By Curt Herron
GLEN ELLYN - After seeing a 2-0 first half lead slip away in a 3-2 loss in double overtime a year ago against Hinsdale Central, Glenbard West was determined to avoid a similar fate when extra play began in Tuesday's West Suburban Conference Silver Division rematch,
Just as it appeared the result might have to be resolved by penalties, the Hilltoppers broke the scoreless deadlock in the 100th minute on a short goal from senior Katie Burke to give the Hilltoppers a 1-0 victory over the Red Devils on their Senior Night at Memorial Park.
It was the second one-goal victory of the season for Glenbard West (6-7-2, 2-1-0); the other was a 1-0 triumph over Morton on April 10. Coach Adam Szyszko's squad, which has six seniors, has suffered five one-goal defeats this season. All but one of the Hilltoppers' losses have come against teams ranked in the Chicagoland Soccer Top 25: Benet; Lincoln-Way East; Geneva; Metea Valley; Plainfield North; and York. The Hilltoppers tied currently ranked Wheaton North early in the season.
"The last time we played them, we lost in double overtime and the time before that, we lost in PKs," Szyszko said. "They had a bus issue so they got here a little bit late. Normally that's the team that starts flat, but we started out flat and for the first 55 minutes. We were passive. We were not very aggressive going to 50/50s. It was Senior Night and a different environment.
"But once we turned it on, I think we carried the play in the last 25 minutes of regulation, and I think we carried the play in the overtimes. They're dangerous, and (manager) Tony (Madonia) does a good job. They're a good side, and they play a tough schedule. The West Suburban is a meat-grinder. Everybody's good. My blood pressure is high, but it's fun."
With just six seniors on the roster, the Hilltoppers have received key contributions from its underclasses.
"We've got a couple of young players who are stepping up, playing big roles and doing some good things for us," Szyszko said. "(Freshman) Hana Allen is dynamic in the midfield. (Sophomore) Lauren Escalante is playing huge minutes for us, and (sophomore) Hannah Michalowski has been phenomenal.
"We know where we're at. We have seven losses and six of them are to Top 25 teams. We lost to Metea last week when we made a mistake in the back, and they capitalized. It was good for us to get over the hump and get a win against a quality team. Hinsdale is a really good side. I have a lot of respect for their program and Tony, so to get that win is huge."
Hinsdale Central (9-6-2, 1-3-0) had six one-goal victories to help it get off to a 7-0-2 start, but the Red Devils have now lost their last three single-goal decisions. The others came against Neuqua Valley and ranked Lyons, in addition to a pair of shootout defeats in the Naperville Invitational.
The visitors hoped to win their tenth match, which would represent the most victories that the program has claimed in a season since 2016, when it last won a regional title.
"This has been one of the better seasons since 2016," Madonia said. "We only had three seniors who played tonight and only two with a lot of minutes, but we're not making excuses. Props to Adam and his girls, they always work super hard. He's a great coach, and he's got his team well-organized.
"This is the third year running that this game has gone into overtime or a shootout, so it's always a tough match. Last year it ended the same way, but we were on the good side of it. Both of us have girls that are out. We've got two defenders out and a goalkeeper out, and we defended really well. Today was a lesson of missed opportunities for us. We'll get back to the training ground and get ready for Downers Grove North on Thursday."
The Red Devils only have four seniors on their roster. Three of them played with two in the starting lineup, Ava Elliott and Carter Knotts.
Burke, whose sister Emma was a senior for the Hilltoppers in 2017, when they won their final home match against the Red Devils, still has one more match left on the home field against Glenbard East on Saturday along with classmates Sophia Brown, Gwen Johnson, Clare Kostolansky, Kendell Meyer and Annie Mitchell.
The senior defender was in a different role at but the right place at the right time when she connected with 50 seconds left. She ordinarily handles throw-ins, but with time was on the receiving end.
"They were really good and gave us a run for our money," Burke said. "They were playing to the end, just like us. I'm just so proud of our team for pushing through for 99 minutes. I was like, 'We're not going to penalty shots.'
