Girls soccer: Libertyville, Lake Zurich battle to 1-1 draw

Libertyville battled back from an early goal down against Lake Zurich as the sides played to an exciting, white knuckle 1-1 draw Thursday night in an important NSC match at Walter R. Johnson Sports Complex in Libertyville.

Shea Krakowski's glorious goal would draw the Wildcats back level just moments into the second half to cancel a terrific strike from Sam Keating just two minutes into this contest to help the home side take one more step toward a league title.

"Obviously we would have liked to come away with a win tonight. But I was happy with the way we fought back from that from that early goal (and) play some very good soccer on both sides of the ball," said Wildcats coach Daniel De Paz, whose club is now 8-2-1 overall, and even with Stevenson at 3-0-1.

"We got off to a great start tonight, and really played well against a great opponent. During the first half (we had) our chances, then bounced back from their equalizer, and gave a great 80 minute effort," said Bears coach Mike Casanova.

"We needed to get a win to stay close in the race (so) the draw hurts us a little more than it does Libertyville, but we played with so much confidence tonight, and did so many really good things, which is encouraging after back-to-back losses heading into tonight."

The Bears are 10-4-1 on the season, 1-2-1 in the NSC, with a nonconference match at Grayslake Central on Saturday.

Bears leading scorer Lauren Bailey (19 goals, 10 assists) would help put the visitors in front when she played a lovely ball to her teammate Keating whose effort from 22 yards found the far inside netting.

The Bears would receive quality in the middle of the park from Riley Irvin and freshman Sydney Arendarczyk to help their club enjoy plenty of the play until the home side came into the game at 20 minutes when more purpose, pace and ball winning turned this into more of an even affair.

"Our midfield did a great job tracking back and defending, especially in the first half against a team that we knew would play hard, physical (and) attack quickly whenever they could," said Bears senior Maggie Miller, who was strong all throughout in her role as a central defender.

Krakowski would stun the visitors with an unstoppable 30-yard missile off the dribble to start the second period. And with the freshman's sixth goal of the season, the Wildcats attack would find another gear.

When De Paz moved his center-back Pru Babat in as the Wildcats attacking midfielder in the 50th minute - and switch to a 4-4-2 formation - it would signal the start of an impressive 15 minutes of soccer from the home side.

Quick passing, some nice combination play and good movement away from the ball would lead to a pair of quality chances on frame - in which Bears keeper Erin Bohn saved the day.

"We did our best to create chances. But their keeper made two incredible saves to keep this game even," said De Paz.

Ellie Rebman, who held the ball well up top and ran at the Bears' backline all night long, beat a pair of challengers in the 70th minute. And if not for a brave tackle from Kate O'Neill, the 'Cats senior would have been in on Bohn.

"We knew Libertyville would come out in the second half with more urgency, but I thought we handled the pressure they put on us really well in the second half to keep things even," said Miller, who is teammates with a handful of Wildcats in club soccer.

Next up for Libertyville will be Mundelein next Tuesday.

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