Huntley's Sam Bessey was surprised to see herself so wide open Tuesday.
The junior was one-on-one against Lake Zurich goalkeeper Eleanor Daleske and scored with 11:45 remaining in the first half and the Red Raiders scored again 80 seconds later to beat the Bears, 2-0, to advance to the quarterfinals of the Pepsi Showdown.
"I looked around and realized I'm all alone in the middle of the field," Bessey said. "I took a touch and as the goalie came out, I just bent it around her with my weak (left) foot in the middle of the goal."
Sixth-seeded Huntley will play on the road Thursday against either No. 3 seed New Trier or No. 14 Downers Grove North in the quarterfinals.
The game was close and each team had chances until Bessey made a nice diagonal run onto a throughball from Autumn Maravigila. Daleske came out to the top of the penalty area to try to cut down the angle, but Bessey was still out for enough that she had plenty of room to beat Daleske.
"That's one of the hardest finishes for a number of reasons," Huntley coach Kris Grabner said. "The keeper is already on her 18. She shoots from about 30 yards off the weak foot. That's a tough finish."
With 10:25 remaining in the first half, Kaitlin Costantino scored off a corner kick to give the Red Raiders (9-2-1) a 2-0 lead. The ball went toward the near post and appeared to hit Daleske, a defender and the post before falling into the back of the net.
With the exception of that minute and a half stretch, Lake Zurich (6-2) played Huntley evenly and was able to create a few scoring opportunities. The Bears just couldn't beat Red Raiders goalkeeper Jessica Galason, who finished with 5 saves.
"We created a lot of chances in the second half, just couldn't put it in," Bears coach Mike Castronova said. "If we get one, I think it's a different game. Defensively they are really good. They clogged the middle a little bit for us."
Daleske made 3 saves for Lake Zurich.