Olivia Stapleton turns corner, nudges Naperville North past Lyons

SHARE Olivia Stapleton turns corner, nudges Naperville North past Lyons

Olivia Stapleton was pumped up. She also was keen on playing a prominent part in a stunning five minute flurry of activity.

The Naperville North junior midfielder smashed in a header off a corner kick in the 80th minute Thursday night as the No. 12 Huskies stunned No. 4 Lyons with three goals in the closing minutes for the 3-2 victory in the opening of pool play of the Naperville Invitational.

“That was one of the wildest games it have ever been a part of,” Naperville North coach Steve Goletz said.

Abby Mangefrida served the corner for the game-winner with 39.7 seconds remaining for the host Huskies (4-4-2).

“It came down to the last minute, ‘Mange’ made a great cross and I just happened to be there, and I was able to get a head on it,” Stapleton said.

The two teams combined for four goals in the final 5:30.

“The first two were great goals and they picked us up,” Stapleton said.

Naperville North goalkeeper Fiona Baenziger accented the drama by denying Lyons’ star Emily Lange on a penalty kick in the 78th minute. Baenziger dove to her right to smother the shot with 1:35 remaining.

“You have to look at the ball and read the eyes of the shooter,” Baenziger said. “You have to pick a side and go with it.”

Sophomore forward Gabby Hart put the Lions up 1-0 in the 49th minute with a pirouette, left-footed blast inside the near post. After Jen Fortman’s equalizer in the 75th minute, Lange returned the advantage to the Lions (9-2) with a beautifully executed header from a corner by Grace Nasenbenny.

A minute later, Naperville North Star junior Abbie Boswell knotted the score at 2-2 with her second goal of the year. She is finding her rhythm after knee surgery and a seven-month rehabilitation.

Boswell said she’s at 85 percent of where she was as a sophomore, when she scored a team-best 28 goals for the two-time defending Class 3A state champion.

“I am back, I am feeling good and I am just trying to keep improving and get back to where I was,” she said.

In the 77th minute, Boswell wedged between two defenders and finished into the upper-left corner.

“There was a scramble and the ball came to me, and I just settled it down and kicked it,” she said. “I am getting better.”

The Lions suffered their second late loss of the week after falling to top-ranked Buffalo Grove in the PepsiCo Showdown semifinals.

“Again we put ourselves in place to win and we just couldn’t finish,” Lyons coach Bill Lanspeary said. “Hopefully it is a fixable problem.”

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