GRAYSLAKE – Crystal Lake South applied more pressure and had more opportunities through 50 minutes than Niles Notre Dame, although none of that showed on the scoreboard.
The Gators kept pressing and eventually were rewarded.
“It’s about resiliency and pushing through the entire 80 minutes,” South forward Alex Canfield said. “You never know when they’re going to slip up and make a mistake that can cause a goal.”
That moment came in the 54th minute, after the Dons had a corner kick on the south end of William C. Eiserman Stadium. The ball bounced out long, and a teammate punched it ahead to Canfield, who streaked down the right side.
As Canfield cut toward the middle, he drew a foul 5 yards in front of the penalty area. Moments later, midfielder Ty Getzinger drilled a free kick into the upper right corner. Canfield added an insurance goal in the 73rd minute, giving the Gators a 2-0 victory in the Class 2A Grayslake Central Supersectional and sending the defending state champions back to the semifinals.
South (19-4-4) will meet Troy Triad at 1 p.m. Friday at Hoffman Estates High School. Benet Academy faces St. Laurence in the second semifinal at 3 p.m.
“It was going to come down to a couple plays here or there,” Gators coach Brian Allen said. “They played a style that was going to be difficult to break down. We were going to need a couple really special moments, and Ty and Alex delivered them.”
Getzinger was thrilled at the chance to take the free kick from 23 yards out after Canfield’s run that produced the foul.
“It comes down to every day in my backyard working on them, grinding on them,” Getzinger said. “For an opportunity like that to come, I was just happy I could take it. I knew exactly where I was going to put it.”
South’s Danny Ciezadlo stepped over the ball just before Getzinger ripped his shot into the net.
“Ty hit a first-class free kick to open it up,” Allen said. “It was a great strike, top-shelf over the wall. I don’t think many keepers are going to save that.”
Canfield started the celebration with 6:49 remaining when he fired a left-footed shot (he is right-foot dominant) from the right side inside the far post.
“He was a little mad. He left one out there [earlier],” Allen said. “That was composure. He got a little space and rolled it to the far post. That’s what a special player does.”
Canfield had made most of his moves to the right side, so he switched up on that run.
“I got some space and hit it inside the far post,” Canfield said. “It feels crazy [to be going back to state], especially going straight back with this team. This team’s incredible. We never would have thought we’d make it this far. We kept pushing really hard.”
South limited the Dons to three shots on goal for the game, none of which proved to be challenging saves for goalkeeper Carson Hill.
“They have a skilled team with a lot of big, physical defenders,” Dons coach Mike Smith said. “They win a lot of balls in the air, they tackle hard, they tackle strong. They have a good defensive unit.”
STAR OF THE GAME
Crystal Lake South, sr., F
Canfield made a run in the 54th minute that drew a foul just outside the goal box. Ty Getzinger scored off that free kick, then Canfield added a goal in the 73rd minute to ice the game.
12: Consecutive postseason victories for the defending Class 2A state champion Gators.
AND ANOTHER THING ...
Notre Dame coach Mike Smith had high praise for Canfield after the game. “No. 13 is the best player we’ve played against all year,” he said. “We contained him for the majority of the game, but all it takes is a couple seconds for him to break loose. That finish was fantastic.”
Class 2A Grayslake Central Supersectional
Crystal Lake South 2, Niles Notre Dame 0
Notre Dame 0 0 – 0
CL South 0 2 – 2
CLS–Tyler Getzinger, 25:56.
CLS–Alex Canfield, 6:49.
Goalkeeper saves: Jeremy Spina (ND) 10, Carson Hill (CLS) 3.