Message received: St. Francis to play for state title
Amanda Gaggioli tried everything but a text to get the message across to St. Francis girls soccer teammate Andrea Ravlin.
"I was screaming for it," Gagglioli said. "I saw that she had a bunch of people and I was ready for it. It just happened so fast."
"Amanda was screaming for the ball," Ravlin added. "She was wide open, and I passed to her, and Amanda being Amanda was able to clean it up and put it away."
Ravlin got the message and got Gaggioli the soccer ball in perfect position for the game's only goal, and St. Francis (23-3) advanced to Saturday's Class 2A championship game with a 1-0 victory against St. Viator (15-9-4) in Friday's semifinal at North Central College in Naperville.
The 45th-minute goal was one of the few quality scoring chances either team had in the game. St. Francis' Taylor Bucaro also banged a 30-yard free kick off the crossbar in the waning minutes of the game.
"Two teams feeling each other out. And on top of it as the (first) half went on the wind got worse," Spartans coach Jim Winslow said. "You can tell the wind played a huge role in what was going on because (goalkeeper Jenna DiTusa) didn't have to make a save in the second half. Anything you're doing is almost counterproductive trying to play balls forward."
Gaggioli generally plays a playmaker's role with her club, but the Spartans have asked her to be more of a scorer.
"As she's played, she's gotten more and more comfortable in that role and done better and better and better," Winslow said.
"The coaches keep telling me I need to attack with the ball," said Gaggioli, the team leader with 15 goals.
Meanwhile, DiTusa needed to make just 2 saves for the shutout with help from her defense.
"I thought they did a solid job in the first half. In the second half I thought we got a little looser than I would like because we started to attack, so that's going to loosen things up a little bit," Winslow said of his defenders.
The Spartans didn't celebrate their semifinal win much, and they might keep the celebration low-key again if they defeat Chatham Glenwood at 1 p.m. Saturday in the championship. It will be St. Francis' first trip to the state championship match.
"I think a big part of it is you have to understand how the other team is feeling because we've definitely been in that position before and we know what it feels like and it (stinks) when you have to see another team celebrate like that," Ravlin said. "By doing that it just showed kind of the respect we have for the other team, because we know how they feel."
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- St. Viator High School
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