Lauren Macchia’s goal enough for St. Charles North

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Lauren Macchia’s goal midway through the second half was just enough to break the the chill and Neuqua Valley’s defense for a 1-0 St. Charles North victory Tuesday evening.

With the Wildcats’ turf not ready for action, the Upstate Eight Conference crossover match was moved to Metea Valley but pushed back to 6:30 pm which allowed the cold weather to make for the kind of night when any score would most likely make the difference for two squads searching for a first victory.

After a scoreless and relatively uneventful first half, Neuqua Valley (0-2) appeared to have momentum in its favor. Katie Ciesiulka had a free kick sail through the football uprights before a 19-yard rip required a tip save by North Star (1-1) goalie Shelby Stitz. That close call came with 23:41 left in regulation.

A few minutes later, Macchia scored. Wildcat keeper Hannah Parrish charged out to make a save on a Megan O’Leary blast but couldn’t hold on to the reflection. Macchio made her pay by finding the back of the net from 14 yards out.

“I thought my teammates were working so hard all game and I just wanted to finish that play so that they’d be rewarded for their efforts,” Macchia said in regard to her first goal of the year.

“We talked about pressure their backs and to be ready for a rebound,” North coach Ruth Vostal added. “That play was an example of applying pressure. After that we were able to gut through the cold and the rest of the time.”

It marked the first shutout of the season for Stitz, who had 16 last season. She Stitz finished the night registering three saves.

“Sometimes you can win a match but feel like you lost in the way you play. Tonight definitely felt like a win in how we played and it was a win on the scoreboard as well,” Stitz said. “Playing well against a quality opponent for a win always feels amazing.”

“We lacked a sense of urgency in the offensive third of the field and went lateral way too much. You can possess the ball well, which is usually a positive, but you still have to attack and finish opportunities,” said Neuqua Valley coach Joe Moreau.

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