LISLE – There are many forms of celebration when scoring a key goal in a soccer match.
Wheaton Academy junior Ally Witt may have created one all her own while scoring the first goal in the Warriors’ 2-0 win over St. Francis in the Class 2A Benedictine Supersectional Tuesday.
Karen Clancy played the ball in from the midfield and St. Francis sophomore keeper Jenny Ditusa rushed out of the net to try to stop the scoring chance. But Witt chipped it over Ditusa and saw the ball roll into the net after colliding with Ditusa and landing on her hip, leaving her on the ground in apparent pain.
“I was laughing,” Witt said. “I was in so much pain. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m in so much pain, but this is awesome.’ I always laugh off pain, so it was the emotions of it being awesome that we just scored, and pain.”
Witt’s goal came in a scoreless game with 13:29 left in the second half, and it came 8 minutes after she received a rare yellow card.
“At that point in the game, St. Francis had the better of possession,” said Wheaton Academy coach Scott Marksbury, who had seen his team go 1-5 on artificial turf on the season prior to Tuesday’s win. “They had been coming at us. We were waiting for something to change the game, and I think what did it was Ally getting the yellow card. She doesn’t get very many of those, so it made her kind of mad. She came out with a little bit of fire.”
Witt played through the pain and scored an insurance goal with 5:17 left to send the Warriors (15-6) to their third straight state tournament. They won the Class 2A title in 2009 before taking third place last year.
They had to get past rival St. Francis (18-7-2), who has still never beaten Wheaton Academy in program history. The Spartans put five shots on goal, but Kristen Morency was up to the challenge on every one. Her biggest save came with 11:10 left in the first half when Taylor Bucaro’s 40-yard free kick required Morency to tip the shot off the crossbar and out of bounds.
“We had more shots,” St. Francis coach Jim Winslow said. “We had better opportunities. The last 10 minutes is just survival. You’re hoping that you get an opportunity to tie it, but their second goal was a 1-on-1 and Ally’s a good enough player where she’ll burn you and finish it.”
Wheaton Academy will head to Naperville Central High School for the Class 2A state semifinals Friday at 1 p.m. against Troy Triad. The tournament was moved from its normal site, North Central College, because the school is installing new artificial turf.
The finals and third-place matches are slated for Saturday.