Girls soccer: Lyons holds off Barrington in state semifinals
Lyons Township would defeat Barrington 2-1 in a heart-stopping, 80-minute Class 3A state girls semifinal contest on Friday before a jam-packed Garber Stadium at Hoffman Estates High School.
Jordan Lee-Caracci would strike the eventual game-winner in the 28th minute, but her teammate Izzy Lee was the real hero on the day as the LT keeper came to the rescue in the second half to make three brilliant goal-saving stops to help ensure victory and a place in Saturday's state final.
"Izzy came up big for us when we really needed her to," said LT head coach Bill Lanspeary, who hopes to guide his club to its first state title in program history on Saturday against downstate O'Fallon (19-2-0).
Friday's semifinal featured two of the stingiest defensive units in the Final Four if not the state, as they combined to concede just 6 goals between them, with LT having just two find there way into the back of the net.
Despite this extraordinary statistic, the game was wide open from the referee's whistle, with each club having a handful of quality chances.
Barrington senior and DePaul-bound Jen Devona hit the opener in the 7th minute, giving her 19 on the season, when she steered in a long punt from keeper Coast Liapis past Lee.
Reese Komsthoeft bagged the equalizer sixty seconds later to cancel out the Devona goal and it stayed that way until Lee-Caraci buried her one-timer at the back post when she met a near-perfect corner from Komsthoeft for her 14th on the season.
"I thought we actually came out a little flat and tentative but we started to get back in the game towards the end of the half," said Barrington (17-2-2) coach Ryan Stengren, who has now collected six state trophies since 2013, two of which were back-to-back state crowns in 2017 and 2018.
Liapis was superb when called upon just minutes into the second half when the Fillies' senior went in full extension to make a glove save on a point-blank attempt from Lee-Caraci, who watched her sure goal turn around the post.
Eleanor Musgrove would test Liapis at 53 minutes on a restart following an injury to a Fillies' player but for the next 25 minutes it was plenty of one-way traffic for the Fillies, who did everything they could to create quality chances, only to have Izzy Lee and her back line keep the Mid-Suburban League champions from getting back even.
The first of three magnificent saves by Lee came against Devona, who was sent through by Ellie Sanchez in the 56th minute, then in the 72nd minute, an amazing late save on Riley Raynor, who curled her left-footed 8-yarder toward an open net.
Brooke Brown nearly equalized in the 80th minute, if not for a sensational save from Lee, who once again, used her 5-foot-10 frame to stretch as far as she could to give LT (20-0-0) its biggest win of its season thus far.
"That save on my shot just after the half was the best I've seen in my life, but luckily for us, we had Izzy really come through for us also," said Lee-Caraci.
"We played great in the second half. We did everything but score," said Stengren. "Their keeper made some great saves. They are very well organized in the back, and I am very proud of the girls, and the effort they gave tonight."