Girls Soccer: Homewood-Flossmoor, Lincoln-Way North look to keep postseason runs going

Story Image Lincoln-Way North's Grace Sheetz (20) celebrates with Kristi Cesario (10) after the first goal, at the IHSA sectional game between Lincoln-Way North and Providence Catholic. | Paul Bergstrom ~ Sun-Times Media
Story Image

Updated: May 28, 2012 7:28PM

With seven seniors, including six four-year varsity performers, Lincoln-Way North has been building for this postseason since the birth of its program.

The Phoenix already has met one major goal by capturing its first sectional title, earned Friday with a 2-1 win over Providence.

Now it wants more.

The next prize? A trip to state, which will be up for grabs when North meets Normal University High in the Class 2A Normal West Supersectional at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

“I’ve seen a little bit of (U High),” North coach Mike Murphy said. “We’ve got some work to do to get ready for them. Hopefully, if we play like we did in the first half (against Providence), we’ll be fine.”

Normal U High brings a 16-5-1 record into the meeting with the 18-7-1 Phoenix. The Pioneers are coming off a 4-2 sectional title match win over Champaign Centennial.

North and Normal U High have not played any common opponents and the Pioneers have taken on just one team from the Chicago area, squeaking past Joliet Catholic 4-3 in a sectional semifinal.

Normal U High has talent up top in All-Sectional forwards Olivia Crockett and Brooke Haile-Mariam, but has surrendered two goals or more in four of its past six contests.

That could be good news for a North attack led by All-State midfielders Rita Craven (18 goals, 17 assists) and Jessica Bean (21 goals, 12 assists).

The health of Craven, who missed most of the second half against Providence after spraining an ankle, will be key.

“We’re not sure how bad of a sprain it is,” Murphy said. “Hopefully, we can get her back.”

For a North squad making its first Elite Eight appearance, handling its nerves will also be vital.

“We just have to stay composed,” Kristi Cesario said. “We have to go hard to the ball and keep doing what we have been.”

In Class 3A, Homewood-Flossmoor (17-5-2) will meet Downers Grove South (18-5-3) in the Benedictine University Supersectional at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“I know absolutely nothing about them,” H-F coach Charlie Ward said. “We have to keep playing as a team. We need to play with passion and fight for every 50-50 ball.”

Going deep into the playoffs is nothing new for either program.

H-F, coming off a 3-1 sectional final win over Sandburg, is in its third supersectional in the past five years and its second straight, after suffering a 3-2 overtime loss to eventual state champion Granite City last year.

Downers Grove South, which beat Hinsdale Central 3-2 in penalty kicks for its sectional title, is looking for its seventh trip to state.

“We know they have a really great program,” H-F’s Haley Hruska said. “We’re going to practice hard and do some more team bonding. We did team bonding before (the Sandburg match) and that seemed to work.”

All-State midfielder Ali Farkos (18 goals, 14 assists) and Hruska (13 goals, 10 assists) lead the Vikings offense while Kim Boehm has 13 shutouts in goal.

Downers Grove South is led by All-State midfielder Jessica Bronke.

Lockport’s Jerzy OK

Lockport goalie Cortney Jerzy, who was taken to a local hospital during the Porters’ 2-0 sectional title game loss Friday to host Naperville North after suffering a blow to the head, was released from the hospital after a CAT scan was negative, according to Lockport coach Todd Elkei.

“She’s OK,” Elkei said. “They kept her in the hospital for six to eight hours. It was scary for a while, but she’s fine.”

Jerzy was involved in a collision with teammate Frannie Vargas and a Naperville North player late in the first half of the match. Elkei said Jerzy initially appeared to be OK, but went into shock at halftime and had to be taken away on a stretcher.

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