Batavia was knocking on the door to the net all night during its DuKane Conference finale at Wheaton North on Thursday.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Wheaton North keeper Hanley Elftmann wouldn’t open the door for them so they finally broke right through it.
With just 10.7 seconds remaining, Zaira Solis sent a long cross from about 40 yards away which landed perfectly at the feet of Anna Holcombe who was able to quickly secure possession and blast a shot toward the opposite post just before colliding with Elftmann.
It gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 victory and a share of the conference title with St. Charles East, which beat Lake Park 3-0.
St. Charles North, whose only loss in conference was against Batavia, tied Wheaton Warrenville South in a scoreless game, or there would have been a three-way tie for the inaugural DuKane title.
“It was a beautiful cross by Zaira and she had some great ones today,” Batavia coach Mark Gianfrancesco said. “She was really picking her spots well to push forward. Anna had a nice run to the goal and she paid the price for it, so hopefully that’s only a little bump.”
It was a disappointing loss for the Falcons (7-12-1, 2-5) who finished the regular season with their seventh consecutive loss.
“We got behind them a good deal, but didn’t get as clean a touch on goal as maybe we did in the first half,” Falcons coach Tim McEvilly said. “Our goal was to stay together as a group and keep confident for 80 minutes.”
They only needed 11 more seconds.
“This group of young ladies has had a chance to beat four of the top five teams in conference,” McEvilly said. “And in four of those games, it slipped through our fingers where we thought we had it in our control. It’s disappointing we haven’t had a chance to see the fruit of those efforts against some of these top teams.”
Batavia (15-4-2, 6-1) certainly had its scoring chances, constantly peppering Elftmann with shots, but the junior didn’t break, keeping her poise and frustrating the Bulldogs.
“We had a lot of shots on goal by going over wide,” Holcombe said. “They struggled a lot on the wide and that’s how our goal happened. We talked about playing it wide and kept shooting on her.”
Ultimately it paid off, reminding Gianfrancesco of a similar finish on the boys side of things in 2013 when Ian Larson scored with 11.7 seconds left to stun Geneva, 1-0.
“I told my assistant in probably 20 years for me being head coach that this is right up there among finishes,” he said. “That last one was Ian Larson when he took it down from midfield and laid it in. This was all about the perseverance and resiliency of the girls to keep going. You can’t write it any better.”
Both teams begin regional action next week.