Girls Soccer: Lincoln-Way North excited about a first by finishing fourth
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media June 7, 2014 8:34PM
Lincoln-Way North goalkeeper Bethany Dombkowski (0) and teammate Lexi Cesario (12) work together to stop a goal by Kristen Dodson (4) of Waubonsie Valley. | Jon Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 9, 2014 6:37AM
The fourth-place trophy is not the one desired by any team that advances to the state finals, but hoisting it Saturday still felt pretty sweet for Lincoln-Way North.
“I’m thrilled,” North senior Brenna Stremlau said. “I wanted to do this before I graduated. No one expected us to do this this year. We had a lot of doubters. I’m really proud of everybody.”
It’s the first state trophy in a girls sport in school history for North, which had plenty to celebrate despite a 5-1 loss to Waubonsie Valley in the Class 3A third-place game at North Central College.
“If you told me at the beginning of the season that we’d make it here, I’d be laughing,” North coach Mike Murphy said. “I told the girls that I don’t care what the result was, it was a huge accomplishment to get here.
“Our school’s only six years old. We’re one of the smallest schools in 3A. We accomplished a lot.”
The Phoenix (22-5-1) had their hands full with Waubonsie Valley (23-2-3), whicih was considered by many to be the favorite to win the state title. The Warriors came out angry after Friday’s 1-0 semifinal loss to New Trier.
Add in that North was without starting goalkeeper Bethany Dombkowski due to a concussion suffered Friday and it’s no surprise that the Phoenix struggled defensively.
Mackenzie Fuller scored just 53 seconds into the match off a Tori Christiansen pass to get the Warriors rolling. Kristen Dodson’s goal in the 10th minute made it 2-0.
By the time Emily Dickens and Rachael Brots found the net, Waubonsie had a 4-0 first-half lead.
After Christiansen’s goal made it 5-0 early in the second half, the Phoenix found some positives.
Kelsey McInturff appeared to score for North with 26:15 left, but offsides was called. Twenty minutes later, the Phoenix did get on the board as Rachel Pappas scored on a penalty kick for her team-best 23rd goal.
“The girls could have folded down 4-0, but we came out and played well in the second half,” Murphy said. “We’re a very young team, so hopefully we can build off this, make it back here and be more competitive the next time we make it here.”
North had just four seniors, three of which were starters, and figures to return its leading scorers in Pappas, freshman Bianca Galassini and junior Sarah Mirabella, plus three-year starters Valen Manns and Grace Sheetz.
“We’re really excited about next year,” Manns said. “I’m going to miss these seniors, though. There’s big shoes to fill.”