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Quarterfinal #3: Stevenson 8 Naperville Central 7 (OT)


LINCOLNSHIRE, IL - Tori St John scored the game-tying goal in the final minute of regulation to send the game to extra time and Karen Lowry connected on the game-winning goal in the first overtime period as Stevenson defeated Naperville Central 8-7 on Thursday night.


In a back-and-forth affair, both the Patriots and Redhawks looked at certain points like they had control of the game, only to see the other team make a big run or a key play to change the dynamic of the game. Credit Stevenson for taking it to the state's top-ranked team, as the hosts built up a 5-2 lead midway through the second period and looked like a much different than the one that lost to the Redhawks 7-5 just two weeks ago.


Credit the Redhawks for not backing down, though, as goals from Abbey Kerth and Emily Sejna before halftime cut the Patriots' advantage to 5-4. Central didn't stop there, as Lizzy Giuliani connected on a surprise shot from the left side to even the score at 5-5 in the first minute of the third quarter. From there, things stayed pretty much even, as the hosts' Erin McCook scored on an outside shot and Sejna scored a breakaway goal to send things to the final period tied at 6-6.


Stevenson goalie Lisa Michalowski (14 saves) denied Giuliani early in the period after an ejection on what looked like a clear goal-scoring opportunity, but Giuliani scored two minutes later to give Central a 7-6 lead. Things stayed that way for the next two minutes, with Stevenson's St John getting the best chance to tie the game with a minute left in transition, before Sejna got back in time to force a turnover.


That setup a frantic finish between the two squads. Stevenson got possession and called a timeout to setup a play with 0:47 left on the clock. The play call worked in more ways than one, as McCook started with the ball on the right side, drew a foul, dropped a pass in to a driving Lowry, who drew Sejna's third ejection at the 0:40 mark. Stevenson took their last timeout to setup their next play, which worked to perfection when St John was left alone on top and scored from just outside of five-meters to tie the game at 7-7.


The Redhawks had a major chance on their next possession, as Kerth drew the third ejection on Cheyenne Montijo with 0:11 remaining, but Central couldn't capitalize and the game went to overtime.


The two overtime periods proved to be a defensive battle, with neither team scoring on eight consecutive attempts. In the waning seconds of the first overtime period, however, Stevenson's Karen Lowry scored the eventual game-winning goal to stun the Redhawks. The visitors had several chances to score in the second overtime session, but it was the Patriots' defense that came up big, shutting out the Redhawks over a six-minute period to earn the win.


Lowry scored 3 goals, Montijo notched 2 scores, and McCook, St John, and Shelby Kohalmy each scored once in the win for Stevenson. Sejna led the Redhawks with 3 goals, while Giuliani and Kerth each put in 2 scores in the loss.


The Patriots advanced to Saturday's semifinal round to play St Ignatius on Saturday morning.






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