Freshmen aren't necessarily expected to come up with the biggest play in a soccer match, let alone with a regional title on the line.
Don't tell that to Waubonsie Valley freshman Paige Filipek.
Filipek followed her penalty kick, which was rejected initially by Metea Valley goalkeeper Megan Geldernick, for a rebound tally with 32:14 remaining to lift the Warriors to a 1-0 victory over the Mustangs in Friday's Class 3A Metea Valley regional championship.
"Well, I was just going for the corner right," Filipek said. "When I was going to kick it I saw (Geldernick) diving and was just hoping for the rebound and just went for it."
Filipek's rebound shot proved to be the difference in a match in which both teams had chances but neither could deliver.
"They were strong on their defensive line and we just tried to pass it around them and keep it on the ground," Filipek said. "We just tried to do what we need to do and if we do that we can get the goals."
Metea Valley (10-7-1) incorporated a 4-4-3 system and it nearly paid dividends.
"We went to the new formation three days ago and I just sprung it on them Monday and figured we're going to give this a shot," Mustangs coach Pat Feulner said. "They played it to a 'T' in the first half, and in the first 20 minutes if we could've knocked in a couple of those balls in we would've been OK. Against these guys you can't pass up opportunities like that."
Metea Valley's Jenna Kentgen was the beneficiary of some of those chances, but she was never able to find the back of the net.
"We completely trust our back line and work really well together," Warriors senior Jenna Romano said. "At halftime we talked and basically decided our biggest factor was we needed to stop everyone. We were so riled up, so excited at first that we came out all over the place bouncing off the walls."
The Mustangs were unable to sustain the same intensity in the second half, and while they created some opportunities, nothing came to fruition.
"The second half we just tired," Feulner said. "When you switch formations, we didn't have a lot of time to get the kids prepared, so we had to go with kids that been with us. We knew what they were doing and pretty much just kind of tired out."
"I think we work really hard as a team and our team defense has gotten a lot better, but we still have more to do," Waubonsie Valley's Rachael Brots said. "Once we got composure, I think it worked well in our favor.
Waubonsie Valley (17-3-1) advances to the Class 3A Bolingbrook sectional where it will face Plainfield North at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.