Girls lacrosse: Benet downs Conant to punch state ticket
With 12 minutes gone in Tuesday's girls lacrosse supersectional at Streamwood, Conant could have -- and maybe should have -- been up by 2 goals over Benet.
That the Redwings led 1-0 at that point was a tribute to the extraordinary play of goalie Madeline Jensen.
Jensen, a freshman, made 3 spectacular point-blank saves in the early going, and her play sparked Benet to a 12-3 win at Millennium Field.
Shannon Earley and Northwestern-bound senior Karly Keating each scored 4 goals in the win, and now the Redwings head to the state semifinals Thursday at 5 p.m. at Glenbrook North where they'll face Glenbrook South, winner of the Hoffman Estates supersectional.
"She was outstanding," said Redwings coach Jadae McGuire of Jensen. "She's a young freshman who has matured throughout the season, and she works tirelessly day in and day out."
"It was awesome to see," added the coach. "Fantastic stuff, energetic stuff and our team really rallied behind her today."
Margaret Snyder opened the scoring for Benet with 3 minutes gone by, then Jensen was up to the task, making saves on hard shots by Cougars Ashley Cyr (twice) and Mikayla Nelson.
Benet, playing great defense, raced to a fast and furious 4-0 advantage before a goal from Cyr cut into the Redwings' lead.
Then Keating, Elizabeth Russell-Jones, and Keating again scored just before halftime to send Benet to a 7-1 lead at intermission.
"All of our defenders were playing awesome," said Jensen. "They really saved me. They forced the attackers to the outside and set it up so it was easier for me to make the saves."
Conant got a boost right after halftime when Nelson scored to make it 7-2.
But right after that Jensen was at it again, making 4 saves in the span of 3 minutes to stop any thoughts of a Conant comeback.
Then Benet put a flurry of goals on the board to put the game away, denting the net 3 times in less than a minute.
"Their goalie did a great job," said Conant coach Eric Jacobsen, "and they (Benet) had a couple of stretches where they put some back-to-back-to-back goals in. Digging out of that hole was a challenge, but our 10 seniors did what they've done all year, a tremendous job of keeping everybody focused and on the same page."
Dagny Tombaugh had the other 2 goals for the Redwings.
"This is a surreal feeling," said Jensen, who started playing lacrosse in seventh grade, at the position of goalkeeper from the get-go. "All of the girls on this team are amazing, and I'm so proud of them. We are like a family."
"Definitely one of our biggest wins, if not the biggest win in program history," added McGuire.
Mackenzie Lunkes, one of the stellar Conant group of seniors, scored the final Cougars goal Tuesday and said that the success of her squad this year was all about teamwork.
"We are really good playing as a team, and we all work together and pick each other up," said Lunkes. "I'm really proud of the way we held our own all season long. All of the seniors came together this year, we have a tight-knit group of seniors and we tried our best to help out the younger kids and set the pace for them."