With Timothy Christian and Richmond Burton combining for 23 shutouts this season, it was no surprise that scoring chances were at a premium Monday night.
But when an opportunity presented itself to Maddie Drye late in the Class 1A IC Catholic Supersectional, the Trojans sophomore was ready for the big moment.
Taking a pass from Miliana Martens following a cross by Angie Tornabene, Drye found the back of the net with 2:28 left to give Timothy Christian a 1-0 victory and a first berth in the state semifinals for the program.
“This feels amazing,” said Drye, a lefty who used her right foot on the goal. “This is something we’ve been working really hard for all year.
“Coach talked to us about, in games like this it’s not always pretty. But you have to try to take the opportunities when they are presented to you. We all worked together [on that play]. Millie wasn’t selfish, our whole team is unselfish. And I shot for the corner like we practice and it went in. You just have to work hard all game and eventually the opportunity will come.”
Up until that point, the star of the match for the Trojans (16-2) was goalkeeper Corinne Myket, who made diving stops on three breakaways and came off her line a fourth time with less than 10 minutes remaining to thwart a potential chance. Besides that, Timothy Christian held the Rockets (15-3-3) to only one other shot behind a back line of Sophia Biscan, Marta Veenstra, Elena Munk and Chloe Leppink.
“This feels really good,” Myket said. “I didn’t know what this would be like going into it. I was pretty nervous, I knew they would be a hard team.
“It (the breakaways) was just instincts. And our defense is phenomenal, they stop so much. I’m just really happy with how the season is going, we just made history. Our coaches are great and everyone on this team is very kind and warm. Nobody is ever mad at each other, we just have a lot of good spirit.”
R-B, which had won five in a row and had outscored its opponents by a 93-13 margin, received eight saves from goalie Hannah Schleibinger. The Rockets started six freshmen, three sophomores and two seniors on Monday.
“Their effort has been great,” coach Casey Decaluwe said. “They battled until the last second. They are true champions. Nobody can take that sectional title away, and this group will be hungry to get right back here to this position and come out on the other side of this game.
“Our seniors were amazing leaders, and they showed all the girls what being a Rocket soccer player is all about.”
The Trojans, who reached the Elite Eight in 2007, will take a nine-match winning streak into Friday’s 1 p.m. matchup with Quincy Notre Dame at Hoffman Estates High School.
“I’m super proud that these girls get to experience this,” Timothy Christian coach Jon Hamelinck said. “It’s just a great group of girls who work hard. One thing we have done well all year is to continue to adapt all game and figure out how to break down the other team.
“This was a great match. Richmond-Burton played hard. It was pretty evenly matched, both teams had similar game plans. It came down to one play, and they call soccer a beautiful game for that reason.”