Girls soccer: Lincoln-Way North falls to Normal U-HighNormal University High School teammates celebrate their goal to beat Lincoln-Way North during their IHSA Class 2A Soccer Super Sectional game at Normal Community West High school in Normal, IL on Tuesday May 29, 2012. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 29, 2012 9:40PM
A banged up Lincoln-Way North squad did everything it could Tuesday night to put itself in position to earn its first trip to state.
In the end, though, it took just one play – and perhaps one questionable call – to end the Phoenix’s historic season.
Marissa Villafuerte scored on a free kick in the second minute of the fourth overtime to lift Normal University High to a 1-0 win in the Class 2A Normal West Supersectional.
Villafuerte got tangled up with a North defender and a foul was called, giving the Pioneers a free kick from just outside the penalty box in the middle of the field.
The freshman sent a high shot that North goalie Michelle Balcerzak (6 saves) got a piece of, but it deflected off the bottom of the crossbar and in.
“I thought it was a questionable call,” North coach Mike Murphy said. “But life goes on. Michelle’s playing hurt and she got a hand on it, but unfortunately it went in.”
For a moment, North (18-8-1) appeared to have the match won. Jessica Bean collected a free kick from Unique Manns and found the net with 6:28 left in the third extra session, but offsides was called.
U High (19-5-1) may have won before overtime if it weren’t for Dena Waldier, who broke up Abby Crockett’s chance in the box with 40 seconds left in regulation.
“I thought our defense was great,” Murphy said. “(Waldier), Amber Huppert and Becca Morris did a great job back there.”
The Phoenix controlled play for the first 20 minutes and tested Tiffany Masters (6 saves) with four shots on goal in the first half, but could not find the net.
Bean and Manns wreaked most of the havoc as the Phoenix’s All-State midfielder Rita Craven came off the bench and was slowed by a sprained ankle and forward Jamie Beniac was out hurt.
The loss ended the best season in program history for North, which included its first sectional title.
“It’s been a really great year,” Bean said. “A sectional title was our goal. State would have been a dream. I’m just sad it ended.”