Admittedly, St. Charles North girls soccer coach Ruth Vostal doesn't keep track of how many consecutive regional championships her teams have captured.
"I swear I keep saying it's 10 in a row and someone said, 'no, it's 12,'" Vostal said after the North Stars' 2-0 victory over Batavia (12-9-1) during Friday's Class 3A Addison Trail regional finals. "Somebody must have figured out what it is."
The top-seeded North Stars (17-4-2) extended their regional title streak to an even dozen with a solid defensive effort fueled by Kathleen Murphy, Jenny Barr, Morgan Rerko, Darcy Stoecklin, Megan O'Leary and junior keeper Shelby Stitz (3 saves).
"It's not the number but more I get excited about the tradition that we've set," said Vostal, whose team will advance to face cross-town rival St. Charles East in Tuesday's sectional semifinals at Conant after the Saints' 5-2 regional title triumph over Wheaton Warrenville South Friday.
St. Charles North grabbed a 1-0 lead midway through the first half as junior midfielder Hanna Durocher maneuvered around a pair of Batavia defenders and delivered a left-footed shot past Bulldogs freshman keeper Jenny Scara (11 saves).
However, unlike the first meeting between the 2 teams -- won 4-0 by St. Charles North -- this postseason matchup was a little more pressure-packed for both sides.
The North Stars peppered the Bulldogs with additional first-half scoring chances but came away empty.
"Every game we say it's going to be a difficult fight, especially when we keep hitting the Tri-Cities teams," said Vostal. "We were looking to create opportunities."
It remained a 1-goal game until senior forward Sophie Pohl put away an insurance tally with 7:01 left.
"We do think about it because (a) 1-0 (lead) is not safe," said Pohl. "We had a lot of opportunities as a team. It took a while to finish but we got there eventually. As long as the chances are there and we keep creating them, there's nothing wrong with them. It's just finishing and we're working on that."
Sophomore forward Megan McEachern had a pair of second-half scoring opportunities for the Bulldogs, the first of which occurred 10 minutes in when Stitz came out of the net to thwart her tying attempt.
"I thought we played pretty well," said Batavia coach Mark Gianfrancesco. "We matched their intensity and definitely their physicalness. We didn't back down from them, which is what you have to do with these guys -- they're a physically dominating team. If you cower to that, then they're just going to dominate you and it's going to be 4, 5 or 6-0."
The North Stars' second-half plan was to attack from the outside.
"I thought Batavia did a good job inside -- No. 23 (Karina Rosales) was pretty aggressive but we were trying to get the ball wide because we knew that was where the space was," said Vostal.
Considering that 17 of the Bulldogs' 21 varsity players will return next season -- the team loses seniors Emily Stanczak, Kim Stanczak, Lauren Suhi and Brooke LeFevre to graduation -- there is a feel of optimism for the future.
"We've got a lot of young people back that really learned a lot, especially since we had a pretty solid senior group last year," said Gianfrancesco. "There was a little more responsibility on their part. I think they stepped up and it should carry over to next year."