After having trouble lately finding the back of the net, Barrington proved in the past 48 hours just how potent its attack can be.
On Saturday night, the Fillies (6-3-1) defeated St. Charles East 3-1 at Barrington to win their group and advance to the quarterfinals of the 16th Naperville Invitational. On Thursday, the Fillies will meet Loyola (12-1-0), which also went 2-0-0 in pool play.
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Sophomore Jenna Szczesny helped restore the Fillies' faith in their offense with a hat trick, giving her 5 goals in her last two matches and 10 this season.
"Finishing our chances makes things a lot easier and really changes the way in which we play," said Barrington coach Ryan Stengren, who lost his top defender, Emily Morin, when the talented senior collided with East sophomore Darcy Cunningham in a 50-50 challenge just three minutes into the second period.
Both players were helped off the field, and the Fillies' captain was later taken to a hospital for observation.
"It felt good to finally score some goals yesterday against Evanston (a 4-0 victory) and it kind of helped us gain back some confidence going into today's game also," said Szczesny, who took the wind out of the visiting Saints' sails.
The Saints (9-3-1) had opened the game brightly after suffering a 3-1 defeat to Evanston earlier Saturday at Barrington.
"That was a nightmare of a loss for us this morning," said Saints coach Paul Jennison. "We took a 1-0 lead, then with 2 costly turnovers, we suddenly found ourselves chasing the lead -- and quite honestly, we didn't play our best match of the year against Evanston.
"But we started very well today, but found ourselves once again chasing our opponent, and against a quality side like Barrington, that's difficult thing to do."
The Saints looked tough right from the opening whistle, led by the midfield duo of Anna Corirossi and junior Amanda Hilton. They provided plenty of the possession in the first quarter hour -- which helped keep the Fillies in their own end.
"We possessed, played to feet and knocked the ball around really well at the start, but Barrington is a good team, and after they put 2 in the back of the net, we struggled for a while before we got ourselves back into the game," Hilton said.
Molly Pfeiffer was the architect on Szczesny's first 2 strikes, putting her teammate through at 10 and 13 minutes.
A brilliant left-footed strike from Shannon Rasmussen on a 25-yard free kick brought the Saints closer in the 47th minute, but despite the work of the junior as well as Carly Pottle, Corirossi and Hilton, the Saints could get no closer.
Aimee Pierce and Alex Avers helped Szczesny record her hat trick at 58 minutes, and the Fillies' back line held off the Saints to preserve the victory.
"It was a good win for us tonight, now we just have to hope that Emily is going to be okay," Stengren said.