Girls soccer: O'Fallon ends Naperville North's repeat bid
The plan was in place for Naperville North: score first and then use your vast state tournament experience to rattle and hold off O'Fallon while earning a berth in the state finals with a shot at defending the 3A state title that was claimed back in 2019, long before the COVID pandemic.
But the Panthers, who made the long trek from downstate to play in the Lockport supersectional, ruined the script, erasing a 1-0 deficit at the half to defeat the Huskies 2-1 in double overtime after a pair of sparkling goals from O'Fallon midfielder Josie Nieroda.
Naperville North, which had won the 2019 state title, took a 1-0 lead Monday night on a goal by Taylor Korosec who took a tough-angle shot from the right corner that handcuffed Panthers keeper Grace Vincent to give the Huskies an advantage midway through the first half.
But the Huskies would not score again and the Panthers now head off to the state tourney knowing at the very least they will return with a trophy of some sort.
"That's the best team we played all year. No doubt about it," Huskies coach Steve Goletz said of the 18-2 Panthers. "Their movement was fantastic, but it took two fabulous goals by them to break us."
O'Fallon drew even less than 5 minutes into the second half on the first of Nieroda's scores, this one coming on a rebound after the Panthers had struck the right goal post following a restart. The score remained tied at 1-1 through the rest of regulation and for most of the first 10-minute overtime session. But with 1:19 left in that first extra session, Nieroda sprinted down the right side and rocketed a shot back to the left that eluded Huskies keeper Abby Haskell for the eventual game-winner.
Naperville North (12-3-3) created a few scoring chances in the second overtime but just couldn't draw even. Korosec, Olivia Anderson and Cameron DeCook each threatened to deliver the equalizer in the second overtime.
"We had some nervy moments at the beginning. They came at us early on and we had a little deer-in-the-headlights moment," O'Fallon coach Justin Judiscak said. "Then something clicked and we just played our game."
Huskies junior defender Lucy Iverson, who did her best to turn away numerous Panther threats, could only tip her hat to the winners who notched a pair of nifty goals.
"They're a great team," said Iverson, who scored the only goal in her team's sectional championship game defeat of Naperville Central on Friday. "They were the better team tonight. I think we did our best and we can be proud of the way we played. It's unfortunate but they had the better goals tonight."
"O'Fallon was a great opponent," the junior forward said. "It's always fun to play a great team. Unfortunately, today we just didn't have enough goals."