steal and tough-angle shot deflected off the hands of Bengals keeper Alison Cosola (5 saves), setting up a wild sequence that included four West Aurora corner kicks in a 2-minute span.
A few minutes after junior Marlene Sanchez’ shot attempt rattled off the post, the Blackhawks notched the equalizer…