RIVER FOREST – Cali Vanderplow is one of the youngest members of Hinsdale South's soccer team, but she scored one of the biggest goals of the season Tuesday.
The freshman scored with less than 10 minutes left in the first half of a Class 2A supersectional game against Northside Prep and in the process opened the floodgates for the Hornets. They scored two more times before intermission, went on to win 4-0 and booked their first trip to the state finals since 1990.
"When I put that first goal I knew the energy of our team would be even higher," Vanderplow said. "I'm happy. I'm so excited about this."
Hinsdale South (19-5-1) will face Normal West in a state semifinal at 11 a.m. Friday. The winner moves on to the state championship game at 1 p.m. Saturday.
"Our program hasn't done this in a long time," senior defender Elisabetta Bifero said. "It's pretty cool to do it my senior year."
On her goal, Vanderplow received the pass from Cassie Jensen, dribbled into space and around the Maroons charging keeper, and buried the shot into a wide open net with 9:22 left in the first half. Jensen scored off Elisabetta Bifero's corner kick with 5:23 to go before halftime and Kelly Flemm directed a pinpoint shot from outside the penalty area into the upper corner of the net with 1:19 left before the break.
The torrent of scoring for the Hornets late in the half capped an extended period of sustained pressure. South dictated the run of play and Northside never maintained any dangerous attacking pressure.
The story was the same in the second half. Courtney Cavalli took Jessica Koziol's feed and slid it past the keeper with 21:41 left, and the rest of the game was a countdown to South's trip to the state finals.
"This is good for the seniors," South head coach Pat Wolf said. "They've been working hard since they were freshman and they've been working hard all season. Our seniors are great leaders and the last five or six games they've come to play, and in practice they've led the way."