Girls soccer: Johnson delivers as Wauconda prevails in double OT
Belle Johnson may be only be a freshman, but she has grown up quickly this season playing varsity soccer for Wauconda.
The midfielder scored the game-winning goal in the second overtime to lift top-seeded Wauconda past No. 4Deerfield 2-1 in double-overtime in the Class 2A sectional semifinals at Antioch on Tuesday night.
Wauconda (16-2-2) will next play No. 5 Vernon Hills in the sectional final at 5 p.m. Friday.
"We told the girls earlier today that every game is going to be a battle from this point on," Wauconda coach Beau Shogren said. "I felt like this game could have gone either way. (Deerfield) had put a lot of pressure on us early. Once we scored the first goal, we really felt the momentum shift. Then it was even in the second half, before we let one in. But we're glad to get the heroics at the end."
The Bulldogs have had a number of close games this season and continue to find ways to get the job done.
"It was perseverance, for one," Shogren said. "We were trying to keep the girls calm and cool out there in a high-pressure situation. It's not easy to do. Our message going into overtime was, 'Keep pushing and keep pushing. Don't get frustrated. Don't react to the other players and something (positive) will happen.' "
Johnson delivered in the 94th minute in front of the goal, as she scored her eight goal of the season off a free kick from Morgan Lung.
"It was amazing," Johnson said. "I was told by many of the players to go to the back post. I got my foot on it and it was kind of a lucky goal."
Wauconda opened the scoring in the 28th minute, when Rosalie Wisniewski scored on a half-volley kick off a touch pass from Lung.
Deerfield (13-12-2) evened the match up 1-1 in the 55th minute. Holly Deutch served a ball to the middle of the box, where Marissa Hylund took control of it and found the back of the net.
The score remained tied through regulation and battled into the second ten-minute overtime, before Johnson's winner.
"We knew what to expect and we knew that they were a really good team," Deerfield coach Rich Grady said of the Bulldogs. "We wanted to come out and compete physically, and we did that. I think overtime was a fair result. We had a lot of chances and (Wauconda) finished a chance. Congrats to them."
Vernon Hills 1, Lake Forest 0 (2 OT): Fifth-seeded Vernon Hills went the distance for the second straight postseason game.
Behind the leg of Abby Kempf, the Cougars got past No. 2 Lake Forest 1-0 in 2 overtimes.
Kempf collected a loose ball and placed it the back of the net in the 95th minute. It was only her second goal of the season.
"We worked hard for the corner (kick) and Marley Reback hit a great ball," Kempf said. "There was a big scramble in front of the goal and I was lucky enough to get a touch on it. It was a complete swarm of people, and I was trying to get any body part on it. I think it was my shin or my foot to get it."
Vernon Hills (9-7-5) played the match without key starters Alex Ludolph and Julia Neary. Both had to sit out because of injuries in the regional final victory over St. Viator.
"It was a well-fought contested game," Vernon Hills coach Mike McCaulou said. "Lake Forest was a No. 2 seed for a reason. We've trained for games like this, and this is the second overtime game for us. With our players out with injuries, it's just another opportunity for other players off the bench to step up. Those two players are not replaceable. We just tried to do a great job to fill the void. Everyone on the bench can do that collectively. We're not sure if they can come back yet. It's day to day and hopefully we can have them for us."
Lake Forest finished 11-8-2.
"Both teams had some chances, but in the end (Vernon Hills) got one to go in beat us," Lake Forest coach Ty Stuckslager said. "I knew it might end that way. I thought we played the last two overtimes well. We just couldn't get anything going. Their defense did a great job and they put us under pressure at times."