Naperville Central had a fast start.
WW South had a faster finish.
Sophomore Anna Fank scored 18 seconds into overtime to lift host WW South to a dramatic 2-1 DuPage Valley Conference victory Monday night at Red Grange Field in Wheaton.
It was the third goal of the year for Fank, who won a battle for a loose ball on the left wing, beat a defender and sent a 25-yard rocket into the lower right corner of the net.
“The whole game that defender was just grabbing and our coaches told me I just need to push through it and have will,” Fank said. “I just had to turn her fast and not even fight with her.
“We were all determined to get out there and finish this game fast and I just did what the coaches said and turned right away on her and I had the goal open so I just took the shot.”
The quick ending was merely a continuation of how the match had been going as the Tigers (5-4, 1-1) rallied from a 1-0 deficit to tie the game with 10:06 left in the first half on a great play by senior Caroline Holmes, then dominated the remainder of regulation.
“We really dominated in the second half, we all thought, and we just knew we had to come out with that energy and finish it right away,” Fank said. “When we saw that ball go in the net we were all very enthusiastic.
“It was a great feeling, especially since this was our second conference game and we needed to win to have a good chance of winning DVC.”
WW South’s first league match also went long, with the Tigers dropping a 2-1 decision in double overtime to rival Wheaton North on the same field.
“Losing to Wheaton North was definitely a really big hit to us, so to come back and beat Naperville Central and have a chance to be first in DVC is really nice,” Holmes said. “We wanted it really bad and it showed.”
Holmes also scored her third goal of the season. Alexis Jakuszewski made a strong run into the right side of the Redhawks’ box and sent a cross to Holmes, who was tightly marked eight yards in front of the net. She spun to her left to shed a defender and quickly turned and fired a hard shot that went off the hand of lunging Naperville Central goalkeeper Abby Hershik and inside the right post.
“The anticipation was definitely really high,” Holmes said. “I knew that A.J. was going to cross in a low ball and that girl was really defending hard. But I knew that she was going to over-defend me, so I just took the ball with my outside foot and turned her and got the result.”
For the first 40 minutes, it appeared the Redhawks (4-4-4, 2-1) would get the result they wanted. They struck first on Abby Joyce’s second goal of the season just 5:03 into the match.
But Naperville Central could not extend the lead as WW South keeper Abbey Fuster made seven of her eight saves in the first half and the Redhawks lost for the second straight game after scoring first.
“I thought we played exceptionally well, about as well as I’ve seen us play, especially against a team like Naperville Central, which brings in so much clout and experience,” WW South coach Guy Callipari said. “So for us to be able to develop some confidence tonight was certainly worth the battle.”