By Todd Rohde

SPORTS CORRESPONDENT

What a postseason run it was this year for the Johnsburg girls’ soccer team, as the Lady Skyhawks proved that anything can and usually does happen once the playoffs begin. The Skyhawks came together and gelled as a team and peaked at the right time, as played with a great deal of confidence and athleticism in putting together their most successful season in the school’s history.

The Skyhawks were rewarded for their efforts as well by not only making their first appearance at the State Tournament in the program’s history, but also finishing as the state’s fourth best team along the way. In fact Johnsburg, which finished the season with a 14-8 overall mark, became the first team in any sport at the school to advance as far as the big dance.

By the time that it was all said and done, the Skyhawks came up a little short in falling to Alton Marquette Catholic by a competitive 2-1 margin in the IHSA Class 1A State Tournament third-place bout May 25th at North Central College in Naperville. The defeat wasn’t a result of lack of effort, as the Skyhawks gave the Explorers all that they could handle in a contest that just as easily could have gone either way.

It was the Explorers that got on the board first, by scoring the first and only goal of the first half. Alton’s Kate Sanfilippo took in an unassisted shot at the 12:30 mark of the first half and found the back of the net.

Despite trailing at the break, the Skyhawks regrouped and came out with some intensity in the second half to knot the score at 1-1.  At the 8:45 mark of the second, Delaney Pruitt dished off an assisted pass to teammate Olivia Jansen and she finished things off by placing the ball in the corner of the net for the score.

Despite having the momentum on their side after the score, Johnsburg was unable to find the net again although they had attempts and chances. Finally with the game on the line, the Explorers would find a way to break the deadlock and come away on top.

With just under 13 minutes remaining in regulation, the Explorers scored and overtook a 2-1 advantage and then made it last for the win. Alton’s Caroline Hoefert took an assisted pass from Sanfilippo and split the poles for the gamewinner.

The Skyhawks only had one other shot on goal in the game, which Alton’s Abby Porter deflected. Johnsburg goalie Kelsey Stefka kept her team in the game by producing four saves in the game.

Earlier in the week in the first round play, the Skyhawks were the recipient of falling 5-2 to Quincy Notre Dame in the IHSA Class 1A State semifinals May 24th at North Central College in Naperville.

It was the Raiders that got on the board first, as they took a 1-0 lead at the 13:30 mark of the first half as Ericka Obert took a feeder pass from Cassidy Foley and converted. Not to be outdone, the Skyhawks battled back to tied it at 1-1 when Sarah Weaver passed the ball off to Pruitt who found the net with just under 15 minutes left in the first.

Unfortunately though, the momentum didn’t stay in Johnsburg’s favor for long as the Raiders added a pair of goals less than 10 minutes apart to take a 3-1 lead at the half. Foley and Jordan Frericks accounted for all the damage, as Foley assisted Frericks on the first goal at the 28:16 mark as then Frericks assisted on Foley’s goal with 35:33 left on the clock in the first half.

Notre Dame would remain in control and put the game away in the second half as they never trailed. They padded their lead to 4-1 on an unassisted goal from Abby Grawe just 13:50 into the second.

Pruitt would score on a penalty kick late in the game with less than six minutes left to cut it to 4-2. But not even a minute later, the Raiders added an insurance goal on an unassisted shot by Foley to seal the deal.

The Skyhawks had four other potential shots on goal in the game that were stopped, while Johnsburg goalie Kadie Calymeyer was busy at the net in making nine saves on the day.

Johnsburg made it State by bettering Elmhurst’s Immaculate Conception 2-1 in the IHSA Class 1A Hinckley-Big Rock Supersectional May 23rd. The Skyhawks scored a pair of goals in the first five minutes from Jansen and Pruitt and then made the lead last for the win.

 

 

 
 

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