The St. Charles East girls soccer team has been on a mission to return the program to the glory days of the past.
On Friday, the Saints moved a step closer.
Before St. Charles High School became St. Charles East with the opening of the North campus in 2001, state titles in girls soccer were commonplace. The old Saints won eight championships during the 80's and 90's.
They haven't really come close since -- but times maybe changing.
The fourth-seeded Saints captured their first sectional title since 2007 with a 1-0 win over host and second-seeded Conant.
St. Charles East advances to the Class 3A Lake Park supersectional at 6 p.m. Tuesday to face Rockford Auburn sectional champ Huntley.
"A couple years back we set a goal to leave a legacy behind by the time we graduated," said Saints senior defender Shannon Rasmussen. "We wanted to take this team to places it hasn't been in a long time, and now we are on our way. I can't even describe this feeling because I have never felt anything like it."
East (17-4-2) dominated play with a 21-4 shot advantage. Only one of those shots made it into the net, but that was all it took.
Senior Amanda Hilton, who moments earlier had hit the right post, scored the game's only goal with 25:04 left in the first half on a shot from just inside the box that made it over the head of Cougar's goaltender Haley Anderson and into the upper right corner.
"I knew after I had hit the crossbar on my previous shot that my range was on," Hilton said. "So, when I got another opening I went for it. We are on top of the world right now. We have worked so hard for this and are getting what we deserve. It's time to start making a name again for East soccer."
The defensive backfield of Rasmussen, Mallory Mollenhauer, Sonia Ost and Sara Buetow were magnificent for the Saints. Goaltender Kendra Sheehan needed just 3 saves to record the shutout.
"They were rock stars for us back there," East coach Paul Jennison said. "Sure, we would have liked to score a couple more goals, but it's no time to be greedy. We did a great job of possessing the ball and not giving them any opportunities. The whole team played a fantastic game. I am so proud of what they have been able to accomplish."
Conant finishes the season 14-5-2. Except for the one goal, Anderson was brilliant in net with 14 saves.
"Our girls gave it every thing they had, but St. Charles just brought it today," Conant coach Jason Franco said. "We just ran into a buzzsaw today. They were relentless. We were just unable to get any sequences of plays going to break them down."