NEW LENOX | Marian Catholic's Abby Kresal just wanted to do whatever it took to get the Spartans this win.
Kresal's contribution was a big time goal with 5:58 remaining in the first half. Behind a strong Marian Catholic defensive performance, Kresal's goal stood as the lone goal of the match for a 1-0 Spartan win over Tinley Park in the 2A Lincoln-Way West sectional semifinals.
"Once you get the intensity going it's just hard to stop," Kresal. "We needed the win, so I had to do something to help the team win."
Marian Catholic (6-12-3) continued their unlikely run through the playoffs and did it the way the Spartans like to play: intense and with strong defense. Spartan keeper Sarah Sieracki recorded six saves in the game. The Tinley Park offense came to life midway through the second half, but the Marian Catholic defense was able to hold the one goal lead.
"Our defense is clicking so well," Sieracki said. "I'm so happy we have it now. I think we just built it up throughout the season, and now it's right where it needs to be.
Kresal's goal came just before the half, when Hailey Losselyong sent a pass outside the box to Kresal that the sophomore put in the upper right corner of the goal. The match was physical on both sides, with three yellow cards being given, including one late in the game to Kresal.
"Hailey had a nice pass, she always does," Kresal said of the goal. "I found myself in that position, and I knew we needed the goal. I knew I couldn't use my right, so I had to shoot with my left and just took the shot hoping it would go in, and it did."
Marian Catholic will move on to face sectional favorite Lemont Saturday morning at 11 a.m. at Lincoln-Way West. The tenth seeded Spartans have now defeated the seventh, second, and third ranked seeds in the sectional. Now, the Spartans will look to defeat No. 1 seeded Lemont on Saturday.
"We have nothing to lose," Kresal said of Saturday's matchup with Lemont. "The pressure's on them, not us. We just have to play hard and have fun."