PARK FOREST | It was going to take just one goal to decide Friday's Class 2A Rich East Regional girls soccer champion, but it was a matter of which team would score that goal first.
Illiana Christian couldn't find a way to score, as the Vikings struggled to find shots and offensive looks before ultimately falling 1-0 to Plainfield East.
"I thought it was a great battle," said Illiana Christian coach AJ Turkstra, whose team managed only three shots on goal. "It was going both ways and both teams had chances. I thought our girls battled really, really hard and (Plainfield) fought really, really hard right to the end."
The teams battled to a 0-0 tie through the first half, and the lone goal of the match came 10 minutes into the second half when Plainfield East's Bri Bernholdt scored just beyond the reach of Viking goalie Emily Tuuk, who finished the game with four saves.
First-half goalie Mallory Fulton had three saves for the Vikings. Tuuk and Fulton each came up with key saves to keep Illiana within one goal, but the Viking offense was never able to break through.
"We played our hearts out tonight," Illiana senior defender Katie Ketelaar said. "It was a really tough game and a hard one to lose. I think we played admirably, we stuck it out, we never gave up."
The Vikings were hoping for a sectional appearance or better.
"We had a great season," Turkstra said. "We won 15 games this season and that was only our fourth loss. One goal made the difference. I thought for the most part the better team won. I think they were just a hair better than us."