Gators fall victim to Huntley comeback in FVC play
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By Jonathan Jones
Crystal Lake South was riding high on momentum with a two-game winning streak going into Monday afternoon’s matchup as the Gators took on undefeated host Huntley.
In a Fox Valley (Valley division) Conference rivalry game, the Red Raiders were able to hold off the Gators in a stunning late-game 2-1 victory, after being blanked in the first half.
Red Raiders senior midfielder Priscilla Jara provided the game-winning goal with 3:41 remaining in regulation.
“We knew we had to score,” Jara said when asked about the game- winning kick. “We worked as hard as we could. We knew we had to win in the second half.”
“At halftime, (Huntley head coach Kris Grabner) told us that everyone makes mistakes (in regards to being shutout in the first half). We’re a team and we will make up for each other’s mistakes.
There was no love lost between the rival teams as the game was very physical. Between the two teams there were 18 fouls.
Crystal Lake South (3-4-2, 2-2) jumped to an early lead in the first half. With just 3:58 into the game, Gators senior keeper Elizabeth Quinn unleashed a strong punt. Retrieving the punt was senior forward Kali Loescher. After the ball was sent back and forth, Loescher received the loose ball and sprinted downfield on a breakaway to net an unassisted goal.
“Our ‘D’ was great for most of the game,” Loescher said. “(Crystal Lake South and Huntley) were fighting hard until the last second. We scored early, and had the best of them. When they finally scored their first goal, we started panicking. This was a tough loss.”
Crystal Lake South got stellar defensive performances from Vivian Qian and Audrey Collard, and Gator keeper Quinn tallied 10 saves on the day.
The Gators displayed a strong defense deep into the second half, nursing a 1-0 lead from the game’s 37:02 mark.
Throughout the entire match, the Red Raiders (7-0, 2-0) found a way to apply pressure on Quinn and the defense. The Red Raiders attempted 21 shots on goal.
“I knew it was a matter of time before we scored,” said Huntley coach Grabner. “We kept setting up good shots. I knew at one point the girls would take advantage of it. I told the (Red Raiders) at half that if we had five minutes left in the game we could still win.”
“ We made a huge statement at the end. We played till the last whistle.”
With 7:20 remaining in the game, Huntley took a corner kick and the ball sailed through strong winds from the foot of freshman Delaney Loprieno. Multiple players from both teams leapt in the air, but it was Huntley senior defender Rachel Chapuis who got her head on it to tie the game.
“(Grabner’s) speech really got us going,” Chapuis said. “We have to take this experience. It will probably help us in the long run. With the experience we’re getting good chemistry.”
Less than four minutes later, Jara tallied the game-winner on a feed from senior forward Aimee Wronski.
“It’s a disappointing loss, but the season is long,” said Crystal Lake South head coach Brian Allen. “I thought we’d have a drop off from the emotional win at Cary Grove, but we played really well. I’m pleased the way we played today.”
“We knew they would come hard in the second half. Once they got that first goal there was a big momentum shift. We just have to work a little harder, and be more consistent.”
The Gators will return to action on a three-game home stand, where they play Fox Valley Conference foes Dundee Crown Tuesday, Woodstock Thursday and Woodstock North the following Tuesday.