Winning a state trophy and medals would produce lifelong keepsakes and memories for Johnsburg’s girls soccer players and coaches.
Sophomore forward Delaney Pruitt was looking more short-term after the Skyhawks defeated Immaculate Conception, 2-1, in Tuesday’s IHSA Class 1A Hinckley-Big Rock Supersectional.
“I don’t think a lot about us getting plaques or a trophy,” Pruitt said. “We’re just in it because we want to keep playing with each other because these are some of my favorite people on the field and their seasons will end after this weekend. I just wanted to win and play with them one more time.”
Johnsburg (14-6) faces Quincy Notre Dame (19-1-2) at 7 p.m. Friday in a semifinal game of the Class 1A State Tournament at North Central College in Naperville. Alton Marquette and Chicago F.W. Parker meet in the 5 p.m. semifinal.
The Skyhawks are the first team from their school to make a state tournament since the 2003 boys basketball team. Since the format has changed and the final four teams now go to state tournaments, the soccer team will be the first in school history to get a trophy and state medals.
Johnsburg will get one of its toughest challenges of the season from Notre Dame, the defending state champion.
“We play tough teams in our regular season,” Skyhawks coach Rob Eastland said. “Coming up against Quincy Notre Dame, we’ll be up for the challenge. They’ll be the favorites after winning it last year, but we’re not going there to make up the numbers. We’ll have a go for it.”
Johnsburg dominated the play against Immaculate Conception, although the Skyhawks could not get any more goals after their two in the first 4:26. It left their fans and coaches anxious, but the players constantly applied pressure. The Knights did not have a shot on goal in the second half and most of the game was played on their defensive end.
“We played Quincy Notre Dame this year down in Springfield, they’re a juggernaut,” Immaculate Conception coach Tod Privett said. “[Johnsburg] is going to have a tough game with them. [Quincy Notre Dame] would be a good 3A team. It’s going to be quite a battle.”