WOODSTOCK – After a first half in which it seemed nothing could go Kaneland’s way, Knights junior Rachel Richtman found herself in the right place at the right time.
Two minutes after halftime, teammate Taylor Carlson headed a corner kick at the net. Woodstock goalkeeper Meghan Sutter deflected the shot, and the rebound fell to a waiting Richtman, who scored from point-blank range.
The goal pulled Kaneland even with Woodstock. The Knights went on to win, 2-1, after Grace Purcell added the game-winning goal in the 68th minute.
“I’ve just been working on crashing the net this year,” Richtman said. “That was just one of those times where it got bobbled around, and I was there and just tapped it in.”
No. 4-seeded Kaneland (10-9-1) will face No. 1 Crystal Lake Central (16-3) in the Class 2A Woodstock North Regional championship game at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
No. 6-seeded Woodstock (13-7-1) watched its season come to an end. Sutter made 11 saves for the Blue Streaks.
“She played tremendous,” Woodstock coach Matt Warmbier said. “She kept us in the game. Even the first goal, she made one heck of a save on it. Nobody was there to help clean it up for her.”
Kaneland controlled the possession for much of the game. Even so, Woodstock went ahead, 1-0, after a Kaneland handball inside the 18-yard box gave the Blue Streaks a penalty kick in the 16th minute. Woodstock’s Cameron Wormley converted the PK.
Woodstock was playing without starting defender Korrin Mecklenburg, who suffered a concussion in the regular-season finale against Burlington Central last week. After the Streaks grabbed the early lead, they decided to make it a defensive game.
“I made a tactical switch at that point to try to ride that [goal], knowing that we didn’t have the defensive depth that we normally do,” Warmbier said. “It worked for 40 minutes.”
Richtman evened the score, then Purcell put Kaneland ahead on an assist from Rachel Franck. Woodstock sent only three shots at Kaneland goalkeeper Emma Ball in the game. She made all three saves.
“The main thing was get to Friday, and we were fortunate enough to get to Friday,” Kaneland coach Scott Parillo said. “Their goalie had a great game. For whatever reason, the ball wasn’t going in the back of the net in the first half. We seemed to be kicking the ball right at [Sutter] instead of picking our spots.”
The Knights kept Sutter busy all afternoon in what was the senior's final game.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking in goal,” Sutter said. “I just wanted to give my best for my team and leave it all on the field. We knew they were going to be hungry to get back up, so we just tried to give it our all out there and just play our game.”
Crystal Lake Central enters Friday’s final having won six of its past seven games and seeking its first regional title since 2009. Kaneland will go for its first regional title since 2016.
Woodstock ended its season on a three-game losing streak.
"There’s not any other group of girls that I’d want to have my senior year with," Sutter said.
STAR OF THE GAME
Meghan Sutter, Woodstock, sr., GK
Sutter made 11 saves in a 2-1 Woodstock loss to Kaneland on Wednesday in the Class 2A Woodstock North Regional semifinals.
3: Woodstock had only three shots on goal in the game.
AND ANOTHER THING …
Kaneland’s Rachel Richtman will miss Friday’s regional championship game because she will be in Charleston for the IHSA Girls Track and Field State Meet, competing in the 800-meter run.
“I have faith in my team,” Richtman said. “They’re all great players. They’ll play to the end.”
Kaneland 2, Woodstock 1
Wdk 1 0 – 1
Kan 0 2 – 2
Wdk – Wormley (PK), 16th minute.
Kan – Richtman (Carlson assist), 42nd minute.
Kan – Purcell (Franck), 68th minute.
Goalkeeper saves – Woodstock: Sutter 11. Kaneland: Em. Ball 3.