southtownstar
LUMINOUS 
Weather Updates

Girls Soccer: Lincoln-Way North ready to deliver on state stage

Lincoln-Way North's Lexi Cesario (12) steals ball from Lions' Margaret Lynch (left) during class 3A Lewis Super-Sectional  Lewis University

Lincoln-Way North's Lexi Cesario (12) steals the ball from Lions' Margaret Lynch (left) during the class 3A Lewis Super-Sectional at Lewis University in Romeoville, IL on Tuesday, June 03, 2014 | Sean King / For Sun-Times Media

storyidforme: 67409274
tmspicid: 23993777
fileheaderid: 11799313

Class 2A GIRLS State SOCCER

At North Central College,
Naperville

Friday’s Class 3A semifinals

Lincoln-Way North (22-3-1) vs.
St. Charles East (18-4-5), 5 p.m.

New Trier (29-1) vs.
Waubonsie Valley (22-1-3), 7 p.m.

Saturday

Third-place game, 5 p.m.

Championship, 7 p.m.

Updated: July 7, 2014 6:32AM



Lincoln-Way North is used to the underdog role, and the Phoenix is happy to go into Friday’s Class 3A state semifinals as the field’s “mystery team.”

“I think if you had to pick a favorite (for Friday’s match), people would say St. Charles East is the favorite,” North coach Mike Murphy said. “I think everyone would have said Lyons was the favorite against us in the supersectional, though.

“We just have to continue to do what we’re doing. Sometimes we’re not the prettiest team. We’re young, we might get out possessed, but we do our thing. We play defense and we know how to get the ball into dangerous spots and take advantage.”

The Phoenix (22-3-1) and St. Charles East (18-4-5) will square off at 5 p.m. Friday at North Central College in Naperville.

North, making its first appearance at state, is the first team from the Southland to reach the Final Four in 3A since Sandburg finished second in 2010. No Southland school has won a state championship in girls soccer in the history of the state tournament, which dates to 1988.

“People don’t give the South Side much credit, but we can play soccer, too,” Murphy said. “Beating a program like Lyons in the supersectional, I think it shows that our program has stepped it up a notch.”

North has done it with defense. The Phoenix, which has won 14 straight games, has allowed more than one goal just once this season, in a 5-1 loss to York when North played several JV players.

Senior goalie Bethany Dombkowski has recorded 14 shutouts. Fellow senior Lexi Cesario made the transition from one of the Phoenix’s top offensive weapons in 2013 to center defender this year and has helped the squad shut down the opposition.

“I never even thought about (going to state) during the season,” Dombkowski said. “But now we’re going, and I’m super-excited.”

St. Charles East, making its first state appearance since 2000, will challenge the North defense with an explosive attack led by Amanda Hilton (16 goals, 13 assists) and Darcy Cunningham (15 goals, 15 assists).

“Their midfield is phenomenal,” Murphy said. “They have speed and they attack on the outsides. They’re good.”

Offensively, North will depend on a pair of rising stars in sophomore Rachel Pappas (21 goals) and freshman Bianca Galassini (10 goals, 13 assists). Galassini scored the game-tying goal late in the second half against Lyons.

North already has made school history. Now, the Phoenix wants more.

“I looked at the girls at practice (Wednesday) and said ‘Don’t just be satisfied,’ ” Murphy said. “ ‘Let’s not settle for a fourth-place trophy. Let’s keep playing our game and see what we can do. We can surprise some people.’ ”



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.