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updated: 5/13/2014 11:46 PM

St. Viator forces Benet to share ESCC crown

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By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent

Benet was just minutes away from securing an outright East Suburban Catholic Conference championship during Tuesday's match against St. Viator at Benedictine University in Lisle.

Unfortunately for the Redwings, St. Viator's Sarah Petrovich netted the equalizer on a header while Benet senior Rachel Pavlinec was lying on the turf injured with 5:29 remaining.

Neither team scored again in regulation or in the two overtimes, so the two programs will have to share the ESCC title after a 1-1 draw.

"Unfortunately the ref didn't see one of our players was down, but there's nothing we can do about it," Benet senior Michelle Morefield said. "Our defense stayed strong, though. They got more chances and it just happened they were able to finish one. It's just unfortunate, if nothing else."

Benet (15-2-2, 7-0-2) took a 1-0 lead thanks to a little helping hand from the Lions at the 24:51 mark of the first half.

A handball off a corner kick awarded the Redwings a free kick just outside of the penalty area, and Morefield delivered as she's done all season.

"That corner kick just kept bouncing around and we got a break with the handball," she said. "They lined up a six-person wall and the goalie (Sabina Raslawski) was hiding behind the wall, so I saw a far post shot and just took it and put it in."

St. Viator (10-6-2, 7-0-2) appeared to come on strong in the final minutes of the first half, which seemingly carried over into the second half.

"We were pressing and we just couldn't finish," St. Viator coach Mike Taylor said. "We just couldn't finish and that's been our Achilles' heel all season. We put the ball in front of the goal and can't put it away, but they kept plugging and plugging and once we got one it felt like we were going to get another one."

Allowing the lead to slip away late will sting the Redwings, but they also are fortunate that it didn't turn into a loss.

"They came out and put it to us in the second half," Benet coach Bob Gros said. "I told the girls before the overtime that we dominated the last five minutes and then we picked it up again during the overtimes. For whatever reason we stood around and got our ears pinned in during the second half."

Still, to lose the lead late almost has to feel like a loss to Benet and a win to St. Viator.

"We normally give out a most valuable player after each game," Taylor said. "Maggie Leazer marked (Morefield) and took her out of her game and the frosh (Maureen McGrath) played well and the mids played well. They all played well. I told them the whole team was most valuable today because they all stepped to win a conference championship."

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