Girls Soccer: Amanda Gaggioli’s goal carries St Francis into final

Updated: June 1, 2012 7:06PM

St. Francis didn’t have many scoring chances Friday, but the Spartans knew what to do when one presented itself.

Sydney Fox made a steal in the midfield that triggered a 3-on-1 break and seconds later senior Amanda Gaggioli buried an eight-yard shot as St. Francis advanced to its first state championship game by edging St. Viator 1-0 in a Class 2A semifinal at North Central College in Naperville.

Gaggioli, a midfielder who is playing her first season of high school soccer, now has scored in the last two games. She tallied the game-tying goal for the Spartans (23-3) in a 2-1 penalty kick victory over Benet in the supersectional.

“In her club life she’s a very good playmaker and she can score some goals,” St. Francis coach Jim Winslow said. “Now with us in this system she’s expected to be a more attacking personality. She’s gotten more and more comfortable in that role and she’s played better and better and better, so I’m very happy for her.”

The decisive play came with 35:19 left in the second half. Fox forced the turnover and Andrea Ravlin found herself with teammates on both wings as she dribbled up the middle of the field.

Ravlin sent a quick pass to the right wing to Gaggioli, who beat charging St. Viator goalie Maggie Farwell.

“We just had to play our game and playing our game is keeping the ball, connecting and making passes,” Ravlin said. “We just had to be patient and finally the time came, and I’ve been in that position before so I knew to just relax and focus.

“Amanda was screaming for the ball. She was wide open, so I passed her the ball and Amanda being Amanda, she was able to clean it up and put it away.”

Gaggioli, the team’s leading scorer, couldn’t believe how open she was.

“It just happened so fast,” Gaggioli said. “Andrea was dribbling at the players and all of a sudden she had two defenders [coming at] her and she saw me out of the corner of her eye and I was like, ‘oh, thank God.’ She passed the ball and it was perfect and I just had to put it away.”

St. Francis controlled the play after that and nearly scored again with 3:30 left when Taylor Bucaro hit the underside of the crossbar with a 20-yard free kick and Ravlin’s header on the rebound was tipped over the bar by Farwell.

Playing with the wind in the first half, St. Viator (15-9-4) had a chance to grab the lead when it was awarded a free kick just outside the top of the box. Katie Gavin passed to Chloe Luthringshausen sneaking past the defense but Spartans goalie Jenna DiTusa alertly made the save on the left post with 11:15 left in the half.

St. Francis will take on Chatham Glenwood in Saturday’s title match.

“It is really exciting,” Ravlin said. “It’s amazing that my sophomore year I’m able to help and contribute to my team and take our team to the state championship (match). Hopefully we can win.”

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