WHEATON — It might have taken longer than expected but Monday's victory over Glenbard North was well worth wait for the Wheaton Warrenville South girls soccer team.
Staring at a disappointing tie after yielding the equalizer with two minutes remaining in regulation, the Tigers instead scored with just under 30 seconds left in the second overtime to pull out a 2-1 win in Wheaton.
Catching the Panthers with a counterattack, Caroline Holmes found Anna Fank with a perfect cross and the freshman collected the pass and deposited the ball into the right side of the net for the game-winner.
"Caroline was wide open and there was a defender in the middle of the box," Fank said. "She crossed it and I knew I had to get my butt over there so I ran as hard as I could. I took a touch and then passed it to the corner (of the goal).
"Scoring that goal felt so good. We pushed through the whole game. In both the 10-minute overtime periods, we pushed so hard; we really wanted it. Scoring that proved to us we can do it."
After a scoreless opening half, the home team cracked the scoreboard with 21:50 left in the match when A.J. Jakuszewski converted a rebound off a corner-kick with a volley into the goal.
That appeared like it was going to hold up but with two minutes remaining, Glenbard North's Alyssa Jones was taken down in the penalty box and Ashley Pogue converted the resulting penalty kick to knot the score at one-apiece.
"When you are dealing with young kids and starting a lot of underclassmen," said Wheaton Warrenville South coach Guy Callipari, "you never know how they are going to respond to the emotional roller-coaster.
"That goal with two minutes to go was disheartening and they could have easily fallen on their heels but they did a great job asserting themselves in the overtimes. I'm proud, they continue to believe."
The Tigers were coming off a 5-0 loss to Neuqua Valley on Saturday as part of the Naperville Tournament. A day earlier, Wheaton Warrenville South beat St. Viator 1-0 as part of the same event.
The squad took a 6-4-1 record into Thursday's non-conference match with Lake Zurich. That includes a 3-1 mark in the DuPage Valley Conference, with the only blemish a 2-0 defeat to defending Class 3A state champion Naperville North.
"We haven't played Naperville Central yet," Callipari added. "We lost 2-0 to Naperville North and we were fairly respectable. Definitely the two Napervilles are the cream of the crop. We are hoping that the Naperville Central-Naperville North match poses an issue and we can work our way back into the DVC race."