Girls soccer: Petring, Downers Grove South rally for dramatic win in PKs over Downers Grove North, take regional title

Trailing by two goals with under two minutes left, Downers Grove South's season and 11-match unbeaten streak both appeared to be over.

Emily Petring thought differently.

The Coastal Carolina recruit found the back of the net twice in the final 1:36, including the equalizer with 0.3 on the clock, and the Mustangs went on to defeat Downers Grove North 3-2 via penalty kicks to capture the Class 3A Addison Trail Regional title.

Petring's first goal came on a direct kick after she was taken down just outside the penalty box. The tying goal was the result of a one-timer off a crossing pass from Skylar Swanson. They were the 31st and 32nd tallies of the season for Petring, a senior who ranks fourth all-time in the program's storied history with 71 career goals.

"The game is not over until the clock stops," said Petring, a three-sport standout. "As soon as we got that first one, I said it's not over yet and my adrenaline kept jumping. I think the last time I looked at the clock, there were like 36 seconds left. As soon as we got the ball back upfield, I thought if I get a chance, I have to put it away.

"This was our biggest game of the year. Starting at the beginning of the season, we stressed that the playoffs were most important, especially coming off last year where we didn't even get to be here (the regional championship). We finished as a team and I'm super proud of my keeper, she's insane."

Petring was talking about junior goalie Hannah Fedinec, who after a pair of scoreless 10-minute overtime periods, stole the show in penalty kicks. She made three consecutive saves, knocking one shot off the post and another off the crossbar, while a fourth Trojans attempt sailed over. Petring and Grace Rappel both converted to allow Downers Grove South (16-3-1) to prevail.

"Penalty kicks are always in the shooters' favor," said Fedinec, who has 13 shutouts on the spring, "so I had nothing to lose. Just give it my all and whatever happens, happens. The last two weeks, we've been practicing penalty kicks and that helped me get better at reading body language and knowing what to look for when they start to run up (to the ball). It gave me a confidence boost. If I commit and go the way my gut tells me to and I leave it all out there, how can I regret anything.

"I told one of my teammates, I went through more emotions in that two and a half hours than I have all week. When we play for each other, when we put everything on the line, that's when it is so tough to get past us. When we went down 2-0, nobody said anything negative. We all bonded together when we needed to."

Last winning a regional in 2021, the West Suburban Gold Conference champions advance to take on the Lyons Township/Glenbard West winner on Tuesday at the Reavis Rectional.

"We always tell the girls, just create a chance," said Downers Grove South coach Chris Hernandez, whose team had defeated DGN 2-1 on May 6. "You never know what might happen. And look what happened.

"This season has been a collective group effort. Everybody understands their roles and they all support each other. It is easy for a coach when you have a team that works hard and wants to get better."

On the other side, Downers Grove North (10-11-2), which was seeking its second straight regional title, was left to wonder what might have been after playing nearly flawlessly for 78 minutes. Ellie Watts broke the scoreless tie three minutes into the second half with a perfectly placed header off a corner kick from Addison Liszka. Kaitlyn Parker later doubled that margin with a goal from 30-yards out that just alluded Fedinec.

"Give them credit for not quitting," Downers Grove North coach Brian Papa said. "We had controlled most of the game, I thought our defense held up well. But the game was decided in that final 1:36. The game of soccer, you have to have luck and we just didn't have the luck tonight.

"No. 13 (Petring) is a very good player and she is very hard to contain."

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