CRYSTAL LAKE – Cary-Grove goalkeeper Krystal Felderman told herself she wasn’t going to allow a goal, and with 8:08 remaining in the Class 3A Crystal Lake South Regional semifinals against third-seeded Jacobs, she would be put to the test.
The Golden Eagles’ Payton Berg maneuvered into some rare open space about 5 yards from the net and fired a shot. Felderman had little time to react as she jumped high into the air and got a hand on the ball to knock it away and preserve a one-goal lead in the Trojans’ 2-0 victory.
The second-seeded Trojans advance to face top-seeded Crystal Lake South in the regional final Friday.
“I just kind of saw it and knew I had to get something on it,” Felderman said, “even if I couldn’t get both hands on it.”
The decisive block came in the middle of a late-match flurry from the Golden Eagles (6-12-1) who, down a goal, where pressing offensively in the final 10 minutes. They were able to muster three shots in that span.
Felderman stopped all three shots and looked like an acrobat in doing so. She dived for one and caught another in her chest without giving up a dangerous rebound as well as the shot from Berg.
“That’s what we see on a daily basis from her,” Trojans coach Ray Krystal said. “That’s normal for her. She’s that type of goalkeeper, and there are few that I’ve seen that have that type of reaction time.”
The match had the playoff intensity that one would expect between two Fox Valley Conference Valley Division rivals, and the Golden Eagles were the aggressor early.
Jacobs had a good scoring chance in the 12th minute as defender Margaret Rivera lined up a free kick 40 yards out. The Northern Illinois recruit kicked the ball all the way to the net, but the ball clanked off the crossbar.
Rivera had a few other chances, including an assist on a goal that was waved off because of a handball.
“The kids worked their butts off today,” Jacobs coach Anthony Cappello said. “They came into the game and could’ve checked out, but they wanted it. We just couldn’t get a ball to fall.”
The Trojans (9-5-1) scored in the 21st minute to break the tie on a Monica Weber goal that was assisted by Kate Boyd.
With the lead, the Trojans tightened their defense in the second half and limited the Golden Eagles’ chances, leaving just a few prime opportunities to score.
“In the second half we had some nice balls and Berg had a nice shot, but [Felderman] made a great save on it,” Cappello said. “One shot, one save is the difference in the playoffs.”
As the seconds ticked off and Jacobs pressed offensively, Boyd found herself 1-on-1 with goalkeeper Liz Foster and scored the second goal to ice the match with 32 seconds remaining.
“We never felt safe,” Krystal said of the one-goal lead. “We had to keep battling with time on the clock because we know that our opponent is going to feel the same way.”