Girls soccer: Libertyville nips Hersey in OT; Fremd edges Stevenson in Glenbrook North Sectional

It was a game that had everything - 100 minutes of heartstopping, pulsating soccer.

In the end it was a 86th minute strike from Ellie Rebmann that sent Libertyville to a 4-3 win in overtime over Hersey.

The win sends Libertyville to the Glenbrook North sectional final against top seed Fremd on Friday in Northbrook at William Lutz Stadium.

"We beat (them) in the first game of the season, but both teams have gone through a lot of changes, and each of us have improved so much since then (but) we knew it was going to be a tough battle all throughout," said Rebmann, who gave the Wildcats its first lead just moments before intermission with her 18th goal of the season.

"Our work rate, and effort at the start of the game was not anywhere near what we wanted to see from the team - but in the second half, we had a 15-20 stretch where we did everything really well (except) put one into the back of the net, and when we didn't, it cost us," admitted Wildcats (15-2-2) coach, Daniel De Paz.

The MSL East champion Huskies (13-8-1) were coming off a dominating effort last Friday to win the regional title over Mundelein, but instantly found themselves chasing the Wildcats on a Molly Koch goal at three minutes.

Megan Mrowicki equalized a minute later when she found the far inside netting from the right side for her 31st of the year.

It would bring the Huskies back level near the hour when the Wildcats were unable to clear the area following a Gracie Lisota corner in the 56th minute.

"It was back-and-forth all night long (we) showed a lot of heart after giving up that early first goal, and never stopped playing the rest of the way - it was just a great show of soccer by two great soccer teams," said Huskies head coach, Mike Rusniak.

With the Wildcats having led nearly all of the play, it would be Faith Sena who would stun the NSC champions in the 69th minute to give Rusniaks' club its first lead of the night.

On the brink of falling short in its bid to advance, Wildcats co-captain, Pru Babat found a way to steer her close range attempt past Huskies keeper, Alli Paulsen in the 78th minute to send this contest into a pair of ten minute extra sessions.

Once there, Babat went wide, and did Jenna Krakowski at the end of a nicely played buildup that eventually led to Rebmann's heroics.

"We had a play on for our corner, and apparently it was called off - but I pulled off of my run a little, and ran to the spot where Maddy (Kopala) played a great ball for me to finish," Rebmann said.

"It's a tough way to go out, but I am so proud of this team for the effort, and fight they gave tonight, and with the way they improved each, and every week in order to get this far into the playoffs," Rusniak said.

The Wildcats wore white tape around their wrists emblazoned with the name "Bitta," in honor of the long-time Hall-of-Fame, and former Libertyville boys, and girls head coach who died Sunday night.

Andy Bitta won 455 games on the boys side, and 310 while in charge of the girls program. He retired in 2017.

Fremd 2, Stevenson 1

Gwen Zimmerman's first half double would be enough to carry No. 1 Fremd over Stevenson Tuesday night in the first sectional semifinal contest.

The Vikings freshmen bagged her two goals just five minutes apart to help lead her club to a 2-1 victory, and earn a spot in the Glenbrook North sectional final against No. 2 Libertyville this Friday evening.

"We were not very good in the first 20-25 minutes of the first half," Zimmerman said.

"(Stevenson) was all over us, and we were fortunate to not give up any goals during that time, because if we did, who knows what the result would have been," she said.

Her teammate agreed.

"We looked, and played tired, but we came to life after Gwen scored her first, and after that, I felt like the game began to even out," said Vikings junior, Gemma Gillespie.

During the first quarter hour, the Patriots (14-6-1) put three attempts on frame, and another three off target - with most of the pressure coming from its leading scorer, Ellie Egeland (17 goals) and her midfield teammates, Haylie Popkey, and Leah Stodola.

"I feel like we had more of the play for most of the first half, and at times in the second half, but we just were not able to finish out chances, and they (Fremd) did," Popkey said.

Zimmerman's opener came at 33 minutes - initiated by a long throw from Bella Scesniak - and she would double the Vikings (17-3-1) advantage five minutes later with a brilliant finish at the back post on a header off a Ava Catherall corner.

Egeland pulled one back for the NSC champion Patriots when she unloaded a 40-yard left-footed thunderbolt, which opened up play considerably that made the final 20 minutes or regulation intense, and frantic at the same time.

"If we could have got one (goal) in that first 20 minutes of the game, I really feel like the momentum, and energy would have gone our way, and maybe it's a different result, but we played hard, and well enough to win - we just fell a little short," said Patriots terrific central defender, Hailey Livesay.

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