Girls Soccer: St. Charles North loses title match in 4 OT
By Patrick McGavin For Sun-Times Media June 2, 2012 10:38PM
St. Charles North goalkeeper Carly Dietrich snatches the ball away from Zoe Swift (right) of Naperville North. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 5, 2012 2:00AM
Christa Szalach knew time was running out.
“I had to take a shot,” the Naperville North junior midfielder said. “You can’t win unless you take a shot.”
Taking a beautiful backtap from senior teammate Hunter Drendel, Szalach smashed a ball from the left side from about 12 yards out in the 119th minute that provided the Huskies the dramatic 1-0 Class 3A state championship over St. Charles North on Saturday night at North Central College in Naperville.
Her goal came with 42 seconds remaining in the fourth overtime and staved off a potential penalty kick shootout after the two teams.
“Hunter left me a great ball, and I just knew I had to take a shot,” she said.
It was her eighth goal of the season. Her score came with Naperville North star junior and leading scorer Zoe Swift on the sideline, nursing a cramp she suffered with about five minutes in the fourth overtime.
Naperville North (24-1-2) went nearly wire-to-wire, opening the season No. 1 and enduring a difficult stretch where they lost to rival Naperville Central on penalty kicks in the finals of the Naperville Invite. They also tied the Redhawks and Plainfield North.
“We got our redemption,” Szalach said, referring to the team’s 1-0 heartbreaking loss to Granite City in last year’s 3A state final. “That was so hard, to play so well and work so hard to get to the state final and then not win. We didn’t want to go through that again.”
Swift nearly won it late in regulation but her rebound off a an Abbie Boswell ball that hit the crossbar flew over the top.
With Swift out late, the precocious Boswell, the team’s second-leading scorer, took over. With under a minute remaining in the fourth overtime, she controlled a loose ball and directed it to Drendel. Her quick maneuver caught the North Stars out of balance, and gave Szalach just enough space to fire in the game-winner.
“I knew Christ was behind me,” Drendel said. “I always know where the runners are coming from, and I knew there wasn’t much time, so we had to go quickly.”
First-year coach Steve Goletz inherited a deeply talented roster. He orchestrated the team brilliantly.
“I’m so blessed to be in a situation where I could come in with such a talented group of kids,” he said. “Obviously the program was already established. It’s an amazing feeling.”
The North Stars (19-6-2) fought Naperville North to the wire. Star senior forward Lauren Koehl had one shot hit the crossbar and watched Naperville North keeper Allison Hitchcock make a diving stop early in the fourth overtime.
“It was a good shot, and she made a great save,” Koehl said. “We were considered the underdog, and we gave them everything they wanted.
“It was a great match, a lot of heart on both sides. They got the goal, that’s all.”