Girls soccer: WW South's Siebert nets game-winner against West Chicago
Just four goals shy of an undefeated run through the regular season, Wheaton Warrenville South isn't your typical sixth seed.
But in their postseason opener Wednesday, the Tigers got all they could handle from West Chicago and goalkeeper Haley Rich before pulling out a 2-1 victory at the Class 3A Hoffman Estates regional.
Audrey Siebert netted the game-winner with just more than 10 minutes remaining, with her low shot from 25 yards out sneaking just inside the left goal post. That was one of 27 shots toward the goal that WW South registered in the match, 15 of which were saved by Rich, many of the diving variety. Two more hit the crossbar, while others sailed just over.
"We had so many opportunities," Siebert said. "We knew one would come eventually if we kept shooting. Mine just happened to be the lucky one that went in."
The Wildcats (10-9-4), who went 4-0-1 to close the regular season, had tied the score on a 30-yard perfectly placed free kick by Barbie Castellanos with 28 minutes left. That goal turned out to be the only shot of the contest by West Chicago.
"We always want to possess the ball," West Chicago coach J. Cesar Gomez said, "and try to be effective with the opportunities we get. We were very effective, we were 1-for-1. But I think the nerves of the game got to us, we were a little too nervous.
"But I'm proud of this group. They fight hard. We played great those last five matches and then this, losing to Wheaton South 2-1 is a celebration for us. Guy (Callipari, the WW South coach) does a great job. That's a great squad."
The Tigers opened the scoring less than five minutes into the match when Maria Dohse moved up from the back line to deflect J.J. Aalbue's corner kick into the back of the net. Dohse is a key component of a defense that has allowed just 14 goals this spring.
"That was a beautiful ball by J.J.," Dohse said. "I go up there as a defender to try to get the ball. We know starting today, this could be our last game, so you have to execute every opportunity given."
In improving to 14-4-2, WW South advances to Friday's regional final against St. Charles East. The Tigers, who start eight seniors, lost to the Saints 1-0 back on April 30, one of four 1-goal defeats suffered this season. But at full strength now with the return of Allie Anderson, they hope to switch the result.
"Hopefully, we rise to the occasion," Callipari said. "(The Saints) are perhaps more consistent in what they've done, but being given the opportunity to play them again, we are excited about that.
"As for today, give credit to West Chicago. They are well-coached, they are well-organized. They got that goal to drive up their motivation and their goalie played stellar. It took a great shot to beat her."