Girls soccer: St. Edward stops Westminster in regional final
St. Edward has taken this route before in the postseason. The Green Wave needed just one goal to do it and picked up another regional championship Saturday.
Rachel Martini scored the game-winning goal and lifted top-seeded St. Edward past Westminster Christian 1-0 in the Class 1A Cristo Rey-St. Martin regional final at Dugdale Park in Waukegan on Saturday afternoon.
St. Edward (6-11) will next play Willows Academy in the Cristo Rey-St. Martin sectional semifinal at the Sports Park in Waukegan on Tuesday afternoon.
Willows Academy beat Regina Dominican 2-1 taking the Christian Liberty Academy regional on Friday night.
On Saturday, the Green Wave had to earn their way to the sectional in a hard-fought match up against the Warriors (11-1-1).
"That's two tough teams and we're not the New Triers or the Stevensons of the world," St. Edward coach Tim Brieger said. "That was two teams same size 350 kids in each school that put it all out there. Their girls put it all out there and hats off to Westminster. They were going to will their team to win. Our girls were able to get through it all. It came all the way down to the wire. It was 22 girls doing awesome."
St. Edward had in its minds to go after the regional just like last year, when they beat Westminster in the regional on the same field.
"We've had games canceled because of weather and an inconsistent schedule," Brieger said. "We just wanted to keep the streak alive."
Martini scored her the game-winner in the 24th minute for the Green Wave. The junior forward scored her 22nd goal of the season after taking a pass from Kathleen Ellsworth.
"I was able to play the ball to my feet and I was able to get a great touch forward," said Martini, who made a run for about 40 yards before scoring. "It set me up for the shot and I was ecstatic. My mind was like go and I love running. At first, I didn't know if I had enough space between the defenders. I wasn't sure my touch was enough to get past her. But, I was able to touch it on a good angle and from there I was in."
The Green Wave keeper Rebecca Wright made 10 stops with 6 of them in the second half. But she had plenty of help in front of her from her defenders Madalynn Duffy, Ariann Franco, Rachel Hicks and Lexi Wisniewski.
"It was tough and a challenge," Duffy said. "Westminster forwards were speedy, but the mindset was to hold a strong line and defense wins games."
The Warriors had their chances around the goal with a couple of outstanding chances of tying the game in the final 15 minutes, seeing a shot go off the crossbar and getting a point-blank shot up top of the box.
"Sometimes the ball bounces in the right direction and sometimes it doesn't," Westminster Christian coach David Siers said. "We were a little ambitious and with the chances we had, we were a little off. (St. Edward) was a good athletic squad. I wish there was another game."
Still, the season for the Warriors was a good one with just a tie with Hampshire and going unbeaten until the loss to St. Edward.
"It was like a family this year," Siers said. "They love each other, they work hard for each other. The girls didn't want it to end. It's something I look forward to and they look forward to every day. It's a fun thing playing soccer together."