3A girls soccer: Plainfield North advances past previously unbeaten Lockport to reach sectional finals

Katelyn Haiser’s goal with 7 minutes left gave the Tigers the 2-1 win

Plainfield North's Katelyn Haiser breaks away against Lockport during the Class 3A Sectional at Plainfield North on May 22, 2024.

PLAINFIELD – Not every great matchup on paper lives up to the hype. Sometimes one team doesn’t play to its potential, or the other team just turns out to be much better.

But every now and then, a great potential matchup does live up to the hype.

Thankfully for everyone in attendance Wednesday, the girls soccer game between Plainfield North and Lockport was one of those games. The only ones disappointed with the way the game went were Lockport’s Porters, who saw their season come to an end with their first loss of the year.

For the Tigers? There was an air of excitement after beating Lockport 2-1, but also a calm of sorts, as though there was still work to be done. Given that the game was a Class 3A Plainfield North Sectional semifinal, that’s true.

Still, with how exciting of a game they had Wednesday against the team they were playing, there’s no doubt every Tiger on the field felt a sense of pride.

After all, the Porters entered the game 24-0. They’d rarely been challenged, giving up multiple goals in a match only once (in the season opener) and outscoring their opponents 102-7.

They’ve been so good, in fact, it’s possible it may have been lost on others just how good Plainfield North also has been this season. The Tigers have won 21 of their past 22 matches, with the other result ending in a tie. The win Wednesday was their 15th in a row after graduating 15 seniors last season.

So no pressure entering the game, right?

“We knew Lockport was a great team coming in, so we had to do a lot of homework ahead of time,” coach Katie Monterosso said. ”Last year we went to the first ever supersectional in program history, and Lockport and us last year were very similar. We understand that pressure and know that the more you win, there’s that heightened pressure, but you always want to go out and show your heart.

“That was heart today.”

The match was a scoreless draw for the majority of the first half until sophomore Lauryn Amico scored in a scrum with just four minutes left to make it 1-0 Plainfield North at halftime.

The action remained even in the second half with both sides creating quality chances and both defenses and keepers doing their duty. That was until Lockport’s Meghan Mack was called upon to attempt a penalty kick with 21 minutes left in regulation. The score, like the flow of the contest, was even once again.

With seven minutes remaining, sophomore Katelyn Haiser decided she’d had just about enough of that. From 20 yards out with an incredibly challenging angle, she saw an opening, shot the ball from distance and squeezed it just past the keeper into the right corner of the net to put the Tigers up 2-1, which is how it remained.

Natalie Zodrow of Lockport takes control against Plainfield North during the Class 3A Sectional at Plainfield North on May 22, 2024.

“Katelyn is just one of those players that can finish a ball from anywhere,” Monterosso said. “She has 32 goals [this season] for a reason. She just finds a way and figures it out.”

As for Lockport, the effort they gave all year and the magical run they had can’t be ignored. While seven Division I commits are seniors, including Emma Czech (19 assists) and Natalie Zodrow (17 goals), the Porters will return Alyssa Flood (Wisconsin-Green Bay commit), Ava Kozack (23 goals, Marquette commit) and Yuridia Hernandez (13 goals, six assists). The future remains bright.

“It was a memorable season,” coach Todd Elkei said. “It was a pleasure just going to practice with these guys. Their work ethic, their character, the way they carry themselves around the school, they’re just a class act. This game doesn’t define their season.”

Next up, Plainfield North will face off with Naperville Central at 4:30 p.m. Friday to determine who heads to the St. Charles North Supersectional. The Tigers are continuing forward with a business-as-usual mentality.

“We just have to stay disciplined,” Haiser said. “We have to work really hard like this last game. We’re all very skilled players, and I think we can do it.”