It didn't matter that the Lisle girls soccer team managed but 3 shots against a stringent St. Edward defense. It only mattered that one of those 3 shots went in the net.
Junior Skyler Tomko scored unassisted from the top of the 18-yard box with 16:06 left in the second half, and junior goalkeeper Vanessa Roach stopped 11 shots as Lisle denied St. Edward a return trip to the Class 1A state finals with a 1-0 victory at the Hinckley-Big Rock supersectional Tuesday.
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It marks the second state finals berth in three seasons for Lisle (14-10-2), which will play Manteno in a state semifinal at Naperville's North Central College on Friday at 5 p.m.
St. Edward finishes the season 19-8-2.
"I'm still in shock myself," Lisle coach Paul Kohorn said. "St. Ed's is a great team. They beat us 2-0 in the first game of the season so we knew how good they were.
"All tournament long we've told our girls not to let the other team stay in it with us. But we told them the opposite today, that we needed to hang in there with St. Ed's. When it was still 0-0 at the half, I knew we had a shot."
St. Edward dominated possession and outshot the Lions almost 4 to 1. But all that buzzing never resulted in a sting. The unlucky Green Wave had 2 shots hit posts in the first half, and speedy forward Allison Kruk was unable to convert a breakaway chance with 2:45 left before halftime. Her left-footed shot went wide left of both a charging Roach and the net.
A second-half header by Rena Ranallo flew over the crossbar with 35 minutes to play, and Jordyn Madden's attempt to put the ball over a sliding Roach from 15 feet out instead sailed over the crossbar with 10 minutes remaining.
Green Wave frustration reached critical mass with 4:25 left in the game when Madden rolled a shot flush off the left post. It was the third time in the game the iron was unkind.
"We hit 3 posts and missed a breakaway. The ball just didn't want to go in," St. Edward coach Tim Brieger said. "I lost track of how many chances we had, but they got the one that counted. Hats off to Lisle. They put the ball in the net where it's supposed to go."
The Lions rarely penetrated the St. Edward defense for quality chances, but Tomko's individual effort proved to be enough. She settled a loose ball at the top of the penalty area and tapped it to her right, then used her quickness to gain separation for a shot. Tomko pounced and sent an arcing shot into the top, right corner of the goal over senior goalkeeper Paige Gannon. It was her team-best 18th goal of the season.
"The ball came to me at the 18 and I just tried to shield my player off of me," Tomko said. "Then I just turned and fired. It felt good."
"It was a great shot. Kudos to her," Gannon said. "We had our chances. Our forwards and midfielders did an amazing job of creating chances. It just didn't go our way."
The Lisle defense was able to turn away multiple St. Edward runs in the final 15 minutes, led by the play of the team's only senior, Lauren Prindeville. The Lions otherwise started three juniors, three sophomores and four freshmen.
Immediately after the game, Kohorn told his gathered players they had just won "the most incredible game" ever played by a Lisle soccer team.
"We had a strong group coming in and they're still adjusting to the program, still developing, still learning," Kohorn said. "With what we had coming back and after a 2-5-2 start to the season, it feels great to be able to accomplish this."