Girls soccer: St. Viator tops Burlington Central to earn state semifinal berth
St. Viator's girls soccer team is through to its first state semifinal since 2018 after a 2-0 defeat of Burlington Central Monday night at the Class 2A Wauconda supersectional.
Emilie Doersching provided the goal-scoring heroics for the Lions (13-4-1), who will play Troy Triad (22-0-1) Friday at 2:30 p.m. at Fremd.
Doersching struck the opener in the 58th minute then added another when she converted her spot kick at 73 minutes.
"We're playing for (coach Mike) Taylor right now," said Doersching, alongside Caroline Sexton, who echoed the comments of her teammate.
Taylor, in his 11th season in charge of the Lions' girls program, and 33rd with the boys, will be leaving the program after this last weekend of the season.
"Taylor would stay forever if he could, so for us to keep him around for a few more days is just a great feeling," added Sexton, who created the PK opportunity for Doersching on a nice turn inside the box.
"To be honest, we could have been down 2-0, maybe 3-0, in that first 25-30 minutes," admitted Taylor, who watched the Rockets (15-7-1) come out on their front foot from the opening whistle to put his club under pressure and on its heels.
"We played nervous and it nearly cost us in the first half," said Doersching.
When BC's magnificent four-year star midfielder Reagan Oller had the ball, the Rockets' attack was running on pure octane and it was her long range cracker that nearly led to coach Jessica Arneson's club taking the lead in the 24th minute.
Lions keeper Lily Collins made the initial save on the Oller attempt but in doing so allowed the ball to spill free inside the box to Eva Samuelian, who hit the outside netting with her effort.
Just afterward, the some wonderful combination play by Oller, Samuelian and Rylee Butler saw the Rockets break through the Lions' back line and in on Collins, only to have the assistant referee raise his flag for the offside call.
"One of my concerns was we created chances and opportunities, but didn't finish them, which has kind of been the way things have gone for us this year and tonight it happened again to us," said Arneson, who was without two starters and would later lose one of her starting central defenders, Emma Kerr, to an injury just before the intermission.
"The girls played hard all throughout the game but with a short bench for this game, our legs began to little heavy in the last 15-20 minutes and that's when we conceded their two goals."
Sexton would find an unmarked Doersching, who calmly steered in her one-timer at the back post for the eventual game-winner.
" (Doersching) and Sexton really came through for us in the second half, and Gabby (Brown) and Zophie Perez did a great job winning balls in the middle to finally help us control the midfield in the second half," said Taylor.
"This group of seniors were beaten in the supers when they were freshmen by St. Viator in 2018 and again this year, so that's the way it goes sometimes," said Arneson.
This will be fourth appearance at the state tournament for Taylor, and eighth overall for the program.
"I told the girls a couple of weeks back to just get us to this game, because I've lost a game when we are one of the final eight left in our class," said a proud Taylor.