For one half Tuesday, Aurora Central Catholic kept St. Edward’s high-octane offense in check. But the host Green Wave swamped the Chargers’ upset hopes in the final 21 minutes of the second half for a 4-0 Suburban Christian Conference victory.
St. Edward, which scores an average of four goals, jumped to a 1-0 lead only 42 seconds into the first half. As a result, the Green Wave might have figured they were in for another easy outing.
But while ACC did not manage much of an attack, goalkeeper Bry Mandarino and rest of the Chargers’ defense felt pretty positive being down a mere 1-0 at halftime. And that score remained until midway through the second half.
Still, St. Edward (16-2, 6-0) posted its ninth straight win and chalked up its an eighth consecutive shutout — 13 for the year. The loss ended a four-match streak for ACC (7-2-1, 4-2).
“The most important thing to me was seeing how they would overcome exhaustion and sore muscles with our ninth game in seven days,” St. Edward coach Tim Brieger said. “Between our tournament and a rescheduled match, this is a stretch where we have to push them.”
The Green Wave pushed the attack from the opening whistle as Corey Lepoudre’s cross led to Alex Zeller’s six-yard conversio for the 1-0 lead. It was Lepoudre’s team-high 17th assist.
“Seeing people finish a cross is my favorite thing,” Lepoudre said. “I feel I’ve gotten better with my accuracy and lately, Alex and Allison (Kruk) have been getting to everything.”
However, it took St. Edward until 20:26 was left for the Green Wave to double its lead. Casey Gredzieleski set up Zeller for an 11-yard shot from the left wing that sailed inside the far right post. Fresh off scoring two goals the day before in a 3-0 road win over Marian Central Catholic, Zeller boosted her goal total to 12.
“Sometimes we struggle to finish our chances so I was glad to get those two,” Zeller said. “Getting closer to winning the conference is defintely one of our goals and since this is the last year (for the SCC), we want to have our name on that final trophy.”
Monica Ramirez fed Megan Kearney for a third goal with 11:14 remaining and St. Ed’s reserves Kendall Rugebregt and Natalie McQueen completed the scoring.
“Give St. Ed all kinds of credit for their offense,” ACC coach Kristy Kane said. “Having been at Rosary the two previous years, I’ve seen them and those teams were not nearly at the level they’re now playing.
“I’m proud of how hard we competed throughout and knowing we’re in the tail end of the regular season and this is only our second loss, this can be a real positive fand I’m hoping this shows our players how they can improve in the course of one or two years. The key is to work hard in the offseason.”