Girls soccer: Benet beats St. Viator, moves closer to ESCC title

Redwings sophomore Annie Fitzgerald scores game winner

Benet’s Annie Fitzgerald (10) is greeted by her teammate after scoring a late goal against St. Viator Tuesday, April 23, 2024 in Lisle.

LISLE – Benet Academy has one arm wrapped around the East Suburban Catholic Conference championship trophy after the Redwings (9-2-1, 5-0-0) recorded a 4-2 victory Tuesday over St. Viator.

The Redwings entered the contest just in front of the Lions in the standings with one game in hand. After chasing the lead twice in the first half, the home side dominated play in the second half.

“We all knew how big of a game this was today, so to come back twice in the first half to make it 2-2 at the half was huge for us,” Redwings freshman Megan Bergman said.

Benet’s Sam Schriedel (17) heads a ball over St. Viator's Frannie Drake (16) Tuesday, April 23, 2024 in Lisle.

Bergman and her teammates watched the Lions (10-2-0, 3-1-0) go ahead when Monica Correa drove her low smash into the back of the net in the fifth minute.

Eleanor Mahan drew her club back level at 10 minutes when she finished into the far inside netting after Rania Fikri would do all the work in advance to help set up Mahan.

A neatly placed ball across the box and to the spot from Correa allowed Maggie Drake to easily one-touch the second goal of the day for the Lions just before 30 minutes.

Mahan stunned the Lions faithful when she somehow got a touch on a ball headed over the end line and sent it past Lions goalkeeper Kyli Ziebka.

“We did a lot of very good things in that first half. But allowing them to get back even before the break really took a lot out of us heading into the second half,” Lions coach Byron DeLeon said.

After peppering the Lions for the first 10 minutes of the second half, Redwings sophomore Annie Fitzgerald fired in the eventual game-winner with a lovely left-footed effort from 25 yards.

The home side would double its advantage on an own goal in which Fitzgerald would facilitate when she delivered a ball into the box from the near touchline.

Benet’s Eleanor Mahan (18) is greeted by her teammates after a goal against St. Viator Tuesday, April 23, 2024 in Lisle.

With the tiebreaker now in place, the Redwings can officially clinch their fourth consecutive ESCC crown with a win over Joliet Catholic Academy on May 1.

In advance of their league finale, the Redwings will play a Naperville Invite quarterfinal on Thursday against Lyons Township.

The Lions, who were looking to win their first league title since 2018, will play Notre Dame on Thursday before finishing up their ESCC schedule with Carmel Catholic and Marist.

“We played a great first half of soccer, but we lost our energy in the second half, especially after they went ahead of us at 3-2,” St. Viator’s senior forward Allsion Konopka said.