JOLIET – With 8:06 remaining in Tuesday’s second semifinal girls soccer game at the Class 3A Joliet West Regionalt, Mother Nature intervened.
At a few minutes after 8 p.m., the threatened storm rolling in from the northwest was about to descend on the Tigers’ home turf, complete with lightning that forced a delay. West athletic director Steve Millsaps followed the standards set by the IHSA, and played the waiting game.
However, when another bolt of lightning appeared in the sky shortly after 9:30 p.m., the game was canceled at that point and it was official.
Joliet Central, the No. 2 seed in the four-team field, was leading No. 3 Minooka, 2-1, after a second-half goal by speedy sophomore forward Lilian Manzo.
The victory advances Central (4-12-1) to Saturday’s 11 a.m. regional final against No. 1 seed Lincoln-Way Central. Minooka finished 4-9-4.
Manzo scored off a long lead pass from Kathia Arrendo. Minooka sophomore goalkeeper Ally Isrealson got her hand on the ball but not enough to prevent Manzo from coaxing it into the net.
“I thought we had the momentum until they scored that goal,” Minooka coach Chris Brolley said. “We kept the pressure on, but they have a real good keeper [junior Jolene Butler]. She made a lot of good saves.”
Led by midfielder Marisol Galvan, who scored at the 33:42 mark of the first half to give the Indians a 1-0 lead, Minooka had opportunities. But Bulter and Co. met the challenge. Central retaliated quickly after Galvan scored for Minooka. Milena Singletary headed in a long pass from Estefania Zavala at the 25-minute mark of the first half to tie it at 1. The teams battled to a standoff after that, until Manzo broke free.
Morris 5, Lincoln-Way West 1: Winning pitcher Matt Walker went the distance on Wednesday for the Redskins (25-9), allowing six hits and a walk while striking out four. Tim Smyk was 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs, while Geno Persico was 2 for 3 with an RBI. Austin Conrod went 2 for 4, while Tyler Bordner doubled and Matt Bernickus tripled. Morris scored once in the third inning and the other four came in the seventh. Lincoln-Way West’s run came in the sixth.
“It was a quality win against a quality program,” Morris coach Todd Kein said. “Walker threw one heck of a game, and we had some standout performances from various guys on both sides of the ball, especially Matt Bernickus. This is the way we need to be playing this time of year. A lot of credit to our guys.”
Minooka 6, Plainfield North 5: The Indians scored four times in the seventh inning Tuesday to overcome a 4-3 deficit in a Southwest Prairie Conference showdown that was scoreless through five. Joe Butler (two RBIs), Cristian Sanchez (two RBIs) and Neal Tyrell each had two hits for the Indians (23-5, 17-2). Trevor Maly, Mitch Vogrin and Miguel Ruiz combined for the win.
Gardner-South Wilmington 3, Iroquois West 0: Connor Hays got the win for the Panthers, with both Brendan Elens and Blake Marks going two strong innings each. Scott Horrie had two hits, including a double, and scored twice. GSW, seeded second, opens Class 1A Serena Regional play Thursday against third-seed Serena.
Kaneland 6, Morris 0: Morris (18-9, 6-4 Northern Illinois Big 12) was limited to two hits on the night, coming off the bats of Maddy Feeney and Kelly Kolotka. Abby Burns gave up seven hits, four earned runs and struck out six. Morris starts regional play Tuesday at 4:30, playing host to the winner of Monday’s Sandwich vs. Plano game.
Coal City 10, Plano 7: The Coalers won their side of the Interstate Eight Conference on Tuesday as Emily Aichele was the winning pitcher. Coal City (16-14) collected 13 hits in all, as Makenna Emerson was 3 for 4 and Taylor Meents, Leah Campos (RBI) and Mady Bunton (3 RBIs) all had two hits.