Girls Soccer: Early goal lifts Lincoln-Way North over Andrew
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media April 22, 2014 9:12PM
Lincoln-Way North's Valen Manns (19) cuts off the shot of Andrew's Alexis O'Neill. | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 24, 2014 6:34AM
Sarah Mirabella saw her opportunity Tuesday night and pounced.
The beneficiary of a misplayed goal kick that left her with a shot at an open net, Lincoln-Way North’s Mirabella had just one thing on her mind: don’t blow this chance.
“I had no clue that was going to happen,” Mirabella said. “I just thought (Andrew goalie Amanda Roche) might play the ball out there so I just went for it. I tried to focus but it was like, ‘Oh, my God, there’s an open net, I can’t mess this up.’ ”
Mirabella didn’t mess it up, and her goal in the 13th minute was the only one of the night as the Phoenix held on for a 1-0 win over Andrew in a SouthWest Suburban Red clash in Tinley Park.
Andrew (6-3-2, 1-1) controlled play for much of the remaining time but North (10-3-1, 1-0) and Bethany Dombkowski (7 saves) made sure the goal held up. Dombkowski recorded her seventh shutout of the season.
“We didn’t play really well,” North coach Mike Murphy said. “The last 20 minutes of the first half were ugly and the last 10 minutes of the match they were really possessing it well against us. Bethany made some great saves. I’d say she was definitely the player of the game.”
Dombkowski’s biggest test came with 29 minutes left in the match. The T-bolts created a nice chance off a give-and-go between Brooke Zidek and Jenna Ebeling that ended with Zidek firing a dangerous shot from a tough angle that Dombkowski was able to punch away.
“Andrew is always a tough game for us — a game we’re excited for,” Dombkowski said. “There’s a lot of pressure on me, but I want to make as many saves as I can. To get that touch on that shot, sometimes professionals can’t even get that touch, so that was a big confidence boost for me.”
Dombkowski also made stops on two Alexis O’Neill free kicks from striking distance in the final 26 minutes.
Lincoln-Way North hopes the win will go a long way toward winning its fifth straight conference crown.
“Everyone talks about the rivalry between us and (Lincoln-Way) East or Central, but this is the rivalry for us,” Murphy said. “The last few years, it’s always us and them battling for the conference. This was a really big win, even though it’s only our first conference match.”
Andrew, meanwhile, was left frustrated.
“We made a mistake, and at this level against this caliber of a team, that can be the difference between winning and losing,” Andrew coach Loren Zolk said. “We played really well; we just couldn’t score. I was happy with the performance but not the result.”