GENOA, Ill. (WIFR) In just its third season as a team, Oregon defeated Byron 3-2 in overtime to earn its first regional title. The self-funded program will face Lutheran on Wednesday in the sectional semifinals at Indian Creek.
Byron (11-8-0) looked poised to capture its fourth straight regional plaque after going up 2-0 in the first half thanks to goals by Anika Roush and Estelle Jones.
"We had some struggles at the beginning of the game," said Oregon senior Katelyn Byerely. "Coach pointed out what we needed to work on and we just believed in ourselves. We believed in each other. We had each others backs. That's what we focused on. We just needed to trust each other and that's what we did."
Oregon made the necessary corrections and came out attacking in the second half. Lady Hawks netminder Katelin Pudlas scored on a penalty kick and Leah Watters put home the equalizer with less than five to play in regulation. The game would head to overtime tied at two.
"I've never given up on them, so they should never give up on themselves or give up in the game," said Oregon head coach Seger Larson. "We've scored three goals in a half before. So there's no reason we couldn't score three goals today."
Midway through the first ten minute session, senior Katelyn Byerely took a perfect through ball and banked it in off the post to give Oregon the lead for good.
"They're a good team. They're well-coached over there. I'm just so happy that we won today. I'm proud of these girls."