ROCKFORD -- Warren couldn't maintain its recent prodigious scoring pace against a team the caliber of Barrington, but the Blue Devils scored just enough, defeating the Broncos 2-1 to win the Class 3A Rockford Auburn sectional at Wyeth Field in Rockford.
Auner Solis scored twice and Warren withstood a late Barrington rally to hang on for the victory. Ironically, the Blue Devils play next at Barrington, where they will meet St. Charles East in the Barrington supersectional.
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"At this point of the year, I think any team will tell you that the score doesn't really matter, as long as you come out on top," said Warren coach Jason Ahonen. "We expected it to be one of those games where you really grind it out and it was, up until the last seconds of the game."
Andrew Simek got Barrington (19-4-3) on the scoreboard in the 70th minute. The Broncos had several chances to tie the game after that. Simek hit the crossbar on a shot minutes later. Craig Zahour just missed wide right as the buzzer sounded.
Steib preferred to focus on the Broncos' successful season rather than dwell on the moment's disappointment.
"It's been such a good season," he said Barrington. "There's so much to be proud of, you can't get caught up in the agony of it. You just have to look big-picture. And either way, it's a great soccer game."
The Blue Devils had scored 12 combined goals in the regional final and Tuesday's sectional semifinal. But goals were much harder to come by against Barrington's stingy defense. Warren (19-5-3) continued another trend, however, by scoring early.
In the 12th minute, Solis beat Barrington keeper Pat DeRoche on a line drive from 30 yards out.
Solis struck again on a breakaway in the 62nd minute.
Barrington answered eight minutes later when freshman Kendall Stork made a long run up the right side, then delivered a fine centering pass to Simek, who was in perfect position on the right side to fire it in.
But Warren keeper RJ Hill and the Blue Devil defense, led by Karl Bappert, kept the Broncos off the board the rest of the way.
Both defenses were dominant at times, as neither team created many solid chances.
Now the Broncos must play the role of good hosts
"I think we have a fantastic facility, and we're happy to let kids from all schools play on it," Steib said. "We're certainly happier when we're on it."