Girls soccer: Montini rallies to take third at state
Montini midfielder Sawyer White spent her senior year trying to be the best leader she could be.
She set a high bar.
White capped a stellar high school sports career Saturday by helping the Broncos win their first state trophy in girls soccer. She converted the first penalty kick in the shootout of Montini's 3-2 comeback victory over Normal U-High in the Class 1A third-place game at North Central College.
White, who finished the season with 10 goals and 19 assists, will play soccer and basketball at Illinois Wesleyan. She was captain in both sports at Montini this year.
The Broncos (14-5-1) had never won a sectional before this season but advanced to the state finals with a roster stocked with 12 freshmen, six of whom started.
Junior forward Maren Hoovel, who scored 26 goals to lead the Broncos in scoring for the second straight season, served as a co-captain with White and senior defender Anna Carrigan this season.
Like White, Hoovel also plays basketball. She sat out this winter while recovering from a torn ACL suffered a year ago, but returned to the soccer field better than ever and scored twice Saturday after Alyssa Brown and Alison Heller scored on breakaways to give Normal U-High (16-11) a 2-0 lead in the first half.
Hoovel put the Broncos on the board with 12:40 left in the first half. She beat a defender into the left side of the box before poking a right-footed shot inside the right post for her 25th goal of the season.
Even so, Montini was on the brink of defeat when White heaved a throw-in toward the middle of the Pioneers' box. Hoovel got to in the middle of a scrum and rolled a shot inside the right post to tie the game at 2-2 with 2:50 to go in regulation.
The Broncos were even happier after winning the ensuing shootout 4-2. White, freshman Naomy Gonzalez, Hoovel and junior Jillian Parrilli converted penalty kicks for Montini, while freshman goalkeeper Natalie Gartland stopped two of U-High's four attempts.