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Prep Sports

JCA ups game in 2nd half to beat Celtics

NEW LENOX – After rallying for a 2-1 upset road victory over previously unbeaten Benet Academy on Monday, Joliet Catholic Academy’s girls soccer team brought a 7-0 record into Saturday’s nonconference match against rival Providence Catholic at Bishop Kaffer Stadium.

The Angels and Celtics played to a 1-1 draw in the opening half before JCA collected three goals during a 12-minute span in the second half to capture a 5-2 nonconference victory.

JCA is definitely a young team this season since coach Oscar Valdez’s squad only has five seniors and three juniors. But they played as if they had much more varsity experience than that, especially during the second half against coach Dan Potempa’s Celtics.

The Angels received two goals apiece from Morgan Furmaniak and Emma Gruber, while Breanna Ciemny added their other goal and Kendall McLeod had a pair of assists. Providence received two goals from Sierra Vidican, while Cam Korhorn added an assist.

“We had a really good game, an amazing team in Benet and the girls just came out to play,” Valdez said. “We dedicated that for all of the girls who’ve played before. We decided how we were going to play this game and it was a totally different setup than we’d have before. We made some changes in the offense and defense and we just came out and played hard. We have a very young group, and we’re moving the ball very well. Our defense and keeper are playing well, so everybody is clicking right now, but we have a lot more to do.”

JCA (8-0) got on the scoreboard first as Gruber found the net in the 10th minute. But the Celtics responded in the 21st minute on Vidican’s rebound following a free kick. With a wind helping its cause, PC (4-8-1) continued to apply pressure from several players but was unable to put in another score before the halftime break.

“We knew coming into today that it would be tough since they were undefeated for a reason,” Potempa said. “They’re a tough team and it’s always a good rivalry and a battle for us. We’ve played a lot of teams where we knew that we’d have a tough battle and would have to play our best, and our girls go out and work hard and then come up a little short. We’ve been struggling to score, but we put in two against them and they haven’t been giving up a lot of goals. Our team is moving forward, and we’re able to possess the ball well.”

In the second half, Ciemny started the scoring in the 47th minute, Furmaniak connected off of an assist from McLeod in the 55th minute and scored again in the 59th minute.

“A lot of people doubted us against Benet,” Furmaniak said. “But we came together and told ourselves that had to figure something out. So going into the second half, we knew that we had to step it up if we wanted to beat them. A lot of us have played together in club and we have a lot of players that cheer us on. Having a supportive team keeps us going.”

The Celtics cut the lead in half at 4-2 in the 72nd minute when Vidican connected on a free kick, but the Angels scored once again in the 80th minute on a long shot by Gruber.

“We’re 8-0 now and I think that this is the best team that JCA has had in awhile,” Gruber said. “We’re just clicking and making good decisions. Monday was a tough game since Benet is very good and skillful, but we worked hard and came out on top. I just love this team so much since we all click.”

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