Girls soccer: O'Fallon dashes Libertyville's state title hopes
It's been 20 years, since Libertyville's girls soccer program last played in the Final Four at the state tournament.
The Wildcats had a leg up into the second half of the Class 3A state semifinal Friday night until downstate O'Fallon scored a pair of goals 8 minutes apart.
It left Libertyville on the wrong side and O'Fallon pulled off a 2-1 victory at Hoffman Estates High School.
O'Fallon (19-2) advances to the state championship game against Lyons (20-0) on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. while Libertyville (17-2) will play Barrington (17-2-2) in the third place match at 2:30 p.m. at Fremd. Lyons won the other semifinal 2-1 over Barrington.
"I told the girls at the end of the game that I'm absolutely proud of everything that we've done this year," Libertyville coach Daniel Da Paz said. "This game, we have to hold our heads high. Obviously, it wasn't the result we wanted. We played hard and made adjustments through the game, but things didn't go our way."
Seeing O'Fallon score the 2 goals and rally back wasn't really something the Wildcats wanted to see happen to them and it hasn't happened all season.
"O'Fallon was a good team. When you make it this far in the playoffs, you know that you're a good team," De Paz said. "We just tried to contain their forwards that they have up top. That was a tough task throughout the game. They were able to score a couple of times."
The Wildcats opened the scoring off a corner kick, which Abby Gordon hit in the 20th minute for a 1-0 lead,
"We had a corner that Sally Grace Rogers had headed it," Gordon said. "I really set up late for the run, which I made the run off the header."
The Panthers found the tying goal in the 53rd minute and in the run of play going toward the Wildcats' goal.
Avery Christopher scored off an assist from Avery Mister for the 1-1 tie.
Then O'Fallon got the lead in the 59th minute off a free kick just outside the box. Kiley McMinn sent a low touch pass onto the foot of Mister, She redirected the kick into the corner for the eventual game-winning goal.
"We've been practicing a lot of set pieces in practice lately," Mister said. "We did what we've been practicing and Kiley played me a really good ball. All I had to do was to find the corner and finish it."
O'Fallon made its way into the Final Four with a big win over Naperville North, also coming from behind in the supersectional earlier in the week.
"Without a doubt, Libertyville was an excellent team that we played," O'Fallon coach Justin Judiscak said. "A lot of credit to them fighting and battling. This was the most difficult team and game that we've seen all year. For us, this is monumental and historic. We've never been to state and we're going into it without any experience. But, I thought it led into our advantage and we're excited to have the opportunity to play for a state championship."