Girls Soccer: Plainfield North opens season with romp past Lane
By Patrick McGavin For Sun-Times Media March 13, 2013 10:52PM
Updated: April 15, 2013 11:16AM
Ashley Handwork was ready to showcase her game in a natural setting. That meant getting outside the hardwood floors of the Plainfield North basketball court that served as the exclusive practice facility for the Tigers.
The cruel temperatures at Lane Stadium hardly fazed her. “I loved it out here,” she said.
Her game was electrifying.
The 5-foot-9 senior forward registered three goals and added an assist as the visiting Tigers built a commanding lead en route to a 7-2 win Wednesday over Lane in each team’s season debut.
“She was too fast for our defense,” Lane coach Mike Wasielewski said. “We were not prepared for that kind of speed. Their first four or five goals were all started by countermoves begun by her.”
Handwork scored two goals three minutes apart as the Tigers bolted to a 4-0 lead at the break. On the first two goals, Handwork controlled through balls and burst down the left sideline where she rocketed in two blasts with power and precision.
“It’s always important, especially the first game like this, to go out and take the lead early. That helps you get into the game and get the early control,” Handwork said.
Handwork and her younger sister Heather, a forward, are the signature returning starters from last season’s 18-4-2 Tigers’ team. Callie O’Donnell, the best player in the school’s history, established the template of the creative and powerful forward. Handwork is now the team’s centerpiece.
“Ashley is a very talented scorer, she had 21 goals as a freshman,” Plainfield North coach Jane Crowe said. “It’s just that she’s been overshadowed the last couple of years by Callie.”
In the 30th minute, Ashley Handwork drove the left side and made a brilliant left-footed pass that Shayna Dheel converted for the team’s third score. North made it 4-0 when Sara Stevens directed a ball into the back of the net in the closing moments of the first half.
“That fourth goal was probably the worst thing that could have happened,” Crowe said. “If the game’s 3-0, players are still going strong. We got the fourth goal and thought the game was over.”
Lane is the defending Public League city runner-up and is expected to vie with Young for top honors. Lane boasts the city’s most prolific scorer in Jasmin Carrera, who had 43 goals last year.
The Indians made it 4-2 early in the second half on goals by Anastasia Niforos and Carrera, the later coming when Carrera scored on the rebound of her own penalty kick.
“We settled down and we were able to connect on some passes,” Wasielewski said.
Ashley Handwork almost single-handedly ended the threat. In the 48th minute, she advanced the ball down the left edge. Pulling the Lane goalkeeper out of the net, she controlled a deflected ball and recorded the hat trick by scoring from 16 yards out.
Heather Handwork also contributed a goal and assist for the Tigers. Last year, Heather Handwork was the second-leading scorer behind O’Donnell with 17 goals. Ashley Handwork recorded 16 goals.
Lauren Martin closed out the scoring for the Tigers.
“We graduated a lot of really good players, especially offensively,” Ashley Handwork said. “So it was important to come out here and show we still have some really good players.”