After watching his team lose its first three games of the season, Crete-Monee coach Julian Lagunas knew he had to change things up.
He decided to move talented sophomore Adriana Vera up top to play forward.
“We’ve been trying her out at different positions and we needed a spark up there,” Lagunas said. “She provided it.”
The move paid off Saturday as Vera recorded a hat trick and the host Warriors picked up their first victory of the season, topping Bremen 4-1.
“I usually play center mid and I’m not really used to playing forward, but I was pretty confident about it,” Vera said. “I feel better about it now.”
With a howling wind at their backs in the first half, the Warriors (1-3) took advantage.
Vera started the scoring by winning the ball in the box off a deep throw and sending a shot past Bremen goalie Yolisa Garcia (6 saves) in the 15th minute.
Alyssa Baron blasted home a long shot off a Lea Skafgaard pass less than three minutes later.
“Our passes were a lot better (Saturday),” Baron said. “We played together. It feels so good to get our first win.”
Garcia made a huge save on a Vera penalty kick, but Vera scored twice more before the end of the half. She took a Baron pass and finished with 16:25 left in the half and picked off a failed clearing attempt and scored to make it 4-0 with 10:39 left.
“We got a bit lucky to get the wind in the first half,” Lagunas said. “We got the big lead and could kind of sit back in the second half. If they got the wind in the first half, we probably would have had to come from behind in the second half.”
With the wind disadvantage in the second half, Crete-Monee just had to hold on.
Bremen (3-5) got on the board 75 seconds into the half when Arianna Ledesma headed home an Elva Chavez cross, but the Warriors did not allow another goal.
“The wind was tough,” Bremen coach Greg Hermann said. “We played a lot better in the second half. (Bremen) won three games all of last year, so to be 3-5, we’re taking some steps forward.”