The opening game of the girls soccer tournament at Prairie Ridge pitted two games currently headed in opposite directions.
Despite entering on a three-game losing streak, South Elgin was able to grab an early lead on a first half goal from Caitlin Lange. Crystal Lake South, entering on a seven-game winning streak, made it eight straight games unbeaten as Taylor Mraz's second-half score helped end the game in a 1-1 tie on Friday.
"In the second half, we were able to create some more pressure resulting in a goal and a few chances to win at the end," said Gators coach Jay Mueller. "A tie, we'll take that against a quality team like South Elgin."
The Storm (7-3-1) was playing its second full game without Nebraska-bound leading scorer Savanah Uveges who re-aggravated an ACL injury suffered two summers ago. Uveges scored her 12th goal of the season in a 2-1 loss against St. Charles East last Thursday but suffered the season-ending injury in that game.
"We mixed it up today," said Storm coach Tiffany Disher. "We played about six different forwards, and we're looking for whoever will make that magic happen. Whoever that is, we'll be looking to get them the ball."
Lange was the Storm's magician in the first half, scoring on a header in the 19th minute that sneaked over the hands of Gators' (7-2-2) keeper Jaclyn Przybylski (2 saves). Anna Tracy played the ball up from the back, and Corinne Hildebrandt made the cross that found Lange's head.
South Elgin goalie Jackie De La Mora proved to be a huge part in preserving the tie with 6 saves. In the 55th minute, Brandie Minogue set up a pair of quality shots for the Gators from Kimmy Sulikowski and Katherine Siavelis, the second being met with a diving stop by De La Mora.
"It felt great to get in and make some big saves for us," De La Mora said.
Minogue did assist on the Gators' goal in the 66th minute. Mraz initially had a shot stopped by De La Mora but found the net on a rebound.
"It felt great to get that one so we could get a tie," Mraz said. "It was definitely a team effort. Brandie made a great cross to start it, and we all were up there to pressure."
In the final 10 minutes, Storm freshman Missy Greco had a breakaway chance that was broken up by a racing Przybylski. In the final minute, Minogue had a solid shot on goal saved by De La Mora.