Willows wins first state trophySt. Edward's Emily Witt gestures to the stands while exiting the field with teammate Allison Kruk (11) after placing fourth in the Class 1A state soccer finals. | Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 30, 2011 7:09PM
Three was the magic number Saturday for Willows, which secured its first state trophy in any sport, by blanking St. Edward 2-0 in the Class 1A third-place match at Naperville Central.
It was the third time the two teams have met this season and Willows won for the second time after dropping the first meeting.
‘‘It’s brought so much spirit to our school, more than I have seen in my four years,’’ Willows forward Kate Dunaway said. ‘‘Just to see all the fans come out, even when its not the best weather is just awesome.’’
Dunaway provided all the offense the Eagles needed when she scored her 29th goal of the season on a 15-yard shot with 23:02 left in the first half.
St. Edward goalie Paige Gannon, who was playing with a sore neck after being injured in Friday’s semifinal, jumped and got her knuckles on the ball, but it wasn’t enough to stop it.
The Eagles (17-4-2) struck again 93 seconds into the second half when Justine Burgraff tallied her 15th goal off of Stephanie Prince’s corner kick. In a game that featured 13 shots, three of which were on goal, that effectively decided the match. The first two games between the two teams were decided by one goal.
‘‘Every time we play them it’s always good competition,’’ Dunaway said. ‘‘They are a good team, and in the season it was back and forth. We kind of had that in us to want to beat them again.’’
Willows coach Amy McMahon, whose team had lost 2-0 to Herscher in the semis, was thrilled in ending a historic season on a high note.
‘‘I told them before the game there are two teams tonight that can come out with a ‘W’ and I want to be one of them,’’ McMahon said. ‘‘I think they were determined that they wanted to play better than they did yesterday, and they for sure did. This just sort of puts us on the map in regard to athletics, and it’s awesome.’’
St. Edward, which brought home the first soccer trophy in its history, was shutout for the second straight game. The Green Wave (14-9-3) were unable to solve the Eagles’ defense, which allowed only three shots.
‘‘I think they set up their defense well and they were ready for us,’’ said St. Edward’s Mallory Malone, who had her team’s only shot on goal. ‘‘They sent a girl back deep and its was hard for us to work against it the way we are used to moving the ball.’’
Malone was a freshman and her sister Mackenzie a senior in 2008, when St. Edward made the state finals for the first time, losing in the Class A quarterfinals.
‘‘I had mono and missed most of the playoffs that year, and then I got cleared to play five minutes and wound up playing 50 minutes. My sister told me I hadn’t contributed to the team getting us to state. So this is the year I got us down here.’’
Despite the loss, Gannon was happy after receiving the trophy.
‘‘I’m just proud of our team for doing what we accomplished,’’ Gannon said. ‘‘I couldnt ask for anything more. I’m so proud of [my teammates] for putting their heart and soul into this game. We did something no other team in St. Ed’s history has done.’’