Girls Soccer: Crystal Thomas’ game-winner lifts Wheaton Academy
Updated: May 2, 2012 10:27PM
St. Francis dominated play, Wheaton Academy won the game, and Crystal Thomas did what Crystal Thomas does.
In a game tied 1-1 with a half-minute left to play, Wheaton Academy’s Notre Dame-bound senior took the ball on a 40-yard journey that started at midfield at the touchline on the left side.
Thomas was nearly knocked off her feet but stayed up and cut across the top of the penalty area. The journey ended when she created just enough space to get a shot off that tore inside the post from 20 yards out to lift Wheaton Academy to a 2-1 victory. The game-winner was as outlandish as it was timely.
Especially since, to that point, junior Anna Vonderhaar and the Spartans had kept the dangerous Thomas under wraps.
“I didn’t do much,” Thomas said. “But I knew my chance would come. My teammates worked hard and grinded this game out, and that’s really why we won this game.”
The win put Wheaton Academy (10-7-1, 8-0) in control of its Suburban Christian Conference destiny. Both teams went into Wednesday’s game as the only unbeaten teams in the conference, and both have one SCC game left to play.
Wheaton Academy led 1-0 on a first-half goal from Ally Witt, who ran down a Thomas through-ball and went in alone on net just before halftime.
St. Francis (15-3, 7-1) spent more than 70 minutes with a defiant soccer ball at its feet and a defiant goalkeeper in the Warriors’ Kristen Morency between the pipes. The Spartans earned 16 corner kicks thanks to steady attacking pressure, hit shots off the post and crossbar, and saw Morency tip another few shots over the bar.
Morency was at times spectacular in making 12 saves on the night in the face of a Spartans team that went at her from all directions. “They have good players all over the field and it was a tough game to play,” Morency said. “I just had to stay composed and confident. Those were the two ‘C’ words that coach talked about before the game.”
The Spartans finally managed to get one past Morency on a Taylor Bucaro corner kick that Vonderhaar buried at the goalmouth. The two teams could meet again in the Elmwood Park Class 2A sectional, where St. Francis earned the top seed and Wheaton Academy is seeded third.
“It’s bitter because the only two shots they had, they scored on,” Spartans senior Sydney Fox said. “But it’s sweet because we dominated this whole game. I’m so proud of my team and we will play them again. It’s going to happen.”