Granite City one better than Lincoln-Way Central
Updated: May 27, 2011 11:32PM
The elation that filled Lincoln-Way Central’s soccer players after their victory over previously unbeaten Normal was replaced with dejected faces Friday night at Joliet Memorial Stadium.
A physical Granite City squad had just enough offense to end Lincoln-Way Central’s season with a 1-0 victory in the championship game of the Class 3A Joliet Central Sectional.
“It’s always hard at the end of the season when you lose one game and you’re out,’’ said Rachel Post, the Knights’ leading scorer. “Everyone wanted to win this one.’’
Granite City advances to Tuesday’s Normal Supersectional to face Homewood-Flossmoor, a 3-0 winner over Sandburg in the Mother McAuley Sectional.
“It was a great year. I think what we did was pretty impressive,’’ Central coach Dan Radz said. “We allowed four goals in the playoffs.’’
Most of the first half Friday was played in Central’s end of the field. Granite City was quicker and stronger to the ball and maintained pressure on goalkeeper Becca Petrone.
“It looked like we took the long bus ride up here,’’ Radz said. “We were stuck in the mud, our feet were stuck in the mud.’’
Amy Harrington, of Granite City (17-6), scored from 40 yards out with a high kick that eluded Petrone’s outstretched arms and made it under the crossbar for a 1-0 lead with 37:12 left in the first half.
“That blast over our goalkeeper’s head three minutes into the game, that’s a killer,’’ Radz said. “I think our heads went down.’’
Central (10-11-5) picked up the pace in the second half, including some good ballhandling and pressure down the sides by Kim Rietveld.
“I think we were backing down a little bit, but they were pretty big,’’ Rietveld said. “I thought we tried our best, we got in there as much as possible.’’
Starters Rietveld, Jenna Proctor and Katie Sieloff are the only seniors on the team.
“I’m going to miss them tremendously,’’ Radz said. “I think they made a great impact to our squad. Losing Jenna, Kim and Katie, they were great leaders.’’
Rietveld will attend Northern Michigan, Sieloff is going to Iowa and Proctor to Michigan Tech.
“We ended up getting better toward the end of the year,’’ Proctor said. “I was really proud of everybody. Everybody stepped up. No one expected this from us.’’
The H-F vs. Granite City pairing was on the stadium scoreboard after the game as the Knights prepared to leave the field.
“We had our ups and downs,’’ Sieloff said. “We worked really hard and we came this far. I thought it was a pretty big accomplishment.’’
Post, a junior, is hopeful for more accomplishments next year.
“We’ve got a lot of players coming back,’’ Post said. “Hopefully, we can build off this season.’’