Cesario’s goal lifts Lincoln-Way North
Updated: May 20, 2011 10:42PM
A good bounce turned into the best soccer moment of Kristi Cesario’s life.
The Lincoln-Way North junior midfielder blasted in the game winning goal from just over 20 yards out to give the Phoenix a 1-0 overtime victory over Andrew in the Lincoln-Way North Class 3A Regional title game on Friday night.
North (17-6-1) advances to the Mother McAuley Sectional semifinals against the winner of Saturday’s match between host Homewood-Flossmoor and McAuley, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Andrew finishes the season at 10-10-1.
After battling for over 88 scoreless minutes, Cesario was on the left side of the field when the ball came right to her. It couldn’t have been placed any better and her crossing shot went inside the right post, eluding Thunderbolt goalie Kaitlyn Kosary, with 1:33 to play in the first overtime.
“I think Rita (Craven) crossed it and it bounced off Becca (Morris) and it landed right by me,” Cesario said. “I just went wit my instint and kicked it toward the far post. When I saw it go in, it was the most exciting soccer moment of my life.”
Phoenix coach Mike Murphy wasn’t sure the shot was in, but was estatic when it was.
“From my angle I thought it was wide,” he said. “But then I saw the net move and realized it was in and that was just great. Rita Craven has 16 or 17 goals for us and then it’s pretty even after that. I think that was only Kristi’s third goal of the season, and she was in the right place at the right time.”
The two teams had tied for the SouthWest Suburban Red title during the regular season with records of 5-1. North won the SWSC matchup 2-1 on May 3, in Frankfort. But this was the one that determined who would keep playing.
“We tied them for the conference title, but we didn’t want to tie them here,” Murphy said. I’ve got to credit our girls. We’ve won back-to-back conference and regional titles and that’s great for third year program.”
Andrew’s best scoring opportunities came at the start of the second half. But shots by Emily Scott and Sarah Leifker were saved by North goalie Michelle Balcerzak or deflected out.
“I didn’t see exactly what happened, but she (Cesario) scored on a gorgeous goal and there wasn’t anything our goalie could do,” Andrew coach Loren Zolk said. “But I’m really proud of the girls. we did a gret job and left everything on the field.”