Warren comes back from 2 goals down to tie host Libertyville
North Suburban Conference powers Warren and host Libertyville battled to a thrilling 3-3 draw Thursday night when the visitors came back from 2 goals down to prevent the Wildcats from earning an important victory in its chase for a league title.
"We hung our heads a little after they went up 3-1 with those two quick goals, (but) we figured we had nothing to lose -- so we just went out there and played as hard as we could, and it paid off for us," said Warren (9-3-4, 4-0-2) senior Samantha Pullins, who stunned the Wildcats (11-2-2, 5-0-1) when she hit the equalizer in the 70th minute.
"We're obviously a little disappointed with (them) coming back to earn the draw, but we have to put this one behind right away, and get ready for Stevenson who we play on Monday to decide the conference championship," said Wildcats senior Dakota Lyons, who came back from club soccer to give her club yet another quality player on an already talented roster.
The visitors open the scoring in the fifth minute on a brilliant effort from senior Ella Skelton, who collected a loose ball on the left side and beat two challengers before finishing with sublime touch.
Libertyville's Sydney Dulak -- whose initial shot was blocked -- stayed with the play before firing in from just outside the box in the 18th minute.
Blue Devils keeper Trish Georgiou, who came to the rescue on a trio of terrific chances from the Wildcats, turned around an attempt from Lyons in the 20th minute -- which at this point in the contest would see the home side enjoy most of the play until intermission.
"The game was played at such a high speed in the first half, and toward the end of the half, they had more of the possession, and spent more time in our end. But our defense held up really well when we needed them to," Georgiou said.
Sixteen minutes into the second period, the Wildcats' Paige Gleason helped her club take its first lead of the night when she drove her one-timer the opposite way of Georgiou after collecting a ball from sister Avery.
The Gleasons were at it again three minutes later to double the Wildcats' advantage when the Blue Devils allowed Paige to take another helper from her sister, turn, then find the back of the net at an open far post.
Pullins would pull one back at 63 minutes when confusion along the back by the Wildcats allowed the talented center-midfielder to draw the visitors to 3-2.
"Scoring so quickly after Libertyville went up 3-1 was really important for us. It was the goal that really inspired us from thereafter," said Blue Devils coach Ryan McCabe.
Freshmen Maya Martinek won a loose ball -- and quickly found Mia Gloria, whose quick one-touch serve back over the top caught the Wildcats pushing forward -- to which Pullins took full advantage of with a great touch to beat keeper Kate Hopman.
"This is a resilient group we have here, and they showed just how much they are by never giving in," McCabe said.