Cory Levels knew exactly what was on the line.
The Cary-Grove senior realized if she scored a shootout goal the Trojans would capture the Class 3A Crystal Lake South regional championship.
Levels got the job done.
Her goal gave the second-seeded Trojans a 2-1 shootout win over top-seeded Crystal South in Friday's regional title game.
"I knew if I scored we win the regional," said Levels. "I calmed my nerves, took my time and aimed for the left corner like I always do. I felt good when the ball left my foot. It was such a hard-fought game. It is a great feeling to win the regional as a senior. "
Cary-Grove (10-5-1), which avenged a 2-0 loss to Crystal Lake South earlier in the season, advanced to the Jacobs sectional to play Rockford Boylan Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
"What a great game between two teams who played their hearts out," said Cary-Grove coach Ray Krystal. "The fans certainly got their money's worth. It was a great defensive game but both teams had their opportunities. I can't say enough about this amazing senior class. They have won a lot of matches."
In the shootout, both teams scored on their first three opportunities with Kate Boyd, Hannah Weber and Emma Baker scoring for the Trojans while Audrey Collard, MacKenzie Taldone and Bianca Micelli scored for the Gators.
Michelle Kalenda scored to give Cary-Grove a 4-3 lead in the shootout. On the Gators' fourth attempt, Erin Woeste blasted a shot low toward the right corner, but Cary-Grove goalie Krystal Felderman made a great save to set up Level's heroics.
"I could tell where she was going to shoot the ball," said Felderman. 'She tipped it off a little bit. I just guessed right. We played with so much confidence. It was an exciting win."
The teams battled to a scoreless tie for 80 minutes of regulation, and one 10-minute period of overtime before Genna Sobieszczyk scored an unassisted goal with 5:52 left in the second OT. With the lack of scoring in the game, the goal seemed to be the game-winner. But, the Gators (12-8-2) didn't quit and scored with 1:17 remaining in the overtime on a goal by Bree Marshall which sent the game into a shootout.
"These girls showed a lot of character scoring after Cary-Grove did," said Crystal Lake South coach Anne Santucci. "They could have rolled over but didn't. We had a good season and they were a fun group to coach."