For new Aurora Central coach Kristy Kane, Thursday’s Suburban Christian Conference matchup was a roller coaster of emotions that finished positively with a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Rosary.
Kane’s Chargers (7-1-1, 4-1) continued their dramatic turnaround, going from three wins in 2013. However, the win for Kane also meant seeing disappointment on the faces of players she guided the previous two years to first-time sectional final appearances for the Royals.
“Seeing our kids so happy was so special because they’ve worked so hard and deserved it, but then seeing the other bench so upset with a loss was something new to me,” Kane said. “We’ve had a lot of close wins and even one dramatic one with 45 seconds to play, but this (come-from-behind) was new for them.”
Rosary (3-7, 2-1) — which claimed a lopsided 6-0 victory last year — broke a scoreless draw with 34:30 left in regulation. Scoring leader Quincy Kellett’s solid throw-in led to a Caroline Maley header inside the far post.
“The throw-in from Quincy was great and I saw the keeper near the post, so my goal to get a touch volley to the far post,” Maley said of her first goal of the year.
“We were upset to give up a goal,” ACC’s Jordyn Sundberg admitted. “But coach Kane is always saying we have to be up for any challenge, so being down 1-0 just meant we had to figure out a way to score two.
Sundberg, a junior, curled home a 15-yarder from the right wing just inside the far-left post for the equalizer with 30:01 remaining. She followed with the winner at 23:59. Her second goal put her atop ACC’s chart for points (22), goals (nine) and game-winners (four).
“The first goal I knew the wind would help push it, so I aimed for the upper-left corner,” Sundberg said. “The second (a 24-yard direct from the left side), I hoped the wind would help draw the ball back.”
It did just enough that Rosary goalkeeper Lauren Frasca, a DePaul signee, was unable to capture it cleanly.
The Royals got aggressive the rest of the way, adding to statistical edges of 20-8 in shots and 10-5 in shots on goal. Those numbers didn’t include 14 defensive catches or clears made by Charger goalkeeper Bry Mandarino.
“Even after they scored, I knew I had to keep my confidence up, just keep making plays and saves to keep us in the game for a comeback,” Mandarino said. “I’ve got to credit my defenders for their help throughout the match, but especially down the stretch when it got intense.
It also was an emotionally tough game for Rosary coach Brian Frank, who took over the role after having served as Kane’s assistant for the two previous years.
“We didn’t get the job done, plain and simple,” Frank said. “We had opportunities, but we didn’t get the finishes. Between spring break, injuries, it continues to be an uphill battle having to change lineups, but that’s the road we have to travel.”