Girls soccer: Libertyville outlasts Stevenson for sectional crown
Three teams battled through the girls soccer season in the North Suburban Conference as Libertyville, Stevenson and Warren beat each other on the road and settled for a three-way tie.
In the postseason, Stevenson got past Warren in the sectional semifinal 4-0 and the Patriots were after another road victory over Libertyville Friday night.
But top-seeded Libertyville prevailed with a goal late in the second half and held off No. 3 Stevenson 1-0 in the Class 3A sectional final on in Libertyville.
"It feels great and it's something I think these girls deserved all season," Libertyville coach Daniel De Paz said. "That's the kind of kids we have on the team. I just think it's the kind of soccer we've played all season. We have one loss, against this awfully good Stevenson team. It was well-deserved and kind of back and forth.
"Every day, we try to go hard in practice with a lot of possession, a lot of one-two touch games," De Paz said. "That's just fitness all the time. I also think the schedule we've had with the tough teams, we've been fit enough to push all the way through the 80 minutes. That's been huge this game and the last one."
The Wildcats (16-1) scored their goal in the 72nd minute off a corner kick from Jenna Krakowski, which Sally Grace Rodgers knocked a header into the back of the net for her fourth goal this season.
"We've been practicing this all season," Rodgers said. "Jenna has put in some great balls and I go back post. I was just able to nail it in. I was just able to connect with the ball."
Libertyville keeper Hannah Vieth earned her 13th clean sheet and made all 7 of her stops in the second half.
"With our defensive line, I can trust them 100 percent," Vieth said. "I just have to play the game and keep my composure."
Stevenson (15-4-1) has reached the sectional final over the last three seasons. The Patriots have shown that they deserve to be in the final and had the ability to go further in the state tournament.
"It was fair that the three teams shared the conference championship," Stevenson coach PepeJon Chavez said. "I will argue forever that I'm sure Ryan (McCabe) and Dan (De Paz), that we might have been the best team this season. But we didn't finish in the final moments of the sectional final. Libertyville was able to get a corner kick and I'm happy for (Libertyville). I hope they move on and go all the way.
"I'm looking for the future of Stevenson. I'd be remiss if I didn't focus on my seniors and an amazing job they did with everyone over the three to four years. It's a special group of ladies that fights for a common goal and one another."
Libertyville will next play New Trier in the Glenbrook North supersectional on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. in Northbrook. The Trevians shutout Evanston 2-0 to win the Maine South sectional Friday.