At the beginning of the season, one of the first goals set by the South Elgin girls soccer team was to win the program's first regional title, and the Storm accomplished that on their home field.
Despite another strong showing by Elgin freshman keeper Hannah Erickson (10 saves), the top-seeded Storm (13-5-2) earned a 3-0 win over the No. 2 Maroons (9-10) in Friday's Class 3A South Elgin regional championship game. South Elgin advances to Tuesday's Rockford Auburn Sectional and will play Harlem at 6 p.m.
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"Being their goal all season long to win a regional title, this is pretty exhilarating," Storm coach Tiffany Disher said. "What I was impressed with is just the teamwork we displayed today."
The Storm had 10 different players attempt a shot in the game, and the hosts held a 27-6 advantage in total shots. Despite watching several different combinations produce quality scoring chances early in the game, South Elgin was held off the board until 10:03 remained on the clock in the first half.
On one of the Storm's 6 corner kicks, junior Alyssa Shipon's kick from the left corner found the head of freshman Ella Struwing, who found the left side of the net just past the stretching arms of Erickson.
"We've been working on that all season," Struwing said of the Storm's teamwork. "I wouldn't expect anything different. We're like a family, and we want to keep the season going so we can be together."
In the first minute of the second half, junior Talia Jaramillo made it 2-0 off an assist from junior Delaney Kelleher.
Storm senior Caitlin Lange was a constant scoring threat with 8 total shots, and she finally found the net with 3:14 left to play when she scored off a beautiful cross from senior Anna Tracy.
"It's like a giant weight's been lifted off your shoulders when you finally score after having so many opportunities," Lange said. "This is just a great feeling to win."
Storm goalie Jackie De La Mora made 3 saves in the shutout effort.
The Maroons graduate 8 seniors including Gabriela Delgado, who had one of the team's shots on goal. Juniors Bopha Travis and Anna Leon also had attempts on goal.
"I'm proud of the girls," Maroons' coach Alicia Knoll said. "They haven't been in this kind of situation playing for a regional title in a very long time. For them to step up and embrace the challenge, I'm very proud of what they did."