Heartbreak again for St. Edward
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This might be the worst case of déjà vu for the St. Edward girls soccer team.
For the second year in a row, the Green Wave was oh so close to a trip to the IHSA Class 1A state Final Four.
But just as it happened last year in the sectional final against Lisle, the season ended in heartbreak for coach Tim Brieger's team.
Francis Parker was this year's Lisle, coming from behind to beat the Green Wave 3-1 in the Concordia University supersectional in River Forest Tuesday. The IHSA added a supersectional round to Class 1A girls soccer this year for the first time.
Sophomore midfielder Olivia Amdur rallied the Colonels not once, but twice in a span of two minutes, notching goals from roughly the same spot in the same free kick motion in the final 13 minutes. A header by Mimi Vaintrub with 2:31 was the dagger and 19th straight win for the Colonels (19-1), who advance to the state finals at North Central College in Naperville Friday to play Alton Marquette in a semifinal at 5 p.m.
It's also Francis Parker's first Final Four appearance for coach Neil Curran, while St. Edward ends its run at 16-7-2 with unfinished business, again.
"You always look at games and wonder what we could have done differently and I look at this one and say nothing, it was a test of wills and unfortunately they won out," Brieger said. "(Francis Parker) is not (19-1) for nothing. Heck of a team. Great girl up top. Nice outside mid. It hurts two years in a row coming this close."
The shots were even in the first half and physical play intensified through the second half. It appeared the Green Wave finally adjusted to the turf field and got the momentum on their side when Megan Kearney slipped in a redirect off a corner kick for 1-0 lead with 32 minutes remaining.
As the clocked ticked down, it almost appeared that goal would hold. Francis Parker did handle the ball better in the second half, but didn't put any significant threats across until 13 minutes remained when Amdur took advantage of a foul and a free kick from 25-yards out, which sailed from left to right into the back of the net. Goal 2 was a carbon copy, just 5 yards further on a ball she won and that no Green Wave could get to.
"I knew on both of the goals I knew I had people going wide," said Amdur, whose goals came 2 minutes apart. "So really I was just aiming for one of them, I knew they would always be there to finish it up."
At that point, down 2-1 with over 10 minutes left, the task wasn't insurmountable, but haunts from St. Edward past were just too evident.
St. Edward players battled through injury at the end for one last push. A free kick with 6:27 was the best chance to tie but it came to no avail.
"It's tough to work so hard to get up to supers two years in a row and just get so close, just not being able to finish," said Kearney.
Francis Parker outshot the Wave 13-10. Paige Dykstra made 5 saves for St. Edward, which loses just two starters to graduation.
"I told the girls, 'nine of you are going to be starting next year on this field,' " Brieger said. "We're losing two important pieces in Rena (Ranallo) and Kimmy (Smith) but nine of us will be starting in the same game next year and I know it (stinks) because it's two years running. But hey, we were in it and that's all you can ask."
"Third time's the charm," said Kearney. "And hopefully we can go to state next year."
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