Girls Soccer: Lincoln-Way North holds off Lincoln-Way Central
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media April 30, 2012 10:54PM
Lincoln-Way North's Lexi Cesario (12) and Lincoln-Way Central's Rachel Post go for the ball. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 2, 2012 8:17AM
Lincoln-Way North was stunningly dominant in the first 20 minutes of Monday’s showdown vs. Lincoln-Way Central, jumping to a 3-0 lead.
The Phoenix’s fast start was good enough — barely — as it escaped with a 4-3 win in a battle for the SouthWest Suburban Red lead in Frankfort.
“I feel like all of us were really pumped at the beginning,” North’s Rita Craven said. “Then we kind of laid back and it got a lot closer than it should have been.”
Craven led North (12-4-1, 3-0) with a goal and an assist. Kristi Cesario, Grace Sheetz and Jamie Beniac also scored for the Phoenix.
The Knights (12-7, 3-1) came within inches of completing a remarkable comeback from 4-1 down.
Paige Proctor scored off a Sara Petrone cross to make it 4-2 with 26:20 left in the match.
Kyla Grundhofer then came up with a loose ball after a scramble in the box off a corner kick and finished to cut the lead to one with 3:27 to go.
More Central pressure led to a North handball in the box with just 21 seconds remaining, giving Rachel Post a chance to tie it on a penalty kick.
Post, who scored the Knights’ first goal, sent her shot off the crossbar, then time ran out.
“We came back and played tough,” Central coach Dan Radz said. “We just can’t get ourselves into a hole like that.”
North goalie Michelle Balcerzak’s diving stop on a Post free kick with 12:38 left proved to be huge.
The Phoenix grabbed the lead 3½ minutes in when Cesario scored off a perfect pass from Craven.
“It was such an energy booster and confidence booster starting like that,” Craven said. “I feel like getting off to a good start is how we won the game.”
Craven scored off a Dena Waldier pass and Sheetz connected into an open net after a Central turnover to make it 3-0 midway through the first half.