ROCHELLE – In coach Jay Mueller’s words, the Crystal Lake South girls soccer team had been “making a living off coming from behind.”
In each of the past two victories on their way to the Class 2A Rochelle Sectional championship game, the Gators had erased one-goal deficits.
South again erased a one-goal deficit Friday against Burlington Central, but it was the Rockets who scored twice in the second half for a 3-1 win to extend their season.
The Gators ended their season at 13-7 after winning their third consecutive regional title. In Tuesday’s 3-2 sectional semifinal win over Sycamore, South twice erased one-goal deficits.
“It’s a dangerous way to play the game,” Mueller said. “Once they got that second one today, we still thought we were in it. When they got another one, that kind of broke our backs.”
Burlington Central’s Zoey Kollhoff scored the game’s first goal in the 21st minute.
South answered within about a minute and a half of action. The Gators' Madisen Safraniec sent a pass across the field to Abby Wiegand, who powered it into the back of the net.
“I saw Madisen pass it over to me, and I saw the goal, and I was like, ‘I’ll try it,’” Wiegand said. "It was big because that’s how we score goals. We just keep coming back."
South opened the second half with a number of quality chances, coming close to a goal on a couple of shots. The Gators simply couldn’t push one past Burlington Central keeper Erin Rafferty.
Meanwhile, South keeper Marissa Fetters had her hands full with the Rockets' attack.
“Yeah, I was busy,” she said afterward.
Fetters made 13 saves, eight in the first half and five in the second. This was after the senior made 18 saves in the sectional semifinal victory.
Mueller said Fetters “has been an absolute star for us.”
“This is one of the best seasons of soccer that I’ve ever played,” Fetters said. “I’m so thankful to have played with the people that I have.”
Burlington Central (23-2) finally found a way past Fetters for the go-ahead goal in the 66th minute by Megan Majewski. Moments later, Madelyn Menke scored another goal on a shot that Fetters tipped but couldn’t quite stop.
“We scouted them, and we knew that they were a comeback team,” Burlington Central coach Jessica Arneson said. “We knew we were going to feel pressure on our backs.”
The Rockets advance to Tuesday’s Streamwood Supersectional with a chance to go to the Class 2A state semifinals for the second year in a row. Last season, Burlington Central finished third at state.
South graduates seven seniors from its roster.
“It’s been quite a ride,” Mueller said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the way the team came together, how far they’ve come since the beginning of the season.”
STAR OF THE GAME
Crystal Lake South, sr., GK
Fetters made 13 saves in a loss to Burlington Central in Friday’s Class 2A Rochelle Sectional championship game. Fetters was active in goal, making a couple of diving saves.
101: Seconds of playing time between when Burlington Central scored the game’s first goal, and when the Gators answered in the first half.
AND ANOTHER THING …
Burlington Central advances to Tuesday’s Streamwood Supersectional, where it will face the winner of Saturday’s game between Wauconda and St. Viator.
Burlington Central 3, Crystal Lake South 1
BC 1 2 – 3
CLS 1 0 – 1
BC – Kollhoff, 21st minute.
CLS – Wiegand (Safraniec assist), 22nd minute.
BC – Majewski, 66th minute.
BC – Menke, 69th minute.
Goalkeeper saves – Fetters (CLS) 13, Rafferty (BC) 3.