Sydney Mudd's 68th-minute strike negated a Dani Blanchard equalizer moments earlier to give host Libertyville the lead for good in a 2-1 victory over Jacobs in the rain Thursday at the Soccer Complex in Libertyville.
The Wildcats' nonconference win in their regular-season finale moved coach Scott Schinto's club to 11-5-1 overall as Libertyville readies itself for a regional opener with North Suburban Conference rival Mundelein next week.
"It's good to finish up with a win, and even better to get everyone into the game (and) valuable minutes in advance of the regionals," said Schinto.
Libertyville had some trouble in the early exchanges with the visiting Golden Eagles (6-11-1) and in particular, Kylie Dennison, Rachael Romano and Amy Rigby, who played quickly on the wet pitch to put the Wildcats under pressure during the first 10 minutes.
"I thought we came out really well, especially after the long bus ride over, and a (lightning) delay, but it didn't last long and the game became more even after that strong start as we struggled to possess and keep the ball," said Jacobs coach AJ Cappello.
A nicely played tackle by Cassie Melic on Mudd, who ran onto an early ball from Emily Boyd, prevented the Libertyville junior from getting in on Jacobs keeper Klarissa Karmis at 19 minutes. Later it was Dennison who had a go at Elaine Sundberg from near the edge.
After a ragged start to the second period, play started to pick up with a flurry of activity from both clubs. Jacobs got some nice combination work from Bailey Adams and Dennison, which resulted in Alyssa Sandblom's little half-volley veering left off the post.
Dennison crushed the bar with a right-footed blast which went nearly straight down but stayed just in front of the end line in the 51st minute. That bit of bad luck was about it for the visitors' attack until Blanchard leveled things with a header off a corner from Margaret Rivera.
"We kind of lost our focus after that good start, and we got a little careless in our end, which came back to be the difference today," said Dennison, a team co-captain along with Rivera.
More bad luck came the Eagles's way when Katie McAuliffe, the Wildcats' leading scorer, drove a low shot on frame only to see it redirected by a Jacobs defender and past Karmis for an own-goal in the 56th minute.
Mudd teed up her long-range shot before driving a wicked strike into the back of the net less than 60 seconds after the Blanchard goal. Libertyville then kept everything in front of it for the final 10 minutes to earn the win.
"We've had some injuries to deal with, but I think we've handled them pretty well," said Schinto. "Now we'll see how things go next week in the playoffs."
The Golden Eagles finish up against Fox Valley Conference rival Crystal Lake South before a regulsar-season finale at Rockton Hononegah.