Girls Soccer: Downers South defeats Hinsdale Central in PK thriller

Updated: May 25, 2012 11:31PM



Downers Grove South senior goalie Cassidy Hermann hadn’t played soccer since she was in eighth grade, but when defender Jessica Pikul urged her to try out for the team this spring, she figured it was better than getting a job.

The Mustangs are glad she did. Hermann made the team, won the starting nod and on Friday night saved Downers South’s season, stopping Hinsdale Central’s final penalty kick as the Mustangs won a thrilling 3-2 shootout victory in the championship game of the Class 3A Downers Grove South Sectional.

The match was the final home game for Downers South coach Barry Jacobson, the state’s all-time winningest coach who is retiring at the end of the season, and it gave the Mustangs (18-5-3) a berth in Tuesday’s Benedictine University Supersectional, where they will meet the winner of Saturday’s Homewood-Flossmoor/Sandburg game.

“It means a lot, especially for the girls that have been on varsity for four years,” Hermann said. “It’s great being out here with them, especially since they’re my friends, and seeing that they’re so enthusiastic about it and they’re so happy about. And I get to experience it and I love it.”

Hermann had made eight saves during 120 minutes of regulation and four overtimes, but had never been involved in a shootout in competition. Hinsdale Central (9-13-2) made its first two penalties before Katie Camden missed over the crossbar.

Hermann then saved Lily Chetosky’s attempt and Flo Beshiri converted for Downers South to clinch it. Sarrah Ludwig, Pikul and Jessica Bronke also made penalties for the Mustangs.

“When [Camden] missed, what was going through my mind was I still need to save one because one of our girls could either miss or they could [save] the shot,” Hermann said. “Either way I just had to keep my head in the game.”

Ludwig used her head with devastating effectiveness, nodding home two throw-ins from Bronke to put the hosts ahead 2-0 in the second half, but she credited the win to Hermann.

“She did an amazing job and I’m so proud of her,” said Ludwig, who now has 26 goals. “That game goes out to her. She saved our butts. We knew she had our back.”

Underdog Hinsdale Central, the sectional’s eighth seed, had reached the final by upsetting two higher seeds, including No. 1 seed Lyons, and mounted a great comeback in a bid for a third.

Two players who had been injured much of the season scored their first goals for the Red Devils. First Darby Moran, who had missed nearly a month with a concussion, scored with 20:15 remaining and then Jenn Jarmy, in her second appearance after breaking her right ankle just before the season, tied it on an 18-yard shot with 7:19 left.

“To get goals from those two girls is great,” Hinsdale Central coach Michael Smith said. “I’m proud of my girls because they fought back. Down 2-0 at Downers Grove South, at Downers Grove South, they could have said it’s over. But they battled and it’s that teamwork and that bond and chemistry that we’ve been talking about for years that allowed us to be in that position.”

Hinsdale Central’s Alison Cerny had two shots roll wide of the post in extra time, but other than that the Mustangs dominated the overtimes. Ludwig nearly completed the hat trick but had two headers cleared off the line, including one by Moran.

“Even in the first overtime we were so close, so many times,” Ludwig said. “There were a couple times where the ball looked like it was over the line, like when the goalie was out and the girl saved it.

“I knew we wanted it more. It was all just how we were going to do it and how we were going to get together as a team and fight through. It was all worth it in the end.”

The Red Devils lose only one player to graduation, so Jarmy thinks they will be much improved next season.

“I think during the season we had a couple rough patches,” Jarmy said. “We had so many losses and I think finally we came together and realized what we needed to do to win. I think we need to play as a program and that’s what we did, we played as a team. No one was selfish and everybody just played together and that’s how we got our goals. That’s how we finished the season.”

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