SOUTH HOLLAND | Despite a 1-0 lead at halftime, Illiana Christian coach AJ Turkstra wasn't thrilled with the play he saw from his team on Tuesday evening.
Ten days off for spring break and their first game in 17 days can sometimes do that to a team.
The Vikings won 3-2 over Beecher on the strength of second half goals by Gianna Natale and Emma Pawlowski. In the first half, Illiana Christian struggled with possession and finishing their chances at the Beecher net. Despite an Alex Clausing goal late in the first half, the Vikings were simply being outplayed by the Ladycats through 40 minutes.
"Halftime, he sort of told us that this is not good," Clausing said. "I guess that gave us some energy. And the fact that we had the lead helped us get out there and fight."
Clausing was able to connect from the middle of the Beecher box just three minutes before the half to give Illiana the 1-0 lead. Ten minutes earlier, Viking defender Annie Brucer kept the game scoreless after she cleared a Mia Mondello shot that rolled past Viking keeper Mikinsey Pruim and was on its way across the goal line.
"What we saw today was a rusty team coming off of spring break," Turkstra said. "It took us a long time to get back into a high pace and steady flow of the game. It kind of changed right around halftime. The girls came out and picked up the pace."
Five minutes into the second half, Beecher tied the game on a 30-yard shot by Eve Stolzenbach. Illiana Christian (2-0-1) was able to reclaim the lead 12 minutes later when Natale connected for the Vikings from the left wing. The Vikings added their third goal just four minutes later when Pawlowski cleaned up a loose ball in front of the Beecher net for the 3-1 advantage.
"The first half we did a great job controlling the ball," Beecher coach Dawn Compton said. "We created a ton of opportunities for ourselves, we just didn't finish, which unfortunately came back and bit us."
A Beecher (2-4) goal by Mondello one minute after the Pawlowski goal cut the Illiana Christian lead to one, but the Ladycats were unable to find the game-tying goal in the final minutes.