QUINCY — The Central Catholic High School girls soccer team advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 3-2 victory over Pleasant Plains in the Class 1A Quincy Notre Dame Sectional semifinals on Tuesday.
Lauren Shanks had two goals and one assist for the Saints, who improved to 14-8-1 while Pleasant Plains fell to 14-4-3.
Central will play for the sectional title at 6 p.m. Friday against Quincy Notre Dame (22-3-2), which won, 10-0, over Rock Island Alleman (8-9-0).
Central's sectional semifinal included a rain delay. The Saints, who have never won a sectional in girls soccer, also received a goal from Taryn Shanahan, who headed in a corner kick from Shanks.
"That was a close one," said Central coach Reza Ghasemi, who watched Pleasant Plains bounce a shot off the post with five seconds remaining.
Central, which led at halftime 2-0, was outshot, 17-12. Saint goalie Kylee Hadley made 11 saves. Central was up, 3-0, when Pleasant Plains rallied.
"We had a defensive error on our side and that shifted the momentum a little bit," Ghasemi said. "It's really great (to be in the Sweet 16). It's a credit to the girls. They are really playing well. Hats off to Pleasant Plains. They were a good team.
"This is a great experience for the younger ones. Hopefully, we'll go in (Friday) with positive thinking and have confidence in our abilities. I know Notre Dame won the state championship last year. Our competition is not light by any means. We just have to do what we've been practicing and I think we should be fine."