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Girls Soccer: Lincoln-Way North tops Willowbrook in OT to reach Windy City Ram Classic final

TashFields (8) Lincoln-Way North ValentinPoggi Willowbrook go up for header. | JCunningham/For Sun-Times Media

Tasha Fields (8) of Lincoln-Way North and Valentina Poggi of Willowbrook go up for a header. | Jon Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 28, 2014 10:32AM



For most of Wednesday night’s game, Lexi Cesario anchored a Lincoln-Way North back line that shut down Willowbrook’s attack.

At the same time, though, she watched as her teammates came up empty on several scoring chances, resulting in the game going to overtime still scoreless.

“It was frustrating,” she said. “From the back you can see the whole field, and there were a lot of chances where I thought we were going to score and didn’t.”

When North coach Mike Murphy moved Cesario to forward, Cesario was ready to change that.

Cesario scored the only goal of the night with 3:29 left in overtime as the Phoenix outlasted Willowbrook 1-0 in a Windy City Ram Classic semifinal at Glenbard East.

Cesario took a pass from Rachel Pappas, found herself behind the Willowbrook defense for a breakaway and beat Willowbrook goalie Amber Welch with a bouncing shot for the game-winner.

“I just dribbled in, and to be honest, it was the worst shot of my life,” Cesario said. “I shot it at (Welch) but it somehow bounced through.”

North (4-0) will meet Glenbard East in the title game at noon Saturday at Toyota Park.

“Our goal was to make it Toyota Park,” Murphy said. “Now our goal is to go there and bring home a big trophy.”

With Cesario’s heroics, the Phoenix finally solved Welch, who made five saves to keep Willowbrook (3-1) in it despite North controlling play throughout.

Welch came up big to stop a Bianca Galassini header off Brenna Streamlau’s corner kick in the opening minute of the second half. She also denied Sarah Mirabella and Pappas on breakaways.

Willowbrook did not have a scoring chance until after Cesario’s goal. Valentina Poggi fired a long shot, the ball hitting the crossbar with 2:55 left in the overtime. The Warriors had a chance for a rebound, but North goalie Bethany Dombkowski smothered it to seal the win.

“Overall, we played a good game,” Willowbrook coach Victor Marquez said. “We defended more than we wanted to, but these past four games have gone well. It’s a good start for a really young team.”



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