CALUMET CITY | If the wind can ever be considered a teammate, it certainly was true in the second half of Thornton Fractional's girls soccer victory over Bloom Township.
Thornton Fractional used two second-half goals to defeat the Blazing Trojans 2-0 and continue a strong start to the 2012 season.
Goals by freshman Stephany Leon and senior Jamie Kats were the difference. Bloom Township keeper Katelin Wallek was able to keep the match closer with 12 stops.
Leon's goal came just six minutes into the second half off of a corner kick by Andrea Munoz.
"It was just a really nice center," Leon said. "We just need to keep putting out a solid effort even when we're getting tired."
Kats added her goal 10 minutes later and the kick was a long drive from near midfield. With the wind behind it, Kats' shot found the upper left corner of the net to give Thornton Fractional a 2-0 lead.
"Definitely we're more of a second-half team," Kats said. "Even though we shouldn't be and should be pushing to get more aggressive in the first half. But somehow we pull it out in the second half and come out on top."
Thornton Fractional (4-2) seemed to lose a step with about 10 minutes left in the match, and the Blazing Trojans were nearly able to find the back of the net when T.F. keeper Bianca Riuz slipped to the ground. Ruiz was still able to make the save from her back to maintain the shutout, and she finished the match with five saves.
"We're a young team and I'm hoping we learn from every game," Thornton Fractional coach Alejandro Lagunas said. "It's OK to make some mistakes now as long as we learn from them and improve."
Bloom Township (3-4) has struggled to find its offense early in the season, but coach Kelly Gutierrez was happy with the team's effort on the day.
"We knew this was going to be a tough game coming in," Gutierrez said. "They're a tough team. I thought the girls did a good job of holding them back. We're improving and that's what we want to see."