In the early going of Saturday afternoon's Schaumburg sectional championship, things weren't looking so hot for Fremd.
Barrington's Lisa Danhauer had scored on a lob to put the Fillies up 1-0, and Fremd failed to convert on a power play.
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"The thing I've really been preaching to this team is to have patience," said Fremd coach Ray Roth. "We really felt if we played our game, we'd be OK."
Roth was right. Fremd earned its fifth straight trip to the Elite Eight with an 11-3 victory over Barrington.
As the adrenaline started to wear off, Fremd's experience seemed to kick in.
Lauren Zambelli sniped away from the wing to tie at 1. Zambelli then scored on a rebound, and Sam del Prado's breakaway chance led to another Zambelli goal.
Two del Prado goals, one of them a nifty backhand from the hole, put Fremd firmly in command, and by the time the second period was over, the top-seeded Vikings led 7-1.
"I do think we had some nerves out there," said Roth, who was an assistant on the the previous Fremd teams that made state. "My main goal for these games is to try to get the girls to relax. I really believe they're at their best when they're calm and letting the game come to them."
By game's end it had turned into a prototypical Fremd win: Disruptive defense, diverse scoring and terrific goalkeeping. In addition to Zambelli and del Prado, Sam Matuszewski, Taylor Spoonholtz, Emily McCarthy, Erika Wickstrom and Carly Gessert and Sam DiCanio got in the scoring act.
Del Prado drew 4 ejections and had 4 assists; Gessert had 3 assists. And standout goalkeeper Julie Conrath denied Barrington (24-7) on 18 shots.
The Vikings (27-5) will meet Fenwick in Friday's 7 p.m. quarterfinal game.
Matuszewski, a senior all-conference performer, says the familiarity she has with her teammates is one reason Fremd is headed back to state.
"It's about trusting each other," she said. "It's knowing that your teammate will be there, that we'll help each other. We feel really confident about this team."
Danhauer finished with 2 goals and Kate Luedtke had 1, while senior goalie Brooke Fanslow made 14 saves.
It was a discouraging finish for a Barrington program that must be getting tired of the routine: In each of the last five seasons, the Fillies have bowed out one victory shy of making state, each time at Fremd's expense.
"Congratulations to (Fremd)," said Barrington coach Mark Markwell. "They're doing a great job, and you need to have a team like that -- they're the carrot we're chasing."