Girls Soccer: Sophie Pohl lifts St. Charles North into final
By Patrick McGavin For Sun-Times Media June 1, 2012 10:16PM
St. Charles North players pile on each other after defeating Downers Grove South 2-1 in the Class 3A state semifinals. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 6, 2012 11:19PM
Sophie Pohl was practically distraught. In a game where scoring is at a premium, she misplayed an open net at the end of the first half.
“She was in tears at halftime about not converting on that shot, but I told her she was going to come out and get a goal,” St. Charles North coach Ruth Vostal said.
The lanky 5-10 sophomore forward obliged her coach by scoring in the 45th minute that proved the game-winner as the North Stars clipped Downers South 2-1 in a Class 3A state semifinal Friday night at North Central College in Naperville.
Pohl drilled a ball from about 12 yards out five minutes into the second half to break the deadlock.
“(Junior midfielder) Kelly (Manski) played me a great ball, and I knew I had to get it in, especially after that ball I left out in the first half,” Pohl said.
Pohl’s goal catapulted the North Stars (19-5-2) to the state title match against top-ranked Naperville North Saturday night. St. Charles North is making its first state title appearance since qualifying for the Class AA championship in 2004.
Downers South plays Glenbrook South in the third-place game in legendary coach Barry Jacobson’s final game after his 25-year career.
Pohl’s goal also completed a stunning turnaround that saw the North Stars fall behind in the opening moments of the game. After St. Charles North had two corner kicks to start the game, Downers South junior forward Stephanie Hall took a beautiful cross from sophomore forward Emily Wauer to score 93 seconds into the match.
It was Hall’s first goal of the season and it was also the first goal the North Stars allowed in five state tournament games.
After the initial shock, St. Charles North found its stride and was the clear aggressor. Junior defender Alex Gage broke down the Mustangs’ interior and played a ball down the right sideline that star senior forward Lauren Koehl converted in the 32nd minute.
The goal was Koehl’s team-leading 23rd score on the season.
“Alex made a great play, and I just had to make the shot,” Koehl said. “At the start, we were nervous, it was a big game, and we had a breakdown there, but got back into the game.”
In the final 10 minutes, Downers South (19-6-3) put together a flurry of plays in an aggressive effort to get back into the game. Star senior midfielder Jessica Bronke hit the crossbar in the 71st minute on a direct kick from about 18 yards out. Senior forward Sarrah Ludwig, the Mustangs’ leading scorer with 29 goals, made several of her trademark headers off a throw in. One header skipped just over the crossbar.
Senior North Stars’ keeper Carly Dietrich also made two great lunging stabs of balls in the box that stymied the Mustangs.
“Sarrah’s really tall, and really good in the air and I knew I had to get to those balls,” Dietrich said. “I can’t really describe those plays, they were just instinctive plays on my part.”