GENEVA – Bailey Wallace can score goals as well as prevent them.
The Glenbard West senior did both May 16.
Wallace, who plays goalkeeper and forward, stopped two penalty kicks and converted the clinching penalty kick as the Hilltoppers edged Wheaton North 1-0 in a shootout win at the Class 3A Geneva regional semifinals.
The ninth-seeded Hilltoppers (10-8-3) will play No. 1 seed Geneva (19-1-1) in the regional title game May 19.
“Bailey gets to play offense and gets to stop PKs,” Glenbard West coach Morgan Kasperek said. “We practice that all season with Bailey going in for PKs. She’s our backup keeper, but she’s a great forward, too.”
Wallace was the backup goalkeeper to junior Rose Mugnani, who suffered a torn ACL midway through the season. Kasperek promoted sophomore Sarah Shellady to the varsity and made her the starter, meaning Wallace saw action mostly at forward.
Shellady played all 100 minutes of regulation and overtime against the No. 8 seed Falcons, but the plan was always to bring in Wallace if it got to penalty kicks.
The strategy proved sound as Wallace stopped Wheaton North’s first and third shooters. Jaden Trometer and Kate Kortenhoeven converted their shots for the Falcons (8-10-1), but it wasn’t enough because the Hilltoppers won the shootout 4-2.
Paige Dixon, Teagan Ryan and Sammy Harris scored for the Hilltoppers before the fourth shooter hit the post.
That brought up Wallace, who beat Wheaton North goalie Katie Sullivan to end the game.
“When I was younger I used to play the field and I always used to take PKs,” Wallace said. “I’ve been comfortable [taking them] forever.
“But at the end, the ref actually said, ‘no pressure’ to me, so that kind of got me a little bit. But I took a deep breath and I always look at which way the goalie usually dives to, which that time was the right side. So I went for the left instead and kicked it hard.”
Wallace expressed no disappointment in not getting the starting keeper job, saying she’s proud of what Shellady has done.
Shellady is equally deferential to Wallace.
“She’s great at [penalties], so yeah, definitely better than what I would have done,” Shellady said. “And she’s had experience.”
The Hilltoppers have had plenty of experience playing close games. In addition to three scoreless ties, they have played in eight 1-0 games.
“The game was a wonderfully played game and it’s hard to look over at the other team because they fought just as hard as we did,” Kasperek said. “Our defense played outstanding, but so did theirs.”
Sullivan made 10 saves for the Falcons, who had a chance to win the game on a corner kick, but Hannah Swider’s header missed high with two minutes left in the second overtime.
“We played them before earlier this season and we got the win that time, so I feel like we’re pretty evenly matched teams,” North senior defender Addy Lorentsen said. “It was a battle the whole time and I think they had a really good game and had a lot of good shots, but Katie was amazing.
“It didn’t [end] today as we wanted, but I think we all left our hearts on the field.”