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updated: 5/23/2014 10:34 PM

Big-goal Bailey does it again for Stevenson

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By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent

Erin Bailey has a knack for scoring game-winning goals in the regional final.

She did it a couple of years ago as a sophomore and has done it again as a senior, leading the Patriots to a regional championship on Friday night.

Bailey hit the game-winner in the second overtime that carried No. 14 seed Stevenson past No. 12 Libertyville 1-0 in 2OT's in the Class 3A regional final in Lincolnshire.

Stevenson (7-10-4) will meet top-seeded Buffalo Grove (22-1-3) in the Libertyville sectional semifinal at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Buffalo Grove won its own regional final over Palatine 1-0.

Bailey's tally was her first of the season. It came in the 94th minute after a failed clearing attempt by Libertyville. Bailey stepped up, knocked the ball down at the top of the box and delivered a rocket into the back of the net.

"It was a big goal," said Bailey, a defender who stepped forward on the play. "We had an initial shot from Emma Jaeger, then it came back out. I just knew that I had to place it or it would go out of control. It was a little lucky. We're definitely the underdogs here."

Just two years ago, Bailey sent Stevenson into the sectionals with a game-winning goal in the final two minutes with a header off a corner kick to beat Prospect 1-0.

Stevenson has battled injury problems all season and at one point had eight players out. But in the postseason the Patriots have recovered many of those players.

And now Stevenson has pulled off upsets over No. 4 seed Hersey and its rival, Libertyville.

"It's always a battle with (Libertyville)," Stevenson coach Kevin Heffernan said. "It's a sweet game when we play them. It doesn't matter who wins, it's an amazing game. It was hard-fought both ways. Anybody could've won that game. It came down to one great crack at the end.

"This team has more heart than any other team that I've had. I told them a long time ago that players that were injured gave the rest of the players a chance to play -- a chance to improve and contribute to this team. Once we got to the playoffs, it made us stronger when they got back. Now we're just a stronger team, and they are showing it."

Maddy Boutros made 9 stops in goal for the Patriots.

Libertyville (8-8-2) had won five straight going into the match and had been playing its best soccer of the season. The Wildcats upset Glenbrook South in the regional semifinal 2-1 on Tuesday.

Libertyville had its share of chances and opportunities but couldn't convert.

"We just didn't play our best game,," Libertyville coach Andy Bitta said. "I thought this team came a long way this season. There was a lot of improvement. I expect us to be very strong next year."

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