Metea Valley girls soccer take on Neuqua Valley in the sectional semifinal where the Mustangs advance to the final. This highlight is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank.
Following their upset of top seed Naperville Central, the Neuqua Valley Wildcats again take the field at Memorial Stadium looking to spring another surprise, this time on Metea Valley girls soccer. But reigning NSW Play of the Week winner Julia Straub and the Mustangs are looking for another crack at a sectional championship.
Right from kickoff, Neuqua is on the attack with freshman sensation Selma Larbi, who sets up junior Anna Yuccas for the curling effort, but it goes high off the mark.
Metea gets even closer on their first attack, as freshman Olivia Hernandez rattles the crossbar with a powerful shot from outside the penalty area and Neuqua Valley eventually scrambles the ball clear.
On a windy night, long shots were worth a try, but Wildcats keeper Zoe Fabian is equal to this effort as she tips it over the crossbar needing every inch of her reach.
Off a Metea set piece, it’s another save to make for Fabian, this one more straightforward on a headed attempt by Jordan Lange.
With chances few and far between, Neuqua has no choice, but to go for some lower percentage chances like this long free kick by senior Brooke Miller.
Fabian saves her best save of the first half for last, denying a point-blank header from Metea’s Leanne Barrett off a corner kick to keep the game tied 0-0 headed into halftime.
But in the second half things don’t stay even for long. Phenomenal work by Lucy Burk getting by a defender, and with time and space to pick a pass, she finds the foot of Lange who’s finally able to beat Fabian and give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead.
But the Wildcats almost come up with an immediate response. Sophomore Brianna Clasen cuts on to her right foot and fires a shot just past the left-hand post of Julia Straub in the Metea goal.
Lange and Fabian do battle once more as the Mustangs winger tries an audacious curler from a tight angle, but the Wildcats’ goalie keeps her team within one as she palms away the effort.
Soon after, Neuqua has its best chance of the night to equalize, but Yuccas can’t quite sort out her feet at the near post following a well-placed cross.
Jordan Lange back for more and this time she is able to put another curling effort on target; this one with plenty of power into the top corner giving Fabian no chance to stop it and doubling both her and the Mustangs tally to two.
With time now short, Neuqua really begins to press forward on the attack, but a swiveling shot from Yuccas only finds the gloves of Straub.
With a chance to score her second goal of the season in just two games, Kaylee Bannack goes looking for the knockout punch for Metea, but her shot doesn’t dip quite fast enough.
Last chance for Neuqua to salvage something while there’s still time left, but Keira Byrnes can’t steer the ball goalwards under pressure from the defense. It’s a victory in the sectional semifinals for Metea Valley, with Jordan Lange deservedly carried off as a hero for her performance. The Mustangs advance to take on perennial state qualifiers Naperville North in the sectional final.
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