Benet played some ugly soccer in the first half Thursday night, but the goal Jacquie Kaufman and Lindsy Kendrick teamed up to score was a thing of beauty.
Kaufman, a speedy sophomore, dribbled the ball all the way to the endline in the right side of the penalty area before sending a perfect pass back across the middle to the trailing Kendrick, who blasted a six-yard shot under the crossbar with 21:07 left in the first half.
That was all the host Redwings needed to beat Glenbard West 1-0 in frigid conditions at Benedictine University.
It was the first varsity point for Kaufman, who is playing her first year on varsity, and the first career game-winning goal for Kendrick, a senior who is starting for the first time.
“Michelle [Morefield] had a great ball into me and I heard Meaghan [O’Hara] screaming ‘cross it,’” Kaufman said. “I just looked up, saw Lindsy and slotted it to her. She put it in the back of the net.”
The goal was just the second of Kendrick’s career. The other came last season.
“That was awesome,” Kendrick said. “Honestly, I was just there at the right time.”
Though the Redwings (1-0-1) dominated most of the last 60 minutes, they couldn’t extend their lead despite outshooting the Hilltoppers (0-1-1) by a 17-2 margin. Benet missed several open shots and Glenbard West goalie Kylie Paul made six saves in the second half to keep things interesting.
“The first half was the worst half of soccer that we will play this year,” Benet coach Bob Gros said. “We did not do anything very effectively. But in [the Redwings’] defense, we had to transfer from gymnasium practices to a big [stadium].”
Glenbard West actually was the more dangerous team in the opening 15 minutes, nearly breaking free on several counterattacks. But sophomore defenders Rachel Bernicky and Sophia Elbchiri were able to snuff out most threats before the Hilltoppers could pull the trigger and Benet goalie Christina Stopka had to make only one save.
Aside from a pair of corner kicks, the visitors didn’t come close to mounting an attack in the second half as Benet controlled the midfield thanks to the efforts of freshman Ellie Bumpus, while Kaufman, Morefield and Meaghan O’Hara kept the pressure on West’s defense.
“We made that change at halftime where we became a little more determined and I said, ‘you’ve got to use your speed, be aggressive,’” Gros said. “You could see immediately that Jacquie’s speed they couldn’t handle. She did some nice things with the ball [and] we should have scored on three or four of her plays.”
Even so, the Redwings were glad to get the chance to play outside and come away with their first win of the season.
“It’s pretty awesome just knowing that we did it,” Kendrick said. “We worked hard. Yeah, we had some blatant mess-ups. We could have done better but it’s an awesome feeling knowing we won the game.”