"Usually I take the throw-ins. But since there was a minute left, our winger Lauren Escalante took the ball and threw it in. It just got loose in the middle, and I took the shot. It's been a tough battle between our two teams, and we lost to them the past two years. It was a big deal playing them on Senior Night. It just meant even more to get this win."
Neither side was able to connect through regulation play, and it looked like that trend would continue through the overtimes. However, both had plenty of good opportunities throughout the evening.
Glenbard West junior and Chicagoland Soccer All-Stater Ava Callaway stopped everything that the Hinsdale Central sent her way. Red Devils junior Mallory Giacchetti thwarted the attempts that came her way for 99 minutes and 9 seconds.
In the final overtime, Allen and Escalante provided the first best threats for the hosts; and senior Madelyn Panveno countered with a good attempt for the Red Devils.
In the initial 10-minutes of extra play, junior Julia Marinaccio and Elliott threatened for the visitors, and Allen had a long-range effort for the Hilltoppers.
"In the last two years, we've been up going into halftime," said Glenbard West’s Johnson said. "In the huddle going into overtime, I was like, 'Two times losses, the third time's the charm. This one is ours.' I'm really proud of the way that our team steps up for every game. We played Metea this past week, and we had our sophomores stepping up, and freshman Hana Allen is stepping up.
"We play one of the toughest schedules. I'm proud of the way that we've stepped up against these hard teams. We came out today and showed how much we wanted it. Starting off with a brand-new team with a lot of younger players, I'm really proud of the way that we've come together and the connections that we've formed in such a short amount of time. We're a family here."
Early in the final half, Hinsdale Central received good scoring chances from junior Cate McDonnell, freshman Addisyn Krogstie and Knotts. In the same stretch, Glenbard West's best efforts were provided by Escalante.
Later in the second half, Glenbard West threatened more often with Johnson, Brown and Michalowski leading the way. Elliott had one of the best scoring chances for the Red Devils.
Hinsdale Central went on the attack quickly from the opening whistle as McDonnell, Knotts and Elliott were dangerous. Glenbard West relied on a series of corner kicks from Kostolansky to produce its top scoring-opportunities.
"It does feel good since we lost to them the last two years," Kostolansky said. "It's been hard to jell because there are so many younger people. But the fact that they are younger is encouraging for what the future is going to look like, because there's only six of us leaving.
"I like the grit and the trust that we've all developed over time. At the beginning, it was a little bit rocky, but now we want to do it for each other."
The defenses put in a great effort. The Hilltoppers started junior Ellie Beaudoin, junior Audrey Sawyer, Burke and Meyer; the Red Devils used junior Katie Lynch, Elliott, Krogstie and Marinaccio for their primary backline.
Glenbard West, which won regional titles the past two seasons, will compete in the Lyons Regional where the host Lions are the top-seed and the Hilltoppers are seeded seventh. The teams meet on Tuesday in LaGrange in a Silver Division.
Hinsdale Central is the third-seed at the Riverside-Brookfield Regional, where the host Bulldogs are seeded sixth. After closing out its home and league schedule with Downers Grove North on Thursday, the Red Devils play undefeated defending state champion Metea Valley next Friday to conclude the regular-season.
GK - Mallory Giacchetti
D - Katie Lynch
D - Julia Marinaccio
D - Ava Elliott
D - Addisyn Krogstie
MF - Carter Knotts
MF - Avery Edgewater
MF - Peyton Rohn
MF - Adrianna Giannini
F - Cate McDonnell
F - Claire Snodgrass
GK - Ava Callaway
D - Kendell Meyer
D - Audrey Sawyer
D - Katie Burke
D - Ellie Beaudoin
MF - Clare Kostolansky
MF - Hana Allen
MF - Hannah Michalowski
MF - Annie Mitchell
F - Sophia Brown
F - Gwen Johnson
Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Katie Burke, sr., D, Glenbard West
GW - Katie Burke (Lauren Escalante), 100'