St. Francis sophomore Corky Hart cramped up during Wednesday's Class 2A Riverside-Brookfield sectional semifinal against Hinsdale South.
Hart's dehydration and cramping started at her calfs and hamstrings and eventually extended all the way to her back. She was undoubtedly tight and sore for most of the second half.
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Thankfully, she was able to deliver the biggest play of the game late in the first half before tightening up.
Hart scored with 8:12 before halftime to break a 1-1 tie and lift the Spartans to a 2-1 victory. They advance to Saturday's sectional title game against Fenwick.
"I'm used to playing defense, but I was the second top scorer last year so they pulled me to forward," Hart said. "I was able to get a ball from Taylor Van Thournout and just took my time and finished it."
Hinsdale South (11-10-0) jumped ahead with 25:36 remaining in the first half when Jessica Mutters connected with Brenda Maugeri.
"That was a great start," Hornets coach Pat Wolf said. "But they came back quick and got one."
The Hornets goal was just the fourth allowed by the Spartans all spring. Three of the four have come on set pieces.
"They're pretty athletic and they've got some big kids and they're physical and they're very, very direct," St. Francis coach Jim Winslow said. "It's the first time we've played a team that direct and I thought we handled it really well. We gave up the brain cramp of a goal where we got on the wrong shoulder of the kid and that's the kicker."
The kicker didn't last long, though. St. Francis senior Kaity Bucaro seemingly deflated the Hornets when she scored the equalizer minutes later to make it a 1-1 contest.
"That was tough and maybe they got one that they shouldn't have," Wolf said. "You have to give them credit though for playing hard. They're a good team, state champs from last year, and we knew it would be a contest."
St. Francis (17-1-0) limited Hinsdale South's chances the rest of the way and when the Hornets did get close Jenna DiTusa proved solid in goal.
"I think once we tied it and especially when we went ahead that it took a lot out of them," Hart said. "With the lead we made sure to try to control it and keep them away from getting many chances."