Girls soccer: A dream come true for Benet
Mary Kate Hansen and Mary Kate Wilhelm have a lot in common other than sharing the same name, being seniors and playing defense for Benet.
They've also shared the dream of playing in a state title game.
That became a reality during Friday's Class 2A semifinal against Triad when the Redwings defeated the Knights 3-1 at North Central College in downtown Naperville.
With the victory the Redwings (23-3-1) advanced to Saturday's state championship game, where they will take on Wauconda (19-2-1).
"Mary Kate Wilhelm and I were talking before the game about how we used to come to these when we were growing up and we've played together since we were 7 (years old)," Hansen said. "So it's pretty special to be playing together in a state championship."
Hansen even acknowledged that she was confident that she could someday make her dream a reality.
"If you told 8-year-old me that I was playing in a state championship -- and I was pretty confident -- I probably would've believed you," she said. "But I mean it's just been a lifetime goal to get here and we've got one more tomorrow and I couldn't be more excited."
Benet struck first, finally getting on the scoreboard with just 55.6 seconds remaining in the first half.
With Abby Casmere garnering a lot of attention, the Redwings got the ball to someone else when Mae Tully found sophomore forward Mia Tommasone, who buried her 8-yard shot.
Triad (19-4-2) evened things up, though, taking advantage of a loose ball with 31:52 left to play as Avery Bohnenestiehl secured possession of the free kick and fired a 22-yard missile.
"We hate getting scored on," Hansen said. "One of our goals is to keep a shutout every game and when the one goal goes in we know we're not giving up a second goal."
They didn't, but they still needed another one of their own to pull ahead. They got it when Casmere appeared to be taken down by a Triad player but the official signaled a hand ball.
Kate Flynn then converted the penalty kick for a 2-1 lead with only 11:01 remaining in the game.
"Abby earned the PK that I finished and that was fabulous," Flynn said. "She's been really great at holding the ball up there for us and when she earned the PK and they told me to take it, you got to do what you got to do."
Flynn then connected with Casmere on a corner kick with just under six minutes to go, as Casmere volleyed her left-footed shot inside the opposite post to seal the victory.
"That was a great volley by Mia," Flynn said. "Normally Mary Kate Wilhlelm is our target on those because she's one of our best players in the air. I just try to put it right at the top of the sixth, which is where it was and Mia was there and the volley was fantastic."