Girls soccer: At last, Wauconda nets sectional title
For Wauconda, trying to get past the sectional final has been like taking a shot and hitting the post time after time without scoring.
Friday night, the third time was the charm for the Bulldogs. After seeing its season end in the sectional final the last two year, top-seeded Wauconda pulled out a 2-0 win over No. 5 Vernon Hills for the Class 2A Antioch sectional championship.
It's the first sectional title for Wauconda (17-2-2), which advances to Tuesday's Grayslake Central supersectional. The Bulldogs will play the winner of Saturday's Hampshire sectional final between Crystal Lake Central and Prairie Ridge at Huntley.
"It was our third try and we finally fought through it," Wauconda coach Beau Shogren said. "I just think this group is playing together very well and things are connecting with good communication.
"But give a lot of credit to Vernon Hills," Shogran added. "They were the ones that set the tone in the first 10-15 minutes of the match, and then we settled into it."
Neither team allowed many scoring opportunities in the first half, which ended with neither having scored.
"At the half, I told the girls to stick with it and be patient," Shogren said. "I was feeling (momentum) shifting. We finally sneaked one in and the rest was history."
Wauconda found the back of the net with two-second half goals in four minutes.
Savanna Johnson put the Bulldogs on the board in the 47th minute, when she took a service from Morgan Lung and half-volleyed a shot the goal.
"It actually hit the top of my knee. It was a messy one," Johnson said. "It was more due to preparation in practice. We ran that five times. It was great to connect off that. (Lung) had a beautiful ball that every time is on a dime. I was making a curved run in for it."
Megan Sinnott scored four minutes later, taking a feed from Belle Johnson and slotting it off the post into the back of the net.
For the second match in a row, Vernon Hills (9-8-3) played without starters Julia Neary and Alex Ludolph. Both suffered injuries in the regional final against St. Viator.
"It's unfortunate and nobody is going to make excuses," Vernon Hills coach Mike McCaulou said. "But nobody is naive that those two don't help us. This group did it without them in the majority of the game against St. Viator and against a quality team like Lake Forest. You have to give them credit."
The Cougars had never played in a sectional final.
"Super proud of the team and the run that we had as a No. 5 seed," McCaulou said. "The schedule we play helped us out in 2A. You have to give credit to a lot of our players and the seniors."