Girls soccer: Prell puts away game-winner for Barrington

Defending Mid-Suburban League girls soccer champion Barrington stayed perfect in the early season after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over West division rival Conant on Wednesday afternoon at a rain-soaked Barrington Community Stadium.

Sophomore Ashley Prell's 52nd-minute winner edged the Cougars (2-1-0, 1-1-0), who'd entered Wednesday with 13 goals in its first two matches of the season. Emily Mazurek had seven, including all 4 in a 4-2 victory over Waubonsie Valley on March 24.

"We were looking forward to playing today (despite) the weather and terrible conditions," said Conant coach Jason Franco. "With the wind at our backs in that first half, we were hoping to punch one in and then see if we could hold on. But when it was 0-0 at the break, we knew we were in for plenty of pressure from them in the second half."

On a dreadful day for soccer, which included a driving rain and ferocious wind, both clubs brushed aside the elements to play some purposeful soccer during the first period.

"I thought we actually played better going into the wind instead of having it at out backs after the break," said Fillies coach Ryan Stengren. "We possessed well at times and used width and some good play through our midfield to create some quality stuff through the run of play. So overall, we did pretty well in some real ugly conditions."

The visitors did their best when the trio of Emily and Stephanie Mazurek and Kaylin Feeley were on the ball.

But it was the sturdy play of the Fillies' back line of Jackie Batliner, Kayla Keck, Haley Tausend and newcomer Madi Rosen which kept the Cougars to just a few tame attempts on frame.

"Our defense right from the start of the season has been very good," said Stengren of a unit which has already recorded 3 shutouts.

The Fillies (3-0-0, 2-0-0) were at their best midway through the first period.

That's when Ellie Stodola had a go on two occasions from in close. Also, Keck headed a Sophia Spinell corner wide after a Conant counter forced keeper Samantha Schmitz into action on an Emily Mazurek attempt.

"We knew coming in we had to play our best in order to beat Barrington," said Cougars sophomore Stephanie Mazurek. "And our effort was really good, just not good enough."

The home side put the Cougars under pressure just after intermission, and kept it up until Prell broke the deadlock.

She made no mistake from a spot just to the right of the back post, bringing down a terrific cross from Spinell before unloading her unstoppable angled shot into the far-inside netting.

"Maesyn Poidomani had a solid game in her first game back," Stengren said. "The effort was real solid all throughout, and our defense really did a good job on their top players. But we'll have to be better in the final third so we can finish the chances we create."

Barrington will open play at the North Shore Invite at Loyola in Wilmette on Saturday, while the Cougars host Wheeling on Friday.

"There was a 20-minute sequence in the first half where I thought we played very well," Franco said. "But in the second half they had most of the play, and even though that was a tough goal for us to concede, in the end, it was a fair result."

Elk Grove 7, Wheeling 0: Amanda Sitkowski had 5 goals, Emily Sitkowski had 2 and Rachel Kandefer made a pair of saves to earn a shutout as the host Grens (2-4, 1-1) rolled in MSL East action.

  Conant's Stephanie Mazurek, left, and Barrington's Haley Tausend leap for a header during Wednesday's match at Barrington. Joe Lewnard/
  Conant's Kaylin Feeley, left, and Barrington's Sophia Spinell chase the ball toward the sideline during Wednesday's match at Barrington. Joe Lewnard/
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