It won't be the dream final that fans of Mid-Suburban League girls soccer had hoped would develop.
Instead, it was a nightmare in Naperville on Friday for both Buffalo Grove and Barrington.
After the Bison fell in their Class 3A state semifinal against defending champ Naperville North, the MSL champion Fillies were stunned by Hinsdale Central 1-0.
The Red Devils' Alison Cerny struck the only goal in Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium on the campus of North Central College on Friday afternoon in a 1-0 decision.
It came just minutes after intermission, and Hinsdale Central (18-3-3) proceeded to manage its lead for the next 36 minutes to advance into the championship match under second-year coach Michael Smith.
"We did so many things that were uncharacteristic for us, and when (Hinsdale) scored the first goal of the game -- which is huge in a match like this -- it suddenly became a different game for us," said Fillies coach Ryan Stengren. "We spent so much energy chasing the lead and looking to find the equalizer, and we ran out of time doing that as well."
The Fillies (18-5-1) opened crisply and got a scoring chance early when Jenna Szczesny broke free of a pair of defenders, only to steer her close-range effort wide of the post.
After nearly conceding a goal in the first minute of play, the Red Devils settled in, and by playing through Casey May and Jenn Jarmy, Hinsdale Central got itself back into the match. The Red Devils quickly tested sophomore keeper Hannah Luedtke when the duo combined to put one on frame at 10 minutes; Luedtke made the save.
Four minutes later, Luedtke was called upon once again, this time stopping May, an all-state striker, with a brilliant right-footed kick save.
Suddenly, the Red Devils started to generate flowing, confident play while allowing the Fillies little of the ball, and just a few forays into the Central end.
"With (Boylan) we knew we had to stop their big-time scorer, Abby Reed, in our sectional final, and against St. Charles North, everyone knew how fast they play and how hard they come at you," said Fillies captain Molly Pfeiffer. "But with Hinsdale, we knew little about them. But we found out that everyone on their team can play, and we just were not ready for that."
The eventual game-winner came against the run of play when Cerny's powerfully hit low drive took a funny little drop when it neared Luedtke. With so much pace on the shot, it spun off her gloves and over the end line.
After nearly an hour of soccer, the Fillies played with more energy as they tried to draw even.
Szczesny struck the back post on a ball from the left touchline at 62 minutes, then some terrific combination work from Aimee Pierce and Szczesny put Pfeiffer in at the near post, where Central keeper Riley Glenn stopped her attempt.
The Fillies' best chance came when Mia Calamari's inward-swinging corner skimmed the bar, and spilled out to Pfeiffer, whose one timer from 8 yards out was turned away by Glenn.
"Hannah is over there crying her eyes out, thinking she is the reason we lost," said Pfeiffer, who stood before a group of reporters and defended her teammate before calmly answering questions after the most difficult loss of her career. "I can tell you, she wasn't the reason. She made one or two great saves to help keep us in the game, and she is without a doubt the best keeper that I've ever been around."
"The fact is, we didn't come out and play the way we're capable of, and it took us way to long to react to (their) goal and begin to play. Hinsdale was a very good team, and we just weren't good enough."
The Fillies meet Buffalo Grove (25-3-1) for the third time this season today at 5 p.m. when they play for the third-place trophy.