CRYSTAL LAKE – Not too many people would have imagined that Huntley or Prairie Ridge’s conference season would start the way it did Tuesday night. The Red Raiders (10-4, 1-0 FVC Valley) managed to sneak away with a 1-0 win in a shootout.
The game went scoreless through two halves and two overtime periods, where Huntley one-upped the host Wolves, 3-2. Jessica Galason stopped all 11 shots she faced, including two huge saves in the shootout.
“It’s not exactly the way we wanted to start our conference season,” Galason said. “We will definitely take the result and use it as momentum.”
Chances were few and far between in the first half as possession was shared equally. With five minutes remaining, Huntley midfielder Beth Parks sent a cross into the box the was just behind the run of forward Taryn Jakubowski and the Wolves were able to clear.
Parks almost put a ball in off of a corner kick just before halftime, but Prairie Ridge goalkeeper Brooke Laibly made one of her 14 saves on the night, punching the ball off the crossbar.
“It’s frustrating to lose a game the way we did, but I think our defense was amazing tonight,” said Laibly. “I made saves when I had to, but they deserve so much of the credit for keeping the game 0-0.”
Laibly had a collision with Huntley’s Kaitlin Constantino early in the second half, hurting her right foot. She left the game briefly, but came back in at the next whistle.
With 33 minutes remaining, Constantino found room down the right side and crossed the ball to teammate Alyssa Kaufman, who one-timed the ball and hit the crossbar. The ball was eventually cleared by Prairie Ridge.
“We had a tough loss our last time out, so today was decision time for our girls,” coach JC Brown said after the game. “Huntley is a great team and we proved that we could hang with them for more than 40 minutes. I’m extremely proud of the way we fought tonight.”
There were very few chances through the two overtime periods, which sent the game into penalty kicks. Best of five shooters for each team, winner goes home with a win to start their FVC Valley Division season.
After both Allyson Walsh (Prairie Ridge) and Rachel Zobott (Huntley) scored on the first shots, four straight shooters missed. Wolves’ Larissa Dooley stepped up and scored to give the Wolves (5-5, 0-1) a one-goal advantage, which was quickly cancelled out by Constantino converting her attempt. Galason stopped Cassie Warton, and Jakubowski finished the game with a goal in the bottom right corner for Huntley.
“It’s always good to know you can win the close ones,” Galason said. “And we have definitely had quite a few of those already.”