CARY – The scoring chances were there for Cary-Grove. Time and time again, however, Hononegah turned the Trojans away.
The Trojans had a total of 12 shots in a back-and-forth match, but ultimately lost, 1-0, to Hononegah on Tuesday in a Class 3A sectional semifinal match.
The best scoring opportunity that C-G had came in the final four minutes of the match when Kate Larry received a through-ball just past midfield, beat the final defender and fired a shot into the stomach of Hononegah goalkeeper Paige Taborski.
Larry’s shot was an unfortunate but fitting end on a day where the Trojans just couldn’t find the back of the net.
“They gave everything that they had, it was just a matter of capitalizing,” C-G coach Ray Krystal said.
The Trojans ended their 2021 season with a 9-3 record. Krystal praised his seniors after Tuesday’s match.
“They created an atmosphere that they valued for themselves,” Krystal said. “This team, every one of those players, especially the seniors, it was never about any one of them individually. They were there to bring everyone together like a family.”
Cary-Grove was able to hold the Indians to a scoreless draw until the final five minutes of the second half. After Trojan goalie Sydney Schmidt punched the ball up in the air, a Hononegah forward headed it once, and then defender Geneva Hann found herself in the right spot to head the ball into the back of the net past Schmidt for what turned out to be the match’s only score.
“It was my second [goal] of the season, especially with playing defense,” Hann said. “I think with this mentality and this start, we’re not done.”
After the Hononegah goal, the Trojans played a hard four minutes, putting up three more shots, but were unable to find the equalizer.
Both goalies received a lot of action and were forced to make big plays for their teams. Schmidt had a total of 11 saves, three of which she needed to jump up and punch over the center crossbar in order to prevent a Hononegah goal. Taborski had 12 saves, including the huge take to the stomach that stopped Larry from scoring.
“I want to give a lot of credit to our back line,” Larry said. “Kameron (Zurzolo) and Grace (Apgar) as the center Ds, they did so well, and especially this game. We won most of the balls out of the air. The first half we came out strong. We finally came together as a team as the season went on and it was super fun. It was a good way to end, we got pretty far, so we were pretty happy about that.”
Hononegah (15-1) advances to the sectional finals and will play Barrington at 6 p.m. Friday.
“This was the toughest game we’ve played all season,” Hononegah coach Jay Bigwood said. “We have a lot of seniors on the team, and they’re pulling the rest through. For some of the younger players, I don’t think they’d believe we get this far, so it’s just a great experience.”