If all she had done on Tuesday night was defend, Kenzie Rose's contributions for St. Charles North's girls soccer team would have been immense.
But Rose did more than operate as a shutdown defender for 100 minutes of play for the North Stars in their Class 3A Hoffman Estates sectional semifinal against Conant. When 5:45 left in the second overtime, Rose moved forward for an Alyssa Brandt corner kick, got one shot away that was blocked, then shot again from close range and scored the only goal of the match.
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"I realized there was five minutes left and I didn't want my season to end," Rose said. "I went up there and it's my job to get on the end of that, and today I got that done. I was so happy to get that."
Overtimes aren't sudden death in IHSA soccer any more, but St. Charles North held on the rest of the second overtime and won the match 1-0.
"It felt amazing," Rose said of her goal. "I've been working so hard for that. Just to have my team running at me and everyone's screaming -- it's just an amazing feeling. I am so happy that we finally got that."
The North Stars defense was also strong, recording its first shutout in five matches.
"I think we're very strong in the back and we always give 110 percent, no matter what," Rose said.
St. Charles North (18-3-1) advances to Friday's title match against Geneva. While the North Stars struggled at times to find sustained offense, they also surged at key points to put serious pressure on the Conant (12-5-5) goal.
"I don't think we played our style for 80 minutes, St. Charles North coach Ruth Vostal said. "We had moments where we had it going."
The North Stars got their passing game going after 15 minutes of the first half and surged again in the final minutes of the half. The key moments came late in the second half when Kelly Manski hit the post with a volley from the right wing. Shortly after, Brandt had a shot cleared and then Brandt shot over the crossbar.
Then Rose had her effort in the second overtime.
"We talk about how in the postseason, you don't have to be perfect," Vostal said. "You have to fight harder and one person has to find a way. And fortunately we did tonight."
Conant had limited chances to score. A Drew Wentzel free kick in the first half whistled just wide of the goal while Leah Celarek was often dangerous moving forward. The Cougars even had a marginal penalty kick claim in the match, though the referee waved for play to continue.
"As a coach on the losing end of it, that's all you can hope for," Conant's Jason Franco said. "They battled until the very end. I think we played a very good team and we played them pretty much toe to toe."
Conant's defense held strong throughout the match, limiting St. Charles North chances.
"It wasn't like they were peppering our goal," Franco said. "And we had some girls playing with some ankle stuff. Our goalie (Haley Anderson) broke a finger and she kept playing. It was a gutty, gritty effort. I thought we had a chance to win if it went to penalties."