Burrell edges rival Freeport in battle of unbeatens

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 | 10:06 PM

Allie Vescio made sure the Burrell girls soccer team didn’t have to go into overtime with rival Freeport on Wednesday at Freeport High School.

The Bucs senior forward scored from 22 yards out off an assist from junior Jordyn Kowalkowski with 4 minutes, 27 seconds left in regulation. The score sent Burrell to a 3-2 victory in the first meeting of the season between the Section 2-AA heavyweights.

“This win was huge,” Vescio said. “These types of games are crazy. You just don’t know who is going to win until the last minute. You have to fight like crazy to win.”

Vescio finished the game with a pair of goals, and Megan Malits had the other as the Bucs, No. 3 in this week’s Trib Class AA rankings, improved to 7-0 overall and 5-0 in section play.

Freeport tasted defeat for the first time this season as it fell to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the section.

The Yellowjackets slipped into a second-place tie with defending section champion Deer Lakes (5-1-1, 4-1), and the teams meet Monday at Deer Lakes.

“Coming in, we knew Freeport was going to give us a great game,” Burrell coach Frank Nesko said.

“To be quite honest, I was a little worried about it because we hadn’t been in many super-tight games. So, I wanted to see how my girls would respond. I am happy to say they came out of it with what I was hoping to see. They knuckled down and fought through adversity.”

Burrell is 2-0-1 in its past three games against Freeport after the Yellowjackets had won eight straight in the series from 2014-17.

Both teams came into the contest among the scoring leaders in Class AA through six games. Burrell was averaging 6.3 goals a game, while Freeport scored 5.2 a contest.

The Bucs led 2-1 at halftime on goals from Vescio and senior Megan Malits 34 seconds apart in the 31st minute. Freshman Jayden Smalling and senior Madison Schaub assisted.

Freeport had broken the scoreboard ice in the 15th minute on a goal from freshman midfielder Akina Boynton off a crossing pass in the box from senior Sidney Shemanski.

Burrell came close to making it a two-goal advantage late in the first half as Vescio rang a shot off the crossbar from about 25 feet.

The Bucs held onto the lead until the 23rd minute of the second half.

Burrell junior defender Annie Weimer was whistled for a foul in the box on a tackle attempt of Shemanski.

The Yellowjackets scoring leader proceeded to bury a penalty kick to tie the game. It was her 12th goal of the season.

The teams played between the 20s after the Freeport equalizer and traded possessions leading up to Vescio’s game winner.

“Burrell is a fantastic team, and they were a little more disciplined than we were tonight,” Freeport head coach Brittni Grenninger said.

“Our nerves got the better of us, especially our younger players. But to play a close game with as young of a team as we have, there are a lot of positive to take away from it. Hopefully, we can build off this and go into Deer Lakes and play well.”

Burrell finished with a 13-6 advantage in shots. Bucs senior keeper Delaney O’Brien made three saves, while Freeport freshman Maddy Zarichnak stopped six shots.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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