The Cups keep coming for Barrington's girls soccer team.
The Fillies put the finishing touches of a magnificent regular season with an impressive 3-0 victory over Hersey on Wednesday night at Barrington Community Field to capture a third straight Mid-Suburban League Soccer Bowl crown.
MSL West player of the year Jenna Szczesny drove home the first of her 2 goals just three minutes into this 25th annual matchup of divisional winners. And after that, the Fillies dominated the rest of the way to become the first club in the league to win three MSL consecutive titles since Elk Grove did so from 2000-2002.
"From the time we met in our room earlier and right on through warm-up, the girls were spot-on focused heading into this game," said Barrington coach Ryan Stengren. "So there was a real positive feeling on my part that all we had to do was go out and execute and play, and everyone did that exactly."
"We knew Hersey had not allowed any goals during the season," said Szczesny, a junior who's scored 22 times this spring, "but we also knew we have a very good backline as well, including Hannah (Luedtke), who is as big a reason for our success as anyone else on this team."
The Fillies (14-3-1) looked sharp in the early going, playing quickly while using the width of its extra-large turf surface to stretch the Huskies' defensive crew.
With Nicole Niro and Kelsey Muniz at the controls in the center of the park and Mia Calamari serving up several quality serves into the area, Szczesny, Elli Ackerman and Carrie Madden were given scoring chances almost right away.
Szczesny came down the left side before unloading a wicked left-footed blast from 14 yards that nestled into the far inside netting to give the Fillies the only goal they'd end up needing.
"That first goal is so big because it helped set the tone, and allow everyone to relax and settle in," said Szczesny.
The MSL East champion Huskies (16-5-1) were fighting to get back into the match, but were unable to get the ball onto the foot of its scoring leader Lauren Gierman (19 goals, 11 assists this spring). Instead, while Hersey was trying to get going, the Fillies nearly added a second goals as Madden rattled the bar from 30 yards in the 14th minute.
"A lot of us, including me, didn't come out and play the way we know we can," said Gierman. "And going down a goal early, then another later on, really put a lot on all of us, which we never recovered from."
The Hersey senior put a long free kick on frame at 20 minutes, which Luedtke saved. Then, just after the half-hour mark, Gierman's angled shot from 22 yards required a big more effort from the Fillies' keeper.
"With the defense I have in front of me, I am never worried, because they all play with a lot of confidence, helping to make my job easier," said Luedtke, who got her 12th shutout of the season.
Calamari helped the Fillies double their lead before the break when her corner created enough of a scrum to allow Szczesny to provide a helper for freshman Maesyn Poidomani, who somehow slotted under and past Morgan Harris, who could nothing with the shot in the 37th minute.
"We had hoped all along to be the first to score, then get numbers back and defend the lead," said Hersey coach Darren Llewellyn. "But that second goal really forced our hand and caused us to come out of our shell more than we would have liked. And tonight we just didn't see some of our players play at the level they have of late."
Szczesny put the icing on the championship cake at 56 minutes when she ran onto a superb serve from Madden from the near touchline and drove a close-range shot past Harris.
"We're really happy that the seniors were able to win three straight, and here at home also," said Luedtke after her teammates lifted the big trophy.
"I am very proud of the girls, and thrilled for their success in the MSL this season," said Stengren. "We were able to get all seven of our freshmen in the game, and that means a lot for their future here. But tomorrow we start working on bigger and better things first -- regionals, which begin next week."