Girls soccer: Prairie Ridge denies Wauconda
On the brink of the first supersectional appearance in program history, disaster instead found Wauconda.
The second-seeded Bulldogs (18-1-1), playing with a man advantage and a 2-0 lead in the 61st minute -- conceded three unanswered goals, including the game-winner just moments from overtime, to see their postseason run ended by top seed Prairie Ridge in the Class 2A Deerfield girls soccer sectional final Friday.
Alexis Petersen rescued the Wolves (17-2-0) by scoring a 73rd-minute equalizer, setting up Reanne Weil's stunning game-winner with regulation nearing its end.
"We told the girls afterward this is a beautiful game they're playing, but it can be a cruel one at times as well, and we saw that first-hand tonight," said Wauconda coach Beau Shogren, who was looking to match the 19-win season achieved by Wauconda in 2005 under Terry Stevig.
"Credit Prairie Ridge," continued Shogren. "Most teams would have folded up and called it a night when they lost one of their best players to a red card. But they didn't, and after that sequence they seemed to find new life, and we made a couple of mistakes that they took advantage of."
There was no mistaking the Bulldogs' first goal from top scorer Kayla Wisniewski, who curled her free kick around the Wolves' four-player wall and into a top-right corner at 19 minutes.
Later, Natalie Thompson doubled the Wauconda advantage when she steered in an 18-yard attempt, and all appeared well for the Bulldogs.
Prairie Ridge, which will play Wheaton Academy (19-5) in a 2A supersectional on Tuesday at Concordia University in River Forest, pulled one back in the 62nd minute when a Melissa Bear corner found the back of the net.
The Wolves went a player down after the referee sent off Jena Berkland for an unsporting tackle just after the Bear goal. But coach Andre Watson's club turned the negative into a positive as it enjoyed the run of play right up until the 80th minute game-winner.
"We made a few adjustments after Jena went out, and I have to say the girls played harder after the red card than they did before, and it helped us get back in the game, and eventually win it," said Watson.
The Wolves drew even with seven minutes remaining to set-up the Weil heroics, which came when her left-footed blast found its way through.
"We brought 22 players here tonight," said Shogren, "and 17 will be back -- and hopefully so will we, next year in the sectional final."