Lyons too much for Redhawks
Updated: April 28, 2011 11:04PM
Not many players can dribble through the heart of Naperville Central’s defense and then beat All-State goalie Jill D’Amico, especially with the game on the line.
But that’s exactly what Lyons junior midfielder Juliet Lusson did Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Naperville Invitational and it lifted the No. 5 Lions to a 2-0 victory over the host Redhawks. Lyons (13-2-1) will face Waubonsie Valley, which edged No. 7 New Trier 1-0 in double overtime, in Friday’s first semifinal at Naperville Central.
Lusson’s goal, her second of the season, came with 9:13 left in the second half and broke a scoreless tie. Lauren Moberg settled the ball about 35 yards from the Redhawks net and sent a short pass ahead to Lusson, who weaved through two defenders into the middle of the penalty area before firing a 12-yard shot under the crossbar that D’Amico got a glove on but was unable to stop.
“I got a great little pass from Lauren Moberg and I saw a little gap, some space, so I said why not?” Lusson said. “We haven’t really tested the keeper that much. We wanted to keep generating some shots, so I went for it and when I came up to a (Naperville) player I just cut (past) her and then it was on my left foot and I was like, ‘I’ve got to shoot it now, this is my opportunity.’ I got a good shot off, (D’Amico) got a good look at it and tipped it but it grazed over her.”
The Lions snuffed any hopes the Redhawks (10-5-2) had of making a comeback when sophomore Abbie Pasquinelli scored just 1:33 after Lusson did.
That play was set up by Kelsey Holberg, whose sharp pass from the midfield sprung Pasquinelli on a breakaway up the left wing. D’Amico raced 30 yards off her line to try and take the ball away, but Pasquinelli dribbled past her to the outside and then slotted a pass just out of the reach of a defender and inside the left post.
“That’s not as easy as it looks,” Lyons coach Bill Lanspeary said. “When you’re running full speed away from the goal, you’ve got to touch that outside of the keeper and outside of the defender and then still be calm enough to put that ball on frame.”
Even though it took over 70 minutes to break through, the Lions were calm and confident about their chances.
“We felt good throughout the game even though we came into half 0-0,” Lusson said. “We thought we can do this. We can go up against any team, so let’s get it done.
“We kept going in the second half and once I got my goal, it was really huge that Abbie followed up with one too because there were 10 minutes left on the clock and you can’t sit back then. You’ve got to keep going at them.”
The Redhawks mustered only six shots and rarely threatened to score as Lyons goalie Maggie Orlowski made two saves in recording her 12th shutout and defender Kristina Fiflis deflected a 23-yard shot by Katherine Short wide right during a one-on-one situation.
After advancing to the finals of the Pepsi Showdown two weeks ago, the Lions have won four straight and are in the semifinals of the Naperville tournament for the first time in the event’s 14-year history.
“It’s really great that we can come right from a tough loss in the Pepsi Showdown and come back into another huge, competitive tournament and get this far,” Lusson said. “That’s been our goal since the beginning of the season is getting far in these tournaments and we’re just really proud of ourselves and happy that we’ve gotten this far.”