ROMEOVILLE – Lyons Township came within five minutes of going to state, but had to settle for the lottery of penalty kicks.
In penalties, the Lions lost after six rounds against Lincoln-Way North in the supersectional at Lewis University on Tuesday. The game was 1-1 after regular play with Emily Lange's 49th minute header being canceled out by Bianca Galassini's late strike.
After a first half which didn't feature many chances, Lange headed in a second ball on a Grace Nasenbenny corner to give LT the lead. The Lions seemed to control the play for much of the half, but got caught on one of the Phoenix's few chances.
"It was kind of an ugly game [in the first half] and we talked about trying to possess the ball and play better soccer in the second half and I thought we really did," LT coach Bill Lanspeary said. "We had the ball an awful lot. We had a number of chances. Obviously we got the one goal, but we had a couple other opportunities. It seemed like we maybe got caught pressing for a second one and our legs maybe got a little bit tired at the end and they got us on a counter."
Galassini, a freshman, got open in the box and finished with 4:51 left.
The Lions (19-4) struggled to create chances in the 20 minutes of overtime, but held off North (22-3-1) to go to penalties. Once there, both teams converted three out of five attempts before the Phoenix edged ahead in the extra sixth round.
LT finished the season with the most wins since 2011 and the first sectional title since 2010.
"It's a great group of kids on and off the field," Lanspeary said. "They've got a special bond and that's how they played. It's a great group. It's disappointing to end at this point, but it's been a heck of a season and a great run."