Jessica Schoenfeldt may have missed Crystal Lake South's first playoff game because of health issues on Tuesday, but she returned on Friday stronger than ever.
Schoenfeldt scored both goals in the Gators' 2-0 win over Elgin as South captured its second straight Class 3A girls soccer regional title at Streamwood.
"It felt good to be back out there with my teammates," Schoenfeldt said. "I was really itching to get back. This is very rewarding. We feel like all of our hard work is paying off. It's a similar team to last year but our depth is really good this year. We don't lose anything when we bring in players off the bench. We have a lot of talent."
The Gators will take on Hononegah Tuesday in the Huntley sectional.
It didn't take long for Schoenfeldt to make her presence felt. She scored the first goal less than 8 minutes into the game on a perfectly placed crossing pass to the back side of the defense.
"She makes a big difference out there for us'" South coach Jay Mueller said. "She made some nice plays on the goals, but she was all over the place creating other opportunities."
However, the Gators weren't able to cash in on any more opportunities in the first half despite a decisive 9-0 shot advantage.
"We would have liked to get a couple more of those shots in the net," Mueller said. "But we weren't too nervous. We felt like we were possessing the ball and in control."
South (19-1-1) had just a 5-3 shot advantage in the second half and the score remained 1-0 until Schoenfeldt finally gave the Gators some breathing room scoring her second goal with 14:35 to play on an assist from Courtney Sengstock.
The Gators had averaged 5 plus goals in their final 10 games of the regular season but have relied a lot on defense in their first two playoff games with 3-1 and 2-0 wins.
"Our back line is always solid," Mueller said. "We did a good job marking and taking away their major threats."
South goalie Annika Sevcik needed just 3 saves to record the shutout.
"They are pretty excited about this win," Mueller said. "But I think this team has even bigger goals in mind."
Elgin goalie Hannah Erickson did a nice job of keeping the game close with 7 saves. She also broke up 4 corner kicks.
The Maroons finish with their best record in over 10 years at 12-8-4.
"I'm always proud of these girls," Elgin coach Alicia Knoll said. "They continued to surprise themselves all year and they deserve a lot of recognition for what they were able to accomplish. They stuck together all season and took care of one another on the field and off the field."