HUNTLEY – As overtime ticked on and on with Huntley and Jacobs still tied, the members of the Jacobs girls soccer team knew they really wanted to avoid penalty kicks, and not simply because of the heartbreaking randomness of that tiebreaking method.
"We really didn't want to go to PKs. Our goalie had to leave, so we were going to have to throw someone random in net," Jacobs coach Mike Hanley said. "The girls knew that, and they wanted to fight to the very end, and they knew the situation, and they knew that wasn't an option for them. They wanted to fight tooth and nail to get it done."
Besides being Jacobs' starting goalkeeper, junior Emily Pasetes also is a member of the band and had a concert to make. Teammates had packed Pasetes' bag on the sideline, and her mom had the minivan running, with one sidedoor open, waiting a few yards behind the Jacobs bench.
Then, with just more than a minute remaining in overtime, Jacobs winger Cassie Kowalski scored her second goal of the game to give the Golden Eagles a 2-1 Fox Valley Conference victory over Huntley.
"We wanted it so bad," Kowalski said. "We came out, we gave it our all, we didn't give up and that showed."
Once the final minute expired, as her teammates celebrated at midfield, Pasetes sprinted to the sideline, hopped into the waiting vehicle and was gone within 60 seconds of the final whistle, with less than half an hour to get to her concert.
Also watching the ending from a car parked behind the bench was Jacobs coach Stephanie Schuck, who recently began maternity leave. Despite turning coaching duties over to her assistant Hanley, she pulled her bright gold Jeep up to watch the end of the game, honking after the winning goal and recieving hugs from the players afterward.
Jacobs (8-4, 3-0 FVC) had to come from behind to remain unbeaten in conference play.
"We talked this whole time about how this game was going to be about heart," Hanley said. "Both teams really wanted it. They both came out and really showed that, and I think it came down to our girls never wanted to give up. They never stopped pushing forward. They envisioned that they were going to win the game and they came through and did it."
Huntley (5-4-2, 1-2) took the lead in the 12th minute on a well-taken free kick by Hannah Scholer.
When the Red Raiders were awarded a free kick in good shooting position at the top of the box, assistant coach Matt Lewandowski suggested to head coach Kris Grabner that Scholer take it because of how well she had been hitting them recently.
Grabner shouted for the sophomore to go up and take it, and in a moment it was over the wall and into the far corner of the net.
The hosts' lead didn't last long, however, as two minutes later Kowalski hit back with a free kick of her own. Kowalski took the free kick from the top left edge of the 18-yard box and curled it in at the near post.
"I was really nervous, but I knew I just had to focus and get it on frame at least," Kowalski said.
Each team had a couple of good chances in the second half, but the score remained knotted, 1-1, until Kowalski's late winner. Pasetes finished with five saves, while Huntley goalkeeper Abbey Brown also made five.
"I thought we played a much better second half," Grabner said. "I thought we created the better opportunities, they created some good opportunities but we had a couple breakaways and we've got to capitalize on those. I was pretty happy with the way we played. I hate to lose but at the same time our goal is the end of the season and we made some nice progress."
Jacobs, sr., D
Burck was all over the place for the Jacobs defense and blocked a goal-bound shot late in overtime to help keep it 1-1 before the eventual game-winning goal.
2: Goals for Jacobs' Cassie Kowalski
AND ANOTHER THING...
The game was played out on Huntley's grass front fields instead of in the stadium on artifiical turf because the school was hosting the county track meet at the same time. Huntley coach Kris Grabner said he thought it was only the second or third time his team had been on grass this season.