Girls soccer: Carmel denies Palatine another upset
Girls soccer teams who reach the sectional semifinals tend to get there by having a certain optimism, a preparedness for the opportunity at hand.
That's been especially beneficial this season, as the level of parity in the Class 3A postseason has made for a wide-open playoff sequence.
Eight-seeded Palatine certainly took advantage by ousting top-seeded Lake Zurich in a regional final on Friday.
The Pirates were after yet another upset Tuesday but couldn't quite pull it off, as fourth-seeded Carmel Catholic got a goal in the second overtime for a 1-0 victory in the sectional semifinal play in Libertyville.
Freshman Sarah Galla scored the game-winner in the 96th minute for the Corsairs, her ninth goal of the season. She converted after two prior shot attempts were left bouncing around amid Pirates defenders.
"I think it's amazing to score in this game, especially in the sectional semifinal because it has such a big impact," Galla said. "I just wanted to do my best and get the ball in. Going into two overtimes was really big for us."
Carmel (15-4-1) had a several chances in the first half, on one occasion hitting the ball off the framework and a couple of times seeing the ball cleared off the line following a corner kick.
But the Corsairs had to keep battling in the second half, as the Pirates (11-11-3) weren't giving up much and were generating chances of their own.
"I'm very happy with the result, and it was a game of heart, eventually," Carmel coach Ray Krawzak said. "Any team here can win a game. (Palatine) did a good job with their game plan. They put us on our heels plenty of times with their throw-ins and set pieces. We defended well throughout the game. We were very fortunate that everyone kept working, even that late in the game."
Palatine has shown how far its defense can take a team. Despite a roster depleted by injury, coach Willie Filian's team developed a winning, gritty blend.
"That's kind of our base because of our mix of players," Palatine coach Willie Filian said. "The demands we put on them is that they work hard and they tackle hard. We started to come along as the year wore on. They needed to, because we had trouble scoring consistently throughout the season. We needed to be tight at the back. It came together but I wish we could've hung on for five more minutes.
"We had some good looks at the goal -- but not as many as (Carmel) did. That's been our MO since the playoffs started, just stay tight and wait for our chances."
Earlier this season, Carmel defeated Palatine 4-0.
"We were happy to make it here, and in this sectional . . . it has some good teams, but we saw ourselves winning the sectional -- why not us?" Filian said. "We beat the No. 1 seed, and all these teams are seeded in front of us. We did make it to the overtimes but were unfortunate not to make it to the penalty kicks. We knew it would be like this."