HIGHLAND | It took a while, but Times No. 6 Highland finally broke through in a big way Saturday in its 2-0 win over No. 2 Chesterton.
Chesterton (9-3) was riding high after a 3-0 win over Kankakee Valley. Highland took a 4-1 loss to K.V. that could've been much worse a week earlier.
But it was Michelle Geissler of Highland who got the decisive goal at 68:54 of Saturday's match.
"(The goal) just happened so fast. But after it happened, I just got chills and I'm pretty sure everyone else did, too," Geissler said. "It's such an accomplishment to beat (Chesterton) and show everyone we actually can play."
Meredith Garcia added an insurance goal barely a minute later.
"We're playing for October," Highland coach Gordon Walker said.
Highland (6-3-1) controlled the flow of the game early with an unorthodox formation and a defender marking talented Chesterton forward Bridget Brendza.
"It was about controlling the midfield. If you control the midfield you control the game," Walker said. "That's a very good Chesterton team and I'm glad the girls were mentally up for the challenge, focused on the game and they never let the intensity down."
Brendza spent the majority of the first half on the bench. Chesterton coach David Galloway said a rough week that included games against Lake Central, Kankakee Valley and Highland forced him to sit many of his players more than he'd like.
"Those teams are all in the top 10 teams in (The Times) rankings," Galloway said. "Physically, we were very beat up after Tuesday's (overtime) match (with Lake Central)."
The visiting Trojans were outshot 21-3 in the contest.
"Highland is very good team and we had some chances," Galloway said. "The ball bounces a little bit differently and you never know."
Chesterton's Nikki Kollar took a yellow card in the 44th minute and Highland was awarded a free kick just outside the box, but Nikki Goodeve's shot sailed over and left of the goal.
In the 54th minute, Brendza took a shot from the left side that looped over the head of Highland keeper Sam Kerber and appeared to hit the inside of the right post but never crossed the line.
About a minute after that, Kate Walker put one off the post in a scrum in front of the net for the blue Trojans. Two minutes later, Highland untied it.
"Is it a turning point? I hope so," Walker said. "I knew at the beginning of the season it would take a long time to mesh these girls and hopefully now they're starting to get more confident."