Hannah Durocher, St. Charles North overwhelm Geneva

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Hannah Durocher strives for consistency. St. Charles North has been a model of consistency.

Three first-half goals Wednesday propelled North Stars to a 4-1 win over visiting Geneva and earned them no less than a share of the Upstate Eight River title.

Both teams traded early chances before a series of attacks by host North (11-2-1, 5-0-1) resulted in a goal thanks to Alyssa Brandt’s through-ball. That enabled Durocher to perform soccer’s equivalent of basketball ballhandling for her fifth goal of the season. Durocher cut back twice and did a crossover to get past a trio of Geneva defenders.

“My expectation is to always be contributing as much as a I can, be it a goal, an assist, or simply playing smart, I want to be consistent,” Durocher said. “Winning (the division) is nice, but our focus on game day is always getting a win regardless of the opponent.”

Having earned her sixth setup on the initial tally, Alyssa Brandt then notched her sixth goal of the year with a laser 8:24 prior to halftime.

“I was really happy with that shot because I was able to keep it down, hit it with pace and into the corner,” Brandt said. “After playing so poorly (in a 1-1 draw) against (St. Charles) East (which could still tie North for the division crown), we came into this not thinking about it being a rivalry, but just wanting to play good soccer.”

If two goals are good, three are better, and a minute and 14 seconds elapsed before Durocher’s sixth assist led to an Ashyn Walter tally — her seventh of the year.

“We’ve been working for weeks on creating chances in order to keep the momentum going our way. I believe that’s as well as we’ve worked as a unit for a full 80 minutes,” North coach Ruth Vostal said. “I was pleased we had shots, we had corners, and we had 1-v-1s. As far as Hannah, she is one of the hardest working, most passionate players around and her ability to go 1-v-1 is the best I’ve seen.”

When the North Stars were whistled for a handling the ball violation, Taylor Williams converted a penalty kick for Geneva (8-4-1, 2-1) with 18:24 left in regulation. However, the Vikings’ glimmer of hope for a comeback was extinguished with 8:58 remaining when Walter earned an assist on a seven-yard header by Sophie Pohl — her team-high eighth goal.

Coming off an emotional 2-1 victory the day before at Batavia, Geneva was playing its fourth game in a six-day span having lost twice during the Naperville Invitational.

“With two key defenders out or limited following injuries from the invite and playing Batavia, we had a rough first half,” Geneva coach Megan Owens said. “But I was happy with the way we responded in the second half. As long as we learn from a match like this, that’s the key. (However) it is the most goals we’ve given up in a long time.”

In reality, 23 matches prior was the last time the Vikings yielded four goals as Naperville North — en route to a second straight state title — dealt Geneva a 4-2 setback on April 25, 2013 as part of the Naperville Invite.

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