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updated: 5/11/2013 6:17 PM

Streak-busters Rosary claim SCC title

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By Darryl Mellema
Daily Herald Correspondent

As she got ready to take the field Saturday, Rosary keeper Lauren Frasca reminded the officials that she had things to do in the afternoon -- the intimation being that she didn't want to be there for long.

And yet Frasca and her teammates spent the maximum amount of time on their home field for the conclusion of the May 3 contest stopped by thunderstorms with 32:17 left in the second half.

Originally played at Glenbard South, Saturday's finale took place at Rosary -- though the Royals played in Blue and were the road team, as they were in the original portion of the match.

And when the match ended -- after a scoreless completion to the second half, two scoreless overtimes and a penalty kick shootout -- it was 1-0 to Rosary (15-3-3, 9-0), earning the team its first conference title since 2007.

"It's amazing we just beat the state champions from last year and we walked off the field proud," Frasca said.

Did she really have things to do -- other than win the Suburban Christian Conference title?

"I really wanted to get a goal in regulation time," Frasca said. "We played and it was rained out -- a whole catastrophe. We trained hard and played hard and we felt we had to win. I just wanted to get out here and get the win. It's a big deal for Rosary."

The loss was the first of the season for St. Francis (15-1-0, 8-1) and snapped a 23-match winning streak. Both teams entered the brief contest knowing the winner would claim the conference title.

"It is what it is, but we've got to play with more energy early," St. Francis coach Jim Winslow said. "That's been an issue with us at times. If we've had one thing I've not been happy with this season, it's been that we've been flat early in some games."

The Royals played the match with heavy hearts. Peter Eastwood, an assistant coach with the team through last season, passed away this week.

"We definitely did it for our coach -- he passed away on Tuesday night," Witte said. "We felt like an angel was watching over us during this game. I think it helped."

Rosary won the penalty kick shooutout 4-2. After the Royals missed their first shot, Frasca, Taylor Gibson, Stephanie Ebert and Maria Witte scored. St. Francis had one shot saved by Frasca and another missed -- meaning Witte's goal ended the match.

"As soon as (Witte) made it, I new how happy our coach would be," Frasca said. "It's a goal that teams dream of -- especially Rosary: beating St. Francis is crazy to think about. It's a huge feat that we just accomplished."

Witte's shot went to the right and went firmly into the back of the net -- and set the Royals charging onto the field to celebrate.

"I just wanted to stay calm," Witte said. "It's on my shoulders and I like the pressure. It's nice to feel I'm part of the game."

The early moments of the 32:17 in the second half belonged to Rosary and Quincy Kellett forced a strong save from St. Francis keeper Jenna DiTusa with 26 minutes to play. With 15 minutes to play, Frasca took a Gibson cross and forced another DiTusa save.

"I felt it was like one of those 'Seinfeld' episodes where they were talking about 'Bizarro Jerry,'" Winslow said. "It was supposed to be a home game for us and we start at Glenbard South and we end up here. We worry about where the wind's coming out of and it ends up blowing across the field. It was all just a little surreal."

But St. Francis began to string passes together. That patterned play continued through the overtimes -- and the Spartans came closest to breaking the deadlock with 1 minute left in the second overtime.

First Taylor Bucaro sent a ball high cross toward goal that Frasca punched to the top of the penalty area. Anna Vonderhaar's return shot was saved by Frasca for a corner kick. From that kick, Vonderhaar hit a shot from the right channel of the penalty area off the crossbar.

"In the first 10 minutes, I thought we looked flat, and they played with pretty good energy," Winslow said. "After that, once we did some personnel adjustments, we were in on them constantly. We had a couple where we didn't put the final piece on it. That's all."

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