Girls Soccer: Prairie Ridge downs Burlington Central
By Brandon Mangia For Sun-Times Media May 22, 2012 9:42PM
Updated: July 2, 2012 9:56AM
BELVIDERE — Burlington Central’s defense couldn’t do it on its own Tuesday night in a semifinal matchup against Prairie Ridge at the Class 2A Belvidere Sectional.
With the Wolves constantly on the attack, the Rockets defense and keeper Caitlin Solberg stood tall, allowing just one goal off a turnover as Prairie Ridge notched a 1-0 win and a date in Friday’s sectional final against Freeport.
Prairie Ridge (15-6-1) scored the game’s lone goal with 4:27 left in the first half on a centering pass from Allyson Walsh to Bri Fenton.
“We had the ball in their half the majority of the game but they played well,” said Wolves coach Josh Iverson. “Obviously the finishing piece wasn’t there for us. They have a really good goalie and their back four are very well disciplined.”
Solberg, a senior, had 19 saves in goal — sprawling out and diving to stop several Prairie Ridge shots.
“I think Solberg was amazing for us,” said Central coach Mike Gecan. “That game right there…she’s an all-stater. I don’t even know how she gets robbed all the time.”
It looked like it could be a long night for the Rockets after the Wolves produced a handful of quality shots within the first 10 minutes of the game. But Solberg, along with defenders Jessica Martinez, Chloe Plum and Lindsey Puccio, among others, kept Central a goal away from a tie game.
“It gets kind of nervous fighting off shots but then you get into it after you make the first save and you want to keep making more,” Solberg said. “I just needed my team to pull up for me and they started to, and my defense has always been there for me and I give credit to them.”
While Solberg and company were busy fighting off shots, Prairie Ridge keeper Brooke Laibly didn’t have much company on her side of the field. The Rockets (16-7-2) produced just one shot on goal, which came with 1:30 left in the game on a strike from Camille Dela Cruz. Laibly was able to make a diving block and cover the ball up just before the Rockets had a chance for a rebound.
“If you want to go far in the postseason there needs to be part of you that’s willing to give everything you have,” Gecan said. “Unfortunately, it was tough for some of the girls to let go until the end of the game when we started pushing a little.”