ROCKFORD -- When Huntley played Harlem back in April in the Huntley Invite, the Red Raiders let themselves get outworked in a 2-0 Harlem victory.
With a sectional title on the line Friday, the Raiders weren't about to let that happen again.
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They put it all out there for 100-plus minutes and it finally paid off with a victory in the second round of penalty kicks, as Huntley captured the title in the Class 3A Rockford Auburn girls soccer sectional, 1-0.
Huntley goalkeeper Jessica Galason reached across her body on a diving save and Autumn Maraviglia put the next shot in to give Huntley the dramatic win at Wyeth Stadium in Rockford.
The Raiders will play St. Charles East in Tuesday's Lake Park supersectional at 6 p.m.
"They showed us the first time that we played them how hard they were going to work," said Huntley coach Kris Grabner. "The first time they just flat-out outworked us. And today we matched their energy and for a good part of the game we had more energy."
Both teams raced up and down the field in regulation, but had few really solid scoring chances. The closest Huntley came to scoring in the first 80 minutes was when Beth Parks came in on a breakaway. With Harlem keeper Alyssa Sickler screened out of the play, Parks faced an open net, but Harlem's defense arrived in time to deflect the shot, and Sickler saved the rebound.
Huntley (19-6 with 19 shutouts) had the advantage for most of the first overtime, while Harlem dominated the second, but neither team could score. They were even after the first round of penalty kicks, with each goalkeeper making one save.
Harlem scored first in the second round of Pks, but Parks matched it for Huntley. Galason then came up with a spectacular save, diving right and reaching across her body to deflect the ball away.
Then it was Maraviglia's turn. She deked Sickler and fired the ball into the right side of the net.
"I knew exactly where I was going to hit it and I just struck it," Maraviglia said. "I usually prefer right, but I looked the other way to fake the goalie out. It's very stressful."
Galason posted the 100-minute shutout but, like just about everything else, she deflected the credit to her defense.
"It's great to have such great defenders," she said. "They were working their butts off in the back The shutout, the goalie always gets the credit for it, but I feel it should be the whole defense."
That defense, led by Jenna Hermansen, Rachel Zobott and Samantha Morin, kept the Huskies (21-2) away from Galason all day. They neutralized lightning-quick Harlem forward Emily Scott who, except for a couple of breakaways late in the game, was a nonfactor.
It was a physical game throughout. Tempers flared briefly after a violent collision between Sickler and Huntley's Abby Nordeen. Grabner said it was just a good play by both players, and Nordeen told Sickler so after the game.