Fremd's girls soccer team looked to have earned a chance at taking unbeaten New Trier into overtime until Kelly Maday's late heartbreaker dashed the hopes of the Vikings in a 2-1 decision Thursday in a quarterfinal match of the Naperville Invite hosted by Fremd.
A stunning right-footed blast from senior Mary-Kate Schiffer brought the hosts even in the 58th minute, but Maday's game-winner got past keeper Kelli Stone with nine minutes left in regulation. New Trier (19-0-0) will meet Naperville North on Friday night at Naperville Central in a tourney semifinal.
"It's the little things that come back to beat you against a quality opponent like New Trier, and a couple of mental lapses did us in today," said Fremd coach Steve Keller. "But overall, the effort was very good. And once we settled in, I felt like we competed extremely hard for 80 minutes."
The arrow has been pointing up of late for the Trevians, who'd defeated Buffalo Grove 3-1 on Sunday to capture the PepsiCo Showdown crown. New Trier looked ready to ride that momentum against the Vikings.
"We knew New Trier was a very good team, and they really showed just how good they were when they came out in the first 10-15 minutes and put a ton of pressure on us," said Fremd junior Caroline Freeman, who along with Liz Flavin, Annika Morin and Julia Leonard were recently installed as defenders for the Vikings.
"After a rough start, the back line turned in a strong effort throughout, and I thought did a solid job of keeping a big, hard-running front line under control for most of the game," said Keller.
The Vikings (6-6-1) had trouble during the early exchanges with the Trevians front three, especially senior Maddie Mulford, but after weathering the storm during the first quarter hour Fremd was able to slowly get back into it thanks to the work of the back line and midfield group which began to win its fair share of the 50-50 balls.
After the break, Mulford surged to beat a pair of Fremd defenders and send a fierce left-footed shot over the gloves of Stone.
The 54-minute goal was just the start the Vikings did not want. But Schiffer, held in check by the Trevians for nearly an hour, brought the Vikings' fants out of their seats with a wicked drive in close past keeper Dani Kaufman after Freeman provided entry with a lovely ball over the top.
"Our confidence has been getting better lately, particularly after beating Hinsdale Central the last time out, and I really felt that carried over tonight, especially after Mary-Kate's goal," said Freeman.
The energized Vikings then went about searching for the go-ahead goal. Morin set Karolina Cholewa free up the right side, which led to a corner at 61 minutes. If not for a clearing effort from Maggie Armstrong, Fremd just might have found a second goal.
Later, Danielle Money and Cholewa came forward on the counter, but an alert Kaufman came off her line to stop the chance.
A long ball out of the back forced Stone to venture far off her line and at the hard-charging Mulford, but when the ball bounded favorably out of the area and almost directly to Maday, the opportunistic sophomore steered in the game-winner.
"Good teams find a way to create opportunities for themselves, and that's exactly what New Trier did against us today," said Keller. "But we fought hard, and had our chances also. More importantly, we had a lot of the play in the last part of the first and second half, and that's something to be happy about for sure."
The Vikings will finish up play in the tournament Saturday afternoon at Naperville North.
Waubonsie Valley 5, Palatine 1: Two spectacular first-half strikes from Kristen Dodson and a second-half double from CiCi Gazder were more than enough for Waubonsie Valley (11-1-3) as it rolled to a 5-1 victory over Palatine to advance into the semifinals of the Naperville Invite. The Warriors will meet Barrington, which defeated Loyola in PK's on Thursday.
A cautious start to the game was not indicative of what was to come shortly thereafter when Dodson drove in her first just six minutes into the contest.
Palatine's Kellie Reynolds had a chance to equalize two minutes later, but keeper Emma Rigby took a dangerous attempt out of the air with ease -- and that was about it for the first period for the Pirates (8-6-2), who'd won Group A with victories over Naperville Central and Downers Grove South to stay in the championship bracket.
"Waubonsie is obviously a very talented side, and one that not only has a burner and great scoring threat in No. 4 (Dodson) but the ability to possess and defend," said Pirates coach Willie Filian.
The Warriors had far more possession than its opponent, especially during the first half hour. They mainly played through Sarah Griffin, who distributed with purpose as Morgan Kemmerling and Mackenzie Fuller offered midfield support.
What made the Warriors' attack even more lethal was the ability of outside back Tori Christensen to get forward and add numbers to the attack.
"We would have liked to come out and give them a better game than we did, and at times, we had our moments, but they have a lot of weapons, and we saw most of them tonight," said Filian.
A brilliant early ball from the far touchline by Sarah Laws found Dodson, who blew by two Pirates before collecting the Laws helper and unleashing a thunderbolt past a diving Rachel Rhodes to make it a 2-goal advantage at 30 minutes.
Eight minutes later, Gazdor scored her first goal. Moments later, Morgan Radtke's 30-yard free kick was hauled in by Rigby, who share in the shutout with teammate Erin Morgan.
Reynolds would pull back a goal back in the 47th minute, but the Warriors would respond with a freekick blast that found its way around the Pirates' wall in the 60th minute.
"We've gotten a little bit better each time out after a slow start because of so many new players and freshmen," said Waubonsie Valley's Jori Romano. "We also know there's a lot of work still ahead of us, but we feel that we have the players to get the job done when it counts, and to get a result like this one tonight is an important one for all of us."
Waubonsie Valley coach Julie Bergstrom kept several starters on the bench for the second period, electing to keep some legs fresh for its rematch with Barrington. The two clubs played to a scoreless draw on April 8.
Gazdor closed out the scoring in the 65th minute, with Laws once again, providing the assist.
• Barrington advanced with a 3-2 edge in kicks after the Fillies had tied visiting Loyola 1-1 through regulation.
• Conant (8-3-2) earned a 1-0 victory over Hinsdale Central as Sidney O'Keefe scored with an assist from Drew Wentzel.