Coach Edgar Sandoval said his Pekin girls soccer team played its best game of the season Wednesday night.
Yes, it was in a 2-0 loss to Dunlap in a Mid-Illini Conference opener played on a muddy field at Dunlap Valley Middle School after the game was postponed a day earlier.
“Absolutely it was our best game of the year,” Sandoval said. “We just didn’t finish well. Our intensity was good, and we were disciplined defensively except on the corner kick that Dunlap scored on.”
Pekin (3-1, 0-1) won its first three games this season by a combined 14-3.
“I felt Dunlap (4-1-1, 1-0) was the top team in the conference coming into the conference season and they played well against us,” Sandoval said.
“Still, they didn’t score until the 59th minute. They got their second goal when we put numbers up and were pushing for a tying goal. It didn’t matter if we lost 1-0 or 2-0, but a tie really would have helped us. We did have chances to tie it.”
Dunlap’s Elle Sutter broke a scoreless tie at 59:52 off a corner kick from Amanda Christophe. Kenna Koehler added an insurance goal at 77:33, assisted by Kate Piper.
“Our goal was to stop Christophe and force someone else to beat us. Christophe wasn’t able to create chances in the run of play,” Sandoval said.
Maddy Cash was given the job of shutting down Christophe. Cash normally plays forward.
“I did the same thing with Lauren Cash, Maddy’s sister, when she played for us,” Sandoval said. “Both of them are fast, competitive, and basketball players, so they know the importance of moving their feet and staying in front of someone you’re guarding.”
Pekin goalie Paige Smith made six saves against Dunlap. Eagles keeper Rita Joshi had five saves.
Each team had 13 fouls in the physical game.
NEXT: Pekin was scheduled to play non-conference opponent Moline at home Thursday at Coal Miners Park.
Steve Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.