[Steve Bittinger - For Shaw Media]
In the final 12 minutes, Christina Ryzhov took three shots, each just missing. She had a good look from about 20 yards sail high with 11:49 left, then had a header go just high in the final 10 minutes. Her shot from the outside also went high with 7:26 left.
“That’s what makes this game difficult,” Hamilton said. “It’s not normally a high-scoring match. A lot of things have to go right to get that final tick. At the end of the day, you have to be proud of them. We came out and gave ourselves an opportunity to win the match. I never doubted this group’s character; I’ve never doubted this group’s work ethic. They’re a great group of young ladies that deserve a chance to win the match, and I thought they gave themselves that opportunity.”
By the numbers: Elgin took the first shot of the game and controlled the ball for much of the first 10 minutes, but DeKalb finished with a 5-2 edge in shots in the first half and 10-5 for the game.
Beyond the stats: In the other semifinal, Barrington scored nine goals in the second half in a 13-0 win against Rockford East.
They said it: “I thoroughly enjoyed this group,” Hamilton said. “Every day, coming out, I couldn’t be prouder of what this group has overcome and the growth they have shown. At the end of the day, it’s not all about wins and losses, it’s about the relationships you’ve formed. And this group goes down as one I will remember.”
Up next: The Maroons take on Barrington in the final at 6 p.m. Friday.