When Waubonsie Valley needed a goal, it turned to leading scorer Kristen Dodson, and Dodson turned and fired.
"I didn't want this to be our last game, so whatever it took," the Warriors' Auburn-bound senior said. "If I had to pass the ball, if someone else had to do something, I just wanted to get the win."
With a defender on her back and the score tied in overtime, Dodson spun and hit a strike from 23 yards that found net, giving the top-seeded Warriors a 2-1 victory against the host Redhawks at the Class 3A Naperville Central regional final. It was Dodson's 21st goal of the season.
"I did it earlier, in the first half, and I got a shot off so I thought it would work again and it did and I just placed it into the corner," Dodson said.
The Warriors needed Dodson's goal because the seventh-seeded Redhawks (9-6-5) played their best game of the season.
"They're a good team, and it's tough, and if you don't play well they'll score on you, so we just had to play hard and do our best," Dodson said.
The return of senior Grace Orndorff from a stress fracture in her foot helped the Redhawks, though Orndorff was clearly limited.
"I'm sure she's going, 'My God, I'm so out of shape,'" Redhawks coach Ed Watson said. "As I said to her, 'Grace, it's amazing you're able to give us anything right now, especially deep into the second half. I knew she was tired because she was like, 'Yeah, I need to come off,' and she has never asked to come off."
Dodson's goal was the first of the day from the run of play. Fellow senior Mackenzie Fuller, signed to play at UIC next season, gave the Warriors (19-1-3) a 1-goal lead when her 27-yard free kick caught a deflection on the way inside the near post for her 12th goal.
Meredith Tunney answered off a free kick of her own in the 49th minute, this one from 21 yards, also going inside the near post.
"That's the way we score goals," Watson said. "We're a restart team. We don't have a lot of 1v1 players. But Meredith finishes that goal, and we had other chances too."
The Redhawks nearly took the lead in the 50th minute, but Abby Joyce's header off Taylor Stenmark service clipped the crossbar. The Warriors withstood the pressure and went back on the attack in overtime.
"I still had confidence," Fuller said. "We still had the energy and we just had to come back harder and stronger and obviously we did."
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