Huntley girls soccer coach Kris Grabner wanted to get his team some exposure in shootouts this season. The result of the Red Raiders' first journey into the elite could have been different for Grabner's liking, though.
After a scoreless regulation and overtime, the Red Raiders found themselves in a shootout with visiting Glenbrook South in a quarterfinal of the 2011 Pepsi Showdown Thursday at Huntley.
Despite the Titans inserting fresh goalkeeper Jessica Campobasso, Huntley fell a goal short, losing 5-3 in the shootout. The loss was the first of the year for the Red Raiders, who had opened the season 8-0.
"There's a little bit of luck involved," Titans' coach Seong Ha said. "I give a lot of credit to our effort on defense behind the ball. If you keep them off the scoreboard anything can happen."
As the Titans (6-3) held a 4-3 lead going into the final kicker, DePaul-bound Nina Kodros lined up for the would-be game winner. The senior darted the ball into the top corner of the net giving the Titans a berth in Saturday's semifinal.
Glenbrook South placed all 5 of its shots into the left side of the net out of the reach of Huntley goalkeeper Kaytlyn Owens (3 saves).
"We're just going to learn from our mistakes," said Red Raider defender Be Burry, who tried to set up a corner kick as time expired in regulation. "We need to put the balls in that we should have and get the balls in the air that we should."
Huntley had two key scoring opportunities late in the game, but just missed out on goals.
Aimee Wronski had a breakaway look at the goal with 10 minutes remaining, but her shot sailed just over the net.
Just under 5 minutes later, Wronski worked her way through the stingy Titans' defense. The senior pushed the ball to Abigail Nordeen, but the freshman's shot again went just over the net, which would eventually lead to the overtime.
Wronski did make Huntley's first goal of the shootout when she sent a ball rolling to the right corner of the net past Campobasso, who saw her only action of the game during the 4 shots of the shootout.
"Each team had breakaways," Grabner said. "I felt like in the first half, we played for a tie. We had good opportunities in the first half. I think they did the same thing in the second half."
Huntley took 3 shots on goal in the overtime periods, while Glenbrook South was limited to no shots on goal. Titans' goalkeeper Kelsey Byers, who manned the net during the Titans' run to fourth place in state last year, made a jumping save in the first overtime period.
Senior goalkeeper Kelly McConnell was in the net for the first 40 minutes and finished with 4 saves.