St. Francis didn't get many shots on goal in Tuesday's Suburban Christian Conference girls soccer game, but it finished when it had to.
Despite playing down a player for 36 minutes, the Spartans hung even with visiting Wheaton Academy 1-1 through two five-minute overtime periods, then won 2-0 in penalty kicks.
Contact information ( * required )
St. Francis (5-4-1, 5-1) took advantage of some miscommunication in the back for Wheaton Academy, sophomore Elli Pointner pouncing on the loose ball and quickly sending it into the open net for a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute.
"A mistake in the back, we give up an easy cross and it's almost a lampoonish goal that they had," Warriors coach Dave Underwood said. "Credit them, they hustled out the play, but our goalkeeper picks it up, runs into one of our players, knock and it goes in the goal. It was just one of those nights where you're like, what in the world is going on?"
Wheaton Academy (6-7-1, 3-2) continued to put pressure on the St. Francis goal, especially after the Spartans lost a player to a red card in the 53rd minute, playing the rest of the game with 10 players.
"They competed like crazy. They hung in, they hung in," coach Jim Winslow said of his Spartans.
"I thought we played pretty well being down a person," Pointner added.
But the Spartans couldn't hang on forever. In the 72nd minute Molly Thorson's long through ball out of the back found Jamie Netzley, who shook a defender and then tied the game at 1.
Wheaton Academy outshot the Spartans 22-6 through regulation, then took 6 more shots in overtime while preventing St. Francis from taking aim in the two extra periods.
The Warriors nearly scored in the 87th minute when freshman Gretchen Pearson blasted a shot off the crossbar.
"That was probably absolutely the best opportunity, maybe the whole game, and she missed that one," Winslow said. "And then PKs, we buried them."
Taylor Van Thournout and Brooke Roback converted their penalties for the Spartans. Wheaton Academy sent two PKs high, one wide and Tammy Syron, in goal for the shootout, saved one. Senior goalkeeper Bri Miulli had 12 saves through 90 minutes of regulation and overtime.
"We had plenty of opportunities to score," Underwood said. "I think it's our immaturity as a team. We can't find the back of the net. We create chances, we get in the box, serve the ball across and there's nobody to put it in. We have golden opportunities and we mis-hit. It's a lack of composure in the box."
Follow Orrin on Twitter @Orrin_Schwarz