LISLE – Maren Hoovel walked off the turf Tuesday night with a ton of goals and the knowledge that she played a huge role in helping Montini grow into a Class 1A soccer power.
She just didn’t walk away with a chance at a second straight trophy.
The Broncos, who placed third in the state last spring, fell 2-1 in overtime to a Rock Island Alleman team that they had eliminated in a supersectional last spring. The Pioneers (14-3-1) advanced to the Class 1A semifinals Friday at North Central College against IC Catholic.
Hoovel, who is headed to St. Mary’s in California to play Division I soccer, opened the scoring with her 42nd goal of the season – far and away the Broncos’ school record. The Glenbard West transfer closed out her career with 88 goals in three seasons, three of the goals coming in a 5-2 win over Timothy Christian in the sectional finals.
Ten minutes into Tuesday’s contest at Benedictine University, she tallied off a feed from Avery Lucatorto to give Montini (9-5-4) a 1-0 lead.
Unfortunately for the Broncos, it was the only goal they could get past Pioneers keeper Clair Hulke on the night. Hulke made four saves in regulation and three more in the two 10-minute overtimes.
“Those chances were definitely a little frustrating for me,” Hoovel said. “But, I mean, we just played our hearts out the entire game. We never gave up. We kept fighting until the last minute. That’s like a picture of our team this whole season.
“We did all we could do. We just got cut short. It [stinks]. There’s only room for this program to grow.”
The Broncos had more than their share of serious injuries this spring but kept battling under first-year coach Barry Briggs, who had the luxury of counting on plenty of offense from his star forward.
“Nobody had this many goals. Nobody carried a team the way she carried this team and nobody took on the bigger schools,” he said of his talented senior. “She scored four goals against York, a very big school, in a 4-4 tie.”
Hoovel had a big goal in the supersectional, but it was not quite enough. The Pioneers’ Gretchen Ellis scored what proved to be the game-winner three minutes into the first extra session.
“It could have gone either way,” Briggs said. “I’m totally proud of these girls. We had things go against us before the season even started. We had three ACL tears. We didn’t have a goalie at the beginning of season. And we got this far.”
Broncos goalie Natalie Gartlan, who returned from an ACL injury to play well this spring, made six saves against Alleman, including a great stop on Carson Wendt in the first overtime that kept the score at 2-1 and gave Montini hope. Wendt scored her team’s first goal Tuesday just a minute after Hoovel had opened the scoring.
“Montini definitely has a solid team,” said Alleman coach Randy Bollman, who guided the Pioneers downstate in 2015 in a previous stint as the school’s head coach. “I felt like we had an advantage at the end of the game, but they had some looks. Fortunately, they hit it right at our keeper.”