WOODSTOCK – After a first half in which it seemed nothing could go Kaneland’s way, Knights junior Rachel Richtman found herself in the right place at the right time.
Two minutes after halftime, teammate Taylor Carlson headed a corner kick at the net. Woodstock goalkeeper Meghan Sutter deflected the shot, and the rebound fell right to a waiting Richtman, who scored from point-blank range.
The goal pulled Kaneland even with Woodstock. The Knights went on to win, 2-1, after Grace Purcell added the game-winner in the 68th minute.
“I’ve just been working on crashing the net this year,” Richtman said. “That was just one of those times where it got bobbled around, and I was there and just tapped it in.”
Richtman credited Carlson with doing most of the work on the goal.
No. 4-seeded Kaneland (10-9-1) advances to face No. 1 Crystal Lake Central (16-3) in the Class 2A Woodstock North Regional championship game at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
That provides a problem for Richtman. She will miss Friday’s regional championship game because she will be in Charleston for the IHSA girls track and field state finals competing in the 800-meter run.
“I’m going to have to miss the game on Friday,” Richtman said. “Hopefully it goes well, but I have faith in my team. They’re all great players; they’ll play to the end.”
The junior qualified for state for her third time. Richtman has balanced the two sports all spring. She said her goals at state are to reach the finals and set a personal record.
Friday’s schedule conflict is a good problem to have.
“The main thing was get to Friday, and we were fortunate enough to get to Friday,” Kaneland coach Scott Parillo said. “For whatever reason, the ball wasn’t going in the back of the net in the first half. We seemed to be kicking the ball right at [Sutter] instead of picking our spots.”
No. 6-seeded Woodstock (13-8-1) went ahead, 1-0, after a Kaneland handball inside the 18-yard box gave the Blue Streaks a penalty kick in the 16th minute. Woodstock’s Cameron Wormley scored the PK.
Despite the early deficit, Kaneland controlled possession for much of the game. In the first half, the Knights sent eight shots at Sutter, and she saved all of them.
“She played tremendous,” Woodstock coach Matt Warmbier said. “She kept us in the game. Even the first goal, she made one heck of a save on it. Nobody was there to help clean it up for her.”
Sutter wound up with 11 saves. Kaneland keeper Emma Ball made three saves in the game.
Crystal Lake Central enters Friday’s regional final as the top seed, having won six of its past seven games. Kaneland seeks its first regional title since 2016.
“We’re going to have our hands full with Crystal Lake Central,” Parillo said. “We know what we’re going into. It’s just are we going to execute? We’ve faced some of the best teams in the state. We’ve got to come ready to play.”