Girls soccer: Schaffer's double-overtime goal lifts Crystal Lake Central past Burlington Central
Addison Schaffer saw her opportunity and went for it.
Schaffer created scoring chances for Crystal Lake Central throughout Tuesday afternoon's match against Burlington Central, but the Tigers came up empty on all but one shot. When she found herself with another opportunity as she streaked down the pitch with 8 minutes left in double-overtime, Schaffer decided to give it one more try.
Her gamble paid off, scoring to lead the Tigers to a 2-1 in a match that could decide the Fox Valley Conference title.
"It's really huge and I'm glad that I scored it," said Schaffer, a freshman. "It's really confidence boosting. This was our biggest game to lift us up and keep us in first."
The Tigers (11-3, 7-0) kept firing in overtime after coming up with one goal during regulation. Rockets goalkeeper Mackenize Lorkowski stopped 13 of the 14 shots she faced in regulation but the Tigers knew that eventually something had to go in.
After going scoreless in the first overtime period, the Tigers gained possession and Schaffer started sprinting down the sideline with the ball. She saw teammate Brooklynn Carlson following her down the middle of the pitch, but once Schaffer noticed that she had Lorkowski beat, she tapped the ball in and it slid in the corner of the net to secure the win.
"She's tried some different things, it takes a little bit of confidence but she's earned that ability to make those decisions and she did amazing." Tigers coach Sarah Fack said. "She's done great all season. I'm really glad she got that goal for us."
The Tigers made it into overtime after trailing 1-0 at the half. They put together six shots on goal, had three corner kicks and even earned a penalty kick, but the Tigers couldn't get anything past Lorkowski.
Fack told her team to be smarter with their shot selection and to make things more difficult for the Rockets by playing more balls and CLC finally responded when Jillian Mueller scored off a free kick with 26:14 left in regulation.
"After enough times we knew we were going to get one," Fack said. "It's just a matter of time."
The Rockets (9-5-1, 5-1-1) made the most of their opportunities early, scoring on their first shot on goal when Ava Elders found the back of the net with 18:18 left in the first half. Lorkowski locked down the rest of the match while the Rockets created different scoring chances.
Tuesday was the second match the Rockets played without one of their top scorers and leaders in Eva Boer, who will miss the rest of the season after tearing her ACL. Rockets coach Jessica Arenson was proud of what her team learned in a tough matchup as it attempts to adjust offensively for the postseason.
"I think it was important that they understand that she's a gap that we have to fill but we can fill it," Arneson said. "That lesson that we learned is a little more important than winning sometimes. I'll take what I can get."
The Rockets return to action Thursday when they host Cary-Grove while the Tigers will host McHenry the same day. Tuesday's win gave the Tigers a four-point lead at the top of the FVC standings and they can win their fourth straight conference title Thursday if they win and the Rockets lose.
Tuesday's match was a perfect taste of what the Tigers will experience in a couple weeks once the playoffs begin.
"It's nice to get the win and nice to play against a team that really pushes us to finish our chances," Fack said. "In the playoffs, that's what you need to do."