NAPERVILLE – The victory was gratifying enough.
The poetic way it unfolded for the St. Charles East girls soccer team was simply a karmic bonus, fulfilling in its own right.
Amanda Hilton, Anna Corirossi and Shannon Rasmussen were the three Saints goal scorers Friday as East defeated Lincoln-Way North, 3-1, in an IHSA Class 3A state semifinal.
Talk about the heart-and-soul of a program showing up on the big stage.
Hilton, a Nebraska recruit and four-year varsity player, is the Saints' unquestioned leader, but Corirossi and Rasmussen have pumped plenty of their own sweat equity into Saints soccer. Both are three-year varsity linchpins, with Corirossi serving as Hilton's midfield running-mate and Rasmussen unselfishly switching to a defensive role this spring.
Beyond that, the girls are longtime best friends.
"Us three have been playing together for as long as we can remember," Hilton said. "It's something special, especially because those two aren't playing any more going forward. We need to make it a special year for them, especially. They deserve so much."
Friday's triumph was a decade in the making for the trio.
"We started [playing together at Campton United]," Hilton recalled. "Anna and I started at 7 playing U8, and then Shannon came the next year, so we've all been playing [together] since we were 8. We went to Campton and then we went to Strikers together and we've played Strikers ever since, then came to East together.
"So it's cool. Our families are real close. It's amazing."
Think of all the carpooling, postgame snacks, bruise comparing and laughter that a decade of soccer sisterhood has involved.
From little girls to young women on the verge of packing up for college, they've shared a wide range of experiences, saving one of the best for last.
"I'm so happy all of us got a goal," Rasmussen said. "It's like the coolest feeling because we've all been playing together forever."
The symbolism of Hilton, Corirossi and Rasmussen helping lift the Saints to heights the program hasn't known since St. Charles High split wasn't lost on Saints coach Paul Jennison.
"Quality girls, quality team," Jennison said. "I couldn't be happier right now … this is something they've worked 10, 11 years for, some of them, and it's just an absolute privilege to have them here right now."
This team isn't about one player – or three. East's entire lineup has played admirably in recents weeks, and fellow seniors such as goalkeeper Kendra Sheehan, Rion Gaffney, Ally Potterton and the injured Hannah Rawson also lend senior leadership.
But if you had to pick three girls who represent Saints soccer during this era, Hilton, Corirossi and Rasmussen would be a heck of a place to start.
On Friday, in their biggest match together yet, they certainly showed they know how to finish.
• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or email@example.com.