Girls Soccer: Lauren Koehl, St Charles North edge BarringtonSt. Charles North players celebrate the game-winning goal by Lauren Koehl against Barrington on Tuesday at the Barrington Supersectional. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 29, 2012 10:35PM
St. Charles North rarely attempts short corner kicks because those plays usually don’t result in goals.
But the North Stars thought they saw a chance to score on one early in Tuesday’s Class 3A Barrington Supersectional.
Turns out they were right. Kelly Manski’s short kick from the left corner found Lauren Koehl near the top of the left side of the penalty area and Koehl turned and fired a 15-yard shot into the lower right corner of the net just 86 seconds into the contest. That goal held up for a 1-0 victory over Barrington.
The win sends St. Charles North (18-5-2) into the state semifinals for the second time in three years. Downers Grove South will be the opponent at 7 p.m. Friday at North Central College in Naperville.
“We’ve attempted it before, but I think that was our first [goal],” Koehl said. ‘It was kind of partially the wind and because [the field] is so wide. We’re used to a small field, so because it was so wide we said why not just go for it because with the wind we didn’t know how far it was going to go. It was going to be a one-time thing.”
The goal stunned the host Fillies (19-6), who weren’t expecting to face a short corner. That was just how North Stars coach Ruth Vostal wanted it.
“We’ve run several different corner kick plays and we have a couple that are more regular,” Vostal said. “I knew they had a young keeper. There was a couple short corners that we hadn’t shown anyone. We’ve run [that particular one] in practice but we haven’t run it in a game. I was just thrilled that it worked. It was perfect.”
Short corners are low-percentage plays because they take so long to develop that it gives the defense, including the goalie, time to prepare. But there wasn’t anything Barrington freshman goalie Hannah Luedtke could do about Koehl’s shot.
“Once [Koehl] gets it she can go either way and I was actually thinking she was going to go the other way, but she pulled it in and she hit that shot,” Vostal said. “That was a great shot, especially with the keeper there with all those bodies, so that was perfectly placed.”
After that, the Fillies had the better of the play, outshooting the North Stars 13-7. The hosts would have tied it if not for the play of St. Charles North goalie Carly Dietrich, who made a tremendous save on a wicked 22-yard free kick from Molly Pfeiffer in the 13th minute, fully extending to her right to deflect the ball around the left post.
“I was pretty confident for it,” said Dietrich, a Bemidji State recruit. “I was ready because I was like, this is going to be on frame, I’ve got to keep it strong because I know she’s very dangerous. I didn’t want it to be a tie game.”
Dietrich finished with eight saves and Barrington missed two other great chances, with one shot hitting the left post in the 37th minute and another by freshman Jenna Szczesny sailing high from 12 yards out in the 55th minute.
“They are a great team,” Vostal said of the Fillies, who lost in the supersectional for the fifth straight year. “You look at Pfeiffer, you look at [Aimee Pierce] and Szczesny who I know have contributed in big games. I think they’re really physical. They have decent speed and I knew it was going to be a battle to the end. I didn’t know that that one goal was going to be it for the night.”
Neither did Dietrich, who helped end Barrington’s seven-game winning streak.
“It feels awesome,” Dietrich said. “I was not on the team [in 2010], so it’s my first time [qualifying for state] and I am psyched.”