Barrington tops St. Charles North's run
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Lightning did not strike twice at Barrington on Wednesday night, and the host Fillies were glad it didn't.
Dangerous weather had halted the Class 3A supersectional final one night earlier at 20 minutes, thus saving a struggling Barrington club which was fighting for its soccer lives against St. Charles North.
But the hosts took advantage of much nicer playing conditions a day later, providing some scoring thunder all their own to defeat the North Stars 3-1.
Barrington advances into Friday's Class 3A state tournament at North Central College. Next up for coach Ryan Stengren's team will be Hinsdale Central, which defeated Sandburg 2-0 in the Romeoville supersectional. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m., the second semifinal of the session in Naperville, following Buffalo Grove vs. Naperville North.
"We were on our heels right from the start (Tuesday night), and there's no doubt that delay was the best thing that could have happened for us," Stengren said. "And after talking things out, and making some adjustments, the girls came out tonight and put together an excellent second 20 minutes to all but erase the great 20 minutes of soccer St. Charles North opened with last night."
It was a richly-deserved victory to end five consecutive years of supersectional hurt for the Fillies.
"Emily (Morin), Molly (Pfeiffer) and myself have been to three straight supersectional finals, all ending the same way, so this win puts all of that behind us for good and keeps us going for the rest of the way," said Barrington senior Aimee Pierce, who with her aforementioned teammates are the lone four-year veterans on the Mid-Suburban League championship club.
The Fillies (18-4-1) grabbed 2 early goals in the first eight minutes of play on Wednesday.
And as it has been all season, it was the Mia Calamari-Pfeiffer combination which broke the 1-1 deadlock.
Pfeiffer elevated far above the North Stars' back line to tuck her header inside the post after meeting Calamari's swerving, pace-filled corner from the far flag to give the Fillies the lead for good at 25 minutes.
Then Fillies star striker Jenna Szczesny shattered North's hopes of reaching the state finals for the second straight year. Her second goal of the game in the 32nd minute, a magnificent piece of artistry, started when Morin put a ball onto the head of Pfeiffer from out of the back.
The all-state candidate quickly flicked the ball forward to her Szczesny, and the sophomore broke free. She tricked her way in closer on a zig-zag run before slotting under keeper Shelby Stitz, who came off her line to challenge the rampaging Szczesny to double the advantage.
"It's hard to believe, at times, that Jenna is still just a sophomore, she but has scored so many big goals for us all season, including tonight when we really needed it," Pfeiffer said.
"Getting those two goals, and into the wind after we got started was really important for us to take into the break," Stengren said. "It allowed us to manage the lead a little easier in the second half, when we knew St. Charles would really come after us."
The North Stars (19-4-1) began the second period keen to reassert themselves and to try to pull a goal back early on to give them plenty of time to go for the equalizer.
Lively play from Kelly Manski, Elizabeth Parrilli, Ashlyn Walter, Alyssa Brandt and Alex Gage ensured the North Stars would not go quietly.
St. Charles North stayed in the Barrington half for most of the second period but lacked the cutting edge in the final third to get anything of quality on keeper Hannah Luedtke.
"What we did Tuesday night was Tuesday night, and today was a different day," said St. Charles North coach Ruth Vostal, who just a few weeks ago celebrated her 200th career victory. "And although we controlled most of the second half, we didn't finish on any of the chances we created, while we had trouble with our own set-piece opportunities at the same time.
"What these girls were able to experience is something every player wishes to experience, but are not able to. This team is a very special group of players."
The Fillies will be making their first trip to the state tournament since 2006. Under then-coach Scott Steib, they finished second to New Trier.
"It feels like that weight is finally off our shoulders, and tonight we'll enjoy the win and getting to state," Stengren said.
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