LA GRANGE – Hinsdale Central had defeated Lyons Township the past three times the two rivals met in girls soccer and each time something big was on the line.
Leave it to a varsity newcomer, Katie Dougherty, to come up with the game-winning goal for the Lions to end the skid against the Red Devils.
Dougherty scored on a rebound when a loose ball fell to her with a wide open goal after her first shot was saved. The 71st minute goal was the only score in LT's 1-0 win.
"Hinsdale is our biggest rival so this really felt great," Dougherty said.
The Red Devils (11-4, 4-1 WSS) has knocked LT (13-3, 5-0 WSS) out of the playoffs each of the past two seasons and won the regular season meeting last year to win the West Suburban Silver. The Lions locked up the conference title this season with one game to go.
The reversal of forture is something senior Emily Lange has been waiting for.
"We've lost conference to them, we got knocked out in the regional final my sophomore year and then the sectional final last year," Lange said. "This was definitely a big one and I think we're all very excited about this one."
Neither team managed many chances in a tightly contested game. Dougherty had a few shots on goal and Lange whizzed one at goal that forced a save early in the second half. Alison Cerny fired a shot that required a tough save from LT goalkeeper Lidia Breen.
Other than that it was a defensive battle.
"I thought we dealt very well with the atmosphere and the intensity," Central coach Michael Smith said. "Hinsdale Central and LT is always going to be close.
"We did a very good job of establishing our play, but at the same time still battling and competing because when we play our rivals that's what it's about."
The two teams could meet again in a sectional final if they are able to get there. LT earned the No. 1 seed while Central received the No. 2 seed.