HAMPSHIRE – When Boylan’s Frankie Schiro dribbled up the left side of the field and fired a shot past Crystal Lake Central goalkeeper Nora Ryan, Tigers coach Sarah Fack had one thought.
“We weren’t done,” Fack said. “That’s just this team. I knew that they weren’t going to give up.”
The goal tied Tuesday’s Class 2A Hampshire Sectional semifinal and sent it to overtime. Yet, the Tigers showed the same poise Fack has seen all season in overtime.
Forward Emma Bolanowski beat multiple defenders in the games’ 97th minute and sent a shot into the net. Central held on for a 3-2 victory.
“Taylor Bittenbender just played me an amazing pass,” Bolanowski said. “I thought I was going to take it in and play, then I didn’t see an opening, so I just kept dribbling. Finally I saw my shot, and I decided to take it.”
The victory sets up a rematch with Fox Valley Conference rival Prairie Ridge. The Wolves defeated Sycamore, 2-1, in Tuesday’s second sectional semifinal. Central (18-3) will face Prairie Ridge (20-1-1) in the sectional final at 5 p.m. Friday.
Boylan’s Leah Starnes scored in the eighth minute. That goal held until Central scored twice in eight minutes in the second half. Erica Novy scored on an assist from Grace Rokos, and Megan Wozniak scored on a free kick.
Just when the Tigers had the momentum, Schiro responded in the 72nd minute with a game-tying goal for Boylan (15-5-1).
“They were a good team,” Fack said. “Both teams battled hard. It was one of those [games] that every little touch mattered."
Whereas Central took awhile to find the back of the net, Prairie Ridge’s Abby Eriksen had no trouble early. She scored goals in the 10th minute and the 23rd minute to give the Wolves an early two-goal advantage.
“They came out really strong in the second half, to have the comfort of those two goals – even though we still wanted to score – having that definitely boosted our confidence,” Eriksen said.
The early cushion gave the Wolves a boost and quieted the Sycamore bench. Sycamore (19-2) hadn’t trailed by two goals all season.
“When it’s the playoffs, the first 10 or 15 minutes feel hectic,” Prairie Ridge defender Abby Klimkowski said. “Being able to finish the ball in the first half like that really gave us the ability to mellow out, in a way, but still keep our intensity high.”
Sycamore did not go away easily. Kierah Meier scored in the 62nd minute to pull the Spartans within a goal.
“We knew this was going to be a tough, tough game,” Prairie Ridge coach Mark Lewis said.
The Wolves held strong for the final 18 minutes to set up a rematch with Central. Prairie Ridge’s only loss this season came against Central on April 16.
STAR OF THE GAME
Emma Bolanowski, Crystal Lake Central, so., F
Bolanowski scored the game-winning goal with just under four minutes remaining in the second overtime to advance Crystal Lake Central into the sectional semifinals. The Tigers will meet Prairie Ridge, which defeated Sycamore, 2-1, on Tuesday.
11: Prairie Ridge has won 11 consecutive games after Tuesday's victory.
AND ANOTHER THING …
Crystal Lake Central handed Prairie Ridge its only defeat, 2-0, on April 16.
Crystal Lake Central 3, Boylan Catholic 2 (2 OT)
Boy 1 1 0 0 – 2
CLC 0 2 0 1 – 3
Boy – Starnes (Haney assist), 8th minute.
CLC – Novy (Rokos), 53rd minute.
CLC – Wozniak, 61st minute.
Boy – Schiro (Parnello), 72nd minute.
CLC – Bolanowski, 97th minute.
Goalkeeper saves: Boylan: Dolphin 6. Crystal Lake Central: Ryan 7.
Prairie Ridge 2, Sycamore 1
Syc 0 1 – 1
PR 2 0 – 2
PR – A. Eriksen, 10th minute.
PR – A. Eriksen (Anderson), 23rd minute.
Syc – Meier, 62nd minute.
Goalkeeper saves – Sycamore: Boynton 5. Prairie Ridge: Gablenz 5.