Huntley scores 2 minutes into overtime
ALGONQUIN – The official, who was soaked through his jersey by the driving rain, must have looked disappointed that Huntley’s match against Boylan on Tuesday was headed into overtime.
“I told him not to worry,” Huntley girls soccer coach Kris Grabner said. “We’d have this match done in 5 minutes.”
It took about 2 minutes of overtime for the Red Raiders to deliver on Grabner’s prediction as sophomore Emily Konior ensured that no one had to endure more of the rain during the IHSA Class 3A Jacobs Sectional semifinal against the Titans.
Konior sent a long ball into the left corner of the Titans’ goal for a 2-1, come-from-behind victory that sent the Raiders into the sectional championship match for the second consecutive season.
Huntley (24-1-1) will face either Barrington or McHenry at 7 p.m. Friday for the sectional title.
The Fillies and the Warriors were scheduled to play Tuesday’s other sectional semifinal, but an hour-long thunder and lightning delay during the second half of the Raiders’ match caused sectional organizers to push the match back to 6:30 p.m. today.
Playing overtime, despite the rain, didn’t faze Huntley much. The Raiders have played four overtime matches this season and finished three of them within the first minute of the extra session.
“After [regulation], one of the players came up to the bench and just said, ‘Coach, we’ve been here before,’ ” Grabner said. “They knew they could finish the game fast. We certainly had the momentum, and we had the past experience on our side.”
The Titans (21-6) led by one at halftime and took that lead into the rain delay. When the two teams took the field again, Huntley adjusted its strategy.
Boylan was playing a 3-4-3 formation, and the Raiders decided to counter with the same offensive strategy.
Huntley started to dominate possessions and finally got the scoring opportunity the players had been waiting for, as junior Cori Wronski won the ball in the midfield and cut up the middle of the field, waited for Boylan keeper Molly Bender to pop out of the goal, and launched a 30-foot shot with her left foot into the right corner of the Titans goal to tie the match at 1 with 9:33 left in regulation.
The late second-half goal gave Huntley plenty of momentum heading into the extra session.
“I think that goal was the best one ever,” said Wronski, who has scored more than 25 goals this season. “Both goals we scored tonight were fantastic.”
Konior’s gem, though, sent the Raiders’ bench and fans into a frenzy.
“I was in the right spot, and I saw [Bender] come out, so I picked a corner,” Konior said. “When we went to that 3-4-3 everything started to work out. All the forwards were thinking together, and we started to play really well.”