MACON -- Ludvig Landgren hadn't heard a ready whistle from the referee when he first stepped toward his free kick late in the second half, so he stopped and shuffled back to, instead, hear the groans of an opposing team and its fans that thought he was time-wasting.
The time -- three minutes, 45 seconds -- didn't much matter a couple seconds later when the Teutopolis senior, an exchange student from Sweden, bent his free kick into the far top shelf of Virden North Mac's goal.
With it, Teutopolis beat North Mac, 2-0, Wednesday in the Class 1A Meridian Sectional semifinal. The Wooden Shoes advanced to play Beardstown for the championship at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Landgren tucked the ball snugly into the top corner, then held out his arms out from his side like it was nothing.
"I've been doing that for this season. That's my thing," Landgren said of his celebration. "First, you do that, and then go celebrate with the other boys."
Landgren converted the free kick from a similar angle and distance that North Mac's Logan York couldn't, about 20 minutes earlier and on the other side of the field. It was the Panthers' best chance that got over the head of Teutopolis goalie Shawn Zerrusen.
York's free kick hit the corner of the goal where the post and crossbar meet.
Teutopolis senior Blake Kitten scored on a pass from Caleb Ordner in the first half to make it 1-0.
"These last three weeks or so, we've really come on and it's really clicked," Teutopolis coach Aaron Wendt said. The Shoes beat previously-undefeated Effingham St. Anthony in last week's regional title game to win a spot in Wednesday's game. "We're playing to our potential, I think, being in the sectional final. It's been rough, but we're here and we're happy."
Except for a few early tests for Zerrusen in goal, the Shoes control possession, out-shooting North Mac 21-10.
You have free articles remaining.
The Shoes' defense withstood an early second-half push by North Mac which saw them come out counter-attacking and constantly moving the ball around for the first 15 to 20 minutes.
York's missed free kick came at the end of the surge.
"We bent a little but didn't break," Wendt said.
Teutopolis kept North Mac's best from threatening. Leading scorer Dagan Bivin (27 goals) was limited to two shots. Vincenzo Finocchiaro (15 goals), an exchange student from Italy, was also kept quiet.
Finocchiaro was frustrated, as was the rest of the team as the clock ticked down in the second half.
Landgren had another free kick from a similar place on the field, a few minutes before he made it 2-0. That one, he sailed over the goal.
"I tried to do pretty much the same things," Landgren said. "The first one, I shanked it. It went way over. So I was feeling like I needed to prove myself on the second one."
He did, scoring his team-leading 14th goal of the season.
"He earned his right to celebrate that goal," Wendt said. "He puts the ball in pretty good, dangerous areas, and he's got a sweet left foot on him."