Girls soccer: St Francis tops rival Wheaton Academy

Updated: May 25, 2012 8:32PM



After 12 years, St. Francis finally got over the hump on Friday.

The Spartans beat rival Wheaton Academy 2-0 on Friday, winning a Class 2A sectional title and moving on to a supersectional and a chance for a berth in the state’s Final Four. The win for St. Francis marked the first ever for the school over rival Wheaton Academy.

“In the past we’ve played them close during the season and then lost by a lot to them in the playoffs,” St. Francis junior Anna Vonderhaar said. “Last year we started believing we could beat them, and this year we really felt like we were right there with them.

“Today, we played as a team and we got it done.”

As the top seed of the Elmwood Park sectional, St. Francis (21-3) got a penalty kick goal from Taylor Bucaro and a sweet combination from Amanda Gaggioli to Taylor Van Thournout in winning over third-seeded Wheaton Academy (15-9-1).

Both goals came in the second half, and the Warriors found no answer for them.

“Very honestly, they deserved to win,” Warriors coach Dave Underwood said. “We could not keep the ball at our feet today and we were too careless playing the ball out of the back.”

Wheaton Academy won 2-1 over St. Francis May 2 on goals from the infinitely dangerous Crystal Thomas and Ally Witt, but neither was allowed a good look on net by the Spartans in the rematch. St. Francis defenders Meghan Wagner, Alyssa Mastroianni, Katherine Roback, and Taylor Bucaro stood tall in front of keeper Jenna DiTusa, who handled every cross sent her way.

“With Crystal we focused on not diving in and tried to make her play to her left, because she’s deadly with her right,” Vonderhaar said. “And if she couldn’t get the ball, she couldn’t score, so my goal was to get the ball before she could.”

“Last time we played them it was (Vonderhaar) on Thomas and she did a great job,” Spartans coach Jim Winslow said. “I thought Meghan Wagner played her best game but really, all the kids did a nice job tonight.”

Bucaro’s PK came on a hand-ball call and minutes later Gaggioli exploded into the attacking third up the left wing and crossed a perfect ball that a charging Van Thournout volleyed into net from eight yards out.

The Spartans will play the winner of Saturday’s 2A sectional final between Benet and Rosary, in a supersectional game on Tuesday at Benedictine University in Lisle.

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