It’s IHSA Girls State Soccer weekend at Benedetti Wehrli Stadium on the campus of North Central College, and the Benet Academy Redwings are looking to claim a second Class 2A title in four years, but first in the semifinals they are up against the Deerfield Warriors with a spot in the final against Triad on the line. This highlight is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank.
Straight from kickoff the game springs to life, and in the first minute Benet senior Katie Lewellyan picks up the ball in her own half and goes charging straight down the middle of the field. She evades a few Deerfield defenders and takes it all the way, eventually passing the ball into the corner of the net for a spectacular solo goal! Take another look, as the lone returning varsity team member from the 2019 title team cannot be stopped.Lewellyan has another chance a couple minutes later, but this shot does not quite have enough curve to find the target.
Benet plays with a very high defensive line, and Deerfield try to exploit that with a ball over the top, but Redwings keeper Shannon Clark cuts down the angle and makes the stop just outside the box.
But on the ensuing corner, Clark is out jumped by Deerfield’s Emily Fox, who heads home the ball to tie things up at one.
Benet almost scores a goal directly from a corner as well, as Bailey Abbott is left all alone but her volley is just high and wide.
Soon after it’s a chance for Deerfield on the break, but in the end the shot by Maggie Culver is tame and an easy save for Clark.
Clark with nearly another save to make, as the Warriors’ Holly Deutsch has a go from 35 yards out, but Clark gratefully watches the ball float wide.
Deerfield dominating much of the first half after going behind early, and they take the lead on this phenomenal strike by Fox who gets her second goal as the Warriors take a 2-1 lead into the break.
After the half, Benet took the initiative, as this seeing-eye pass nearly finds Rachel Burns for another early goal.
Defensively the Red Wings still have to stay on their toes, Clark once again making a save, this time to deny Fox as she hunts for her hat trick.
Another chance for Benet as they search for an equalizer, this time it’s Mariana Pinto who can’t quite find the net on a left-footed shot.
Benet’s hard work throughout the second half does finally pay off, as a nice cross from freshman Eleanor Mahan bounces all the way through to Anna Casmere who makes no mistake and fires her shot past the goalie to tie the game at two.
Casmere almost scores twice in two minutes, as another cross just skips past her foot and the game remains tied.
But not for long, decide for yourself whether you think she meant to do it, but this shot or cross from Casmere finds a way to float over Lauren Gottlieb and into the back of the net for the go ahead goal! Luck, skill or a little bit of both, regardless Benet Academy is heading back to the 2A State Championship game against Triad!
Deerfield never found a response in the closing moments, and the Redwings are one win away from returning to the mountaintop of a state title after a 3-2 thrilling win over the Warriors.
For more prep sports highlights and post season coverage, visit the Naperville Sports Weekly page!