Things started out well enough for Burlington Central in its Class 2A girls soccer regional final against DeKalb Friday. Anna McMahon fed Alyssa Messina for a pretty goal in the second minute and the Rockets were flying high.
But Central couldn't score again while Morgan Beaty connected twice to carry the Barbs to the 2-1 victory.
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Neither of Beaty's goals was of the artistic variety. The first, which tied the game in the 15th minute, was basically a dump-in but went right on the net. Central goalkeeper Abby Ciganek appeared to lose her balance momentarily and the ball got by her.
Beaty struck again midway through the second half, with a long arcing shot from the deep corner that just got over Ciganek's head.
"When they say you'd rather be lucky than good, that's what happened," said Central coach Massimo Piscopo. "They went for a cross and it just went in."
The Rockets, working into the wind in the second half, couldn't generate anything offensively. It was one of a number of little things that turned the tide.
"You have to deal with the variables," said Piscopo. "The variables includes the weather. There were a lot of bad calls, little stuff here and there. It changes the momentum of the game. But I enjoyed every minute here at Burlington Central. I would do it all over again."
The Rockets finished 11-8-2. The Barbs are 13-3-4 and advance to next week's Hampshire sectional to play the winner of Saturday's Rosary regional final between Rosary and Kaneland.
For DeKalb coach Phil Rouse, it was his first regional title after 6 finals appearances in his 7 years as head coach.
"For 10 years we've been working toward this goal, its nice to finally see the end," he said.
Ciganek actually did a fine job in the nets for Burlington, making 6 saves in the second half alone, including a couple of the spectacular variety. She dove far to her left to get a hand on a shot by Beaty, deflecting it away.
The Rockets had only one offensive flurry after halftime. Ashley Ahrens came in alone on Barb keeper Maddie Frye but didn't hit it cleanly and Frye made the stop. Moments later Frye stopped Ellen Jayne. Shortly thereafter, Beaty scored at the other end.