HUNTLEY – The Crystal Lake South girls soccer team prides itself on being a strong second-half team.
But heading into Wednesday’s Class 3A Huntley Regional semifinal, the second-seeded Gators looked to come out stronger and convert more early scoring opportunities against Dundee-Crown.
After missing on its first five shots, South connected with 20:54 remaining in the first half on a loose-ball header from senior midfielder Alexandra Siavelis. South added a second goal late in the first half en route to a 3-0 win.
The victory puts the Gators (13-3-4) into Saturday’s 5 p.m. regional championship against No. 1 seed and host Huntley. South shut out the Red Raiders, 2-0, in the teams’ only matchup on May 8.
“We wanted to get it done from the start,” said Siavelis, who added a second goal two minutes into the second half. “We usually play way better in the second half and iffy in the first half, so we wanted to come out strong for the weekend game if we were to win.
“We wanted it really badly.”
Siavelis’ first score came off a corner kick from Elizabeth Massat. The D-C defense allowed the corner to bounce freely in the penalty box, and Siavelis headed the ball off a deflection and into the left corner of the net for the game’s deciding goal.
With 20 seconds remaining in the first half, junior forward Kimmy Sulikowski made it 2-0 South on a shot from about 10 yards out, putting one past D-C goalkeeper Isabel Miranda (14 saves). Brandie Minogue had the assist on the play.
“We’ve been good at getting into scoring opportunities all year, but we need to work on finishing,” Gators coach Jay Mueller said. “It took us a while to get one in, but we put lot of pressure on [D-C’s] defense early and that gave us plenty of opportunities.
“We could have finished a few more of them, but we did enough to win and advance.”
Following South’s first goal, the Chargers (3-10-3) came within two feet from tying the game with four minutes left in the first half. D-C forward Franki Scarpelli shot just wide of the near post from five yards out past a diving Jaclyn Przybylski (six saves).
D-C ended up with six shots on goal, with four coming in the second half.
“We didn’t lose because the effort wasn’t there,” Chargers coach Sebastian Falinski said. “These girls worked hard all year long.
“We have a young group with only three seniors in the entire program. We have a good group coming back next year, so hopefully this experience helps them out.”