GIRLS SOCCER: Manteno advances to regional championship
BRAIDWOOD — The Manteno girls soccer team scored three goals in the final eight minutes of the first half to pull away from Reed-Custer for a 3-1 IHSA Class 1A Reed-Custer Regional semifinal win Wednesday.
The Panthers improved to 10-6 on the year and advanced to the regional championship to play Bishop McNamara on Friday. The Comets ended their season with a 5-10-1 record.
Sophomore Kira Grisham put the Panthers on the board 32 minutes into the game with a goal to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead by breaking down the middle of the Comets defense.
Five minutes later, another sophomore, forward Cori Lingo, crashed the net and scored to put the Panthers up 2-0 with three minutes left in the half.
Less than two minutes after that, senior Ryan Conway found the back of the net to extend the lead to 3-0 before the half ended.
“I saw an opportunity with a lot of open space in front of me,” Conway said. “I dribbled as hard as I could, and once I saw an opening, I took my shot and buried it.”
The Comets, with their season on the line, responded three minutes into the second half with a goal from Kaily Collins to cut the Panther lead to 3-1, but that’s as far as their comeback attempt would get.
Comets coach Kim Askew, said it wasn’t for a lack of effort, especially from Collins.
“Kaily is a hardworking kid and great athlete,” Kim Askew said. “She’s always making great decisions and hustling out there.”
Askew was happy her team was able to improve on a 5-1 loss to Manteno earlier in the year and show improvements as the season progressed.
“We’re a young team, and I think our record doesn’t necessarily reflect how much this team has grown throughout the year,” Askew said. “I think we played Manteno much better this second time around. We played hard, but we just couldn’t finish our shots.”
Despite winning, Manteno coach Justin Emerson was disappointed with his teams’ overall effort and energy.
“We played poorly tonight,” Emerson said. “It was one of our worst performances of the year, and we have to be a lot better if we want to compete with Bishop McNamara on Friday.”
Conway echoed the sentiments of her coach, pinpointing the area in which her team needs to improve on most.
“We struggled with our communication tonight,” Conway said. “That usually contributes to most of our problems.”
Madi O’Dell had 12 saves in a routinely stellar game for the Panthers. For Reed-Custer, freshman goalkeeper Kylee Ledlow had 11 saves.
The Panthers will square off with Bishop McNamara for the IHSA Class 1A Reed-Custer Regional championship at 4:30 p.m. Friday in Reed-Custer.