ROCHELLE – The Kaneland girls soccer team owned the momentum in overtime of Friday's IHSA Class 2A Rochelle Regional championship match against Rosary.
But Rosary had Quincy Kellett's blazing quickness at the right spot and the right time, which was enough to put the Royals over the top for a 2-1, double-overtime triumph over the Knights.
Rosary sophomore defender Maria Witte's shot didn't make it through a congested box but Kellett was first to the carom, and deposited a shot from point-blank range past standout Kaneland goalkeeper Jordan Ginther for the 2-1 advantage with 1:48 to play in the second, 10-minute OT session.
"The defender that was coming at me just seemed to be just walking toward the ball," Kellett said. "I don't even remember, I just saw the ball and saw the goalie coming out. She's an aggressive goalie so I tried to get it in the goal before she got to me."
Kellett, a sophomore forward who has been a prolific finisher throughout her Royals career, showed she's as capable of pouncing on a rebound as beating defenders on long runs upfield.
"She's not only fast but she does have those great instincts," Rosary coach Kristy Kane said. "She just seems to go to the right place, and when she gets pushed down, she pops right back up, so it's like she never got pushed over in the first place."
With the win, the Royals (15-3-3) advance to Wednesday's Freeport Sectional semifinals against Prairie Ridge.
Friday marked the third time in four years Rosary has eliminated Kaneland in a regional title match. The Knights still are looking for their first regional crown in program history.
"I'm really, really sick of Rosary," Kaneland coach Scott Parillo said. "But the girls played hard, so we'll walk away with our heads high. It's unfortunate, we haven't lost to a 2A school all year, so here we go. … Who is it, of course, Rosary."
The Knights (11-5-3) appeared headed for defeat in regulation until Kaneland junior Brittany Olson jumped on a loose ball in the box for the tying score with 1:20 to go in the second half.
Energized by the dramatic equalizer and with some of Rosary's top players banged up late in the match, the Knights continued their surge in overtime. Freshman Gabby Cano had a solid chance in the first overtime that Royals goalkeeper Lauren Frasca stopped, and Frasca made an even snazzier save in the second overtime on a shot by Knights sophomore Courtney Diddell that was curling toward the upper-right corner of the net.
The match was scoreless at halftime but Rosary dominated the early stages of the second half, including the game's first goal from Geneva resident and Michigan State recruit Kaitlin Johnson off a Kellett assist just more than two minutes in to the half.
Rosary's Kellett and Kaneland's Diddell both hit the crossbar on attempts during the second half as the teams – who tied during a meeting early in the regular season – again showed that they're of similar quality. But in the end, it was again the Royals celebrating and the Knights fighting tears.
"I think the girls knew [the history] because a lot of these seniors have been on the varsity since freshman year, so they've been there for it," Kane said. "I think they knew it. We didn't talk about it that much because we wanted to focus on playing our game but we knew today was going to be a really tough game. We did not underestimate them at all."
Next stop for the Royals – an even longer trek than Rochelle.
"I've never been to Freeport before," Kane said. "I'm excited to go to Freeport, which I don't think would happen under normal circumstances."