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Quarterfinal #1: St Ignatius 10 Fremd 9


LINCOLNSHIRE, IL - With just over eight minutes left to play, Fremd held an 8-5 lead over St Ignatius and looked like they would make it past the state quarterfinal round for the second straight year. Even after Kate Stelnicki scored a goal late in the third period to make the score 8-6, the Vikings had been able to hold down the Wolfpack offense enough to believe they could stay ahead of them just as they had done for the previous three quarters. Even after stopping St Ignatius on their first two possessions of the final period, it looked like Fremd was in control of the game.


St Ignatius had other plans. Celeste Almarez earned a steal, drew an ejection, and assisted Fernandez on her first goal of the contest to trim the Vikings' lead down to 8-7. The Wolfpack had a chance to tie the score on their next possession, but Erika Lauraitis was back at two meters to make a steal and prevent a scoring chance. Once they got the ball back, however, frosh Rebecca Insalaco drew a foul and then quickly found Hannah Cronin open, and she scored the game-tying goal with four minutes remaining, and it was anyone's game to win as the teams headed down the stretch.


Fremd still had thoughts of reaching the semifinals, most notably star senior Lauraitis. After finding herself defending at two meters on one end, she grabbed a loose ball at five meters on the other end and gave Fremd the perfect response to the 3-0 Ignatius run, as she scored her sixth goal of the game from that distance to make the score 9-8.


The Wolfpack answered right back, as Almarez drove towards the right post and Insalaco hooked her up with a perfect pass that allowed her to find the right corner of the net and tie the game at 9-9. And in a game that had already provided plenty of drama, the biggest sequence of the game would prove to be the most dramatic of the entire evening.


Stelnicki found herself open on the right side of the Fremd goal with only Vikings' goalie Julie Conrath to beat. But Conrath elevated to make a huge save with Stelnicki at point-blank range. The ball, however, landed directly in front of the Vikings' net, and with two Wolfpack players converging, it was inevitable that they would be able to push the ball under to draw a penalty shot. Almarez converted the chance with two minutes remaining, giving head coach Mike Cashman's squad a late 10-9 lead.


Lauraitis did everything she could to get the Vikings even. She drew an ejection on the offensive end, but Fremd could not get a solid scoring chance on the following play. She went back on the other end and earned a key steal to keep the Vikings just one goal away from sending the game to overtime. Emily Orlowski had the next chance for Fremd, but her lob attempt went over the goal and the Wolfpack ran as much time as possible off the clock.


Fremd would get the ball back and call a timeout with thirteen seconds remaining. Lauren Zambelli tried to shoot from outside seven meters but drew a foul and then an ejection with under ten seconds left. She passed to Sam Matuszewski in the left corner, but her shot was tipped away by Ignatius' goalie Sarah Fleming as time expired, and the Wolfpack advanced to the state semifinals with a come-from-behind win.


Yvette Leon scored three early goals to lead the Wolfpack, while Almarez, Stelnicki, and Cronin each scored 2 times in the win for St Ignatius. Fernandez also added one score for St Ignatius.


Lauraitis scored 6 goals for Fremd in her final high school appearance, while DelPrado scored 2 goals and Kristina D'Andrea added one score in the loss.


St Ignatius advanced to take on Homewood-Flossmoor in the first semifinal game on Saturday.




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