Immaculate Conception returned to the Class 1A supersectionals for the second year in a row, but came up short Tuesday in its goal of making it to the state finals.
Grace Vitek scored the only goal for the Knights as Rockford Christian prevailed with a 2-1 victory and advances to a semifinal game at North Central College on Friday.
”We worked really hard to get as far as we did last year,’’ Vitek said. ”We wanted to go farther, but I’m proud of what we did to get here.’’
Vitek, who will try to walk on at Pepperdine next season, tied the game 1-1 for IC (16-6-1) with 23:56 left in the first half when she put a left-footed missile in from approximately 30 yards out. It would be one of the few open looks that the Royal Lions (17-2-1) would allow Vitek from that point forward.
”We decided that we would play our game at the beginning and not try to hold her down,’’ Christian coach Kevin Obee said. ”After that goal, we knew we had to get somebody to stay with her the whole time. We put Carolyn Claussen on her and she did a good job.’’
The game’s scoring came down to a battle between the two top players on the pitch. Vitek put most of the pressure on for IC with some help from Hannah Hartnet, while Haley Kittle was a constant threat for the Royal Lions with some assistance from Adali Johnson.
Kittle scored both of Christian’s goals with the first one coming on a header off of a corner kick and the eventual game-winner coming as she outraced a defender down the left side and beat the goalie.
”Grace is the best player on the field,’’ IC coach Tod Privett said. ”But today their No. 1 player had a better game than our No. 1 player and that was the difference.’’