Barrington comes out shooting, stops St. Viator
Mid-Suburban League girls soccer leader Barrington proved to have too much firepower for St. Viator in a 5-1 victory Thursday.
Coach Ryan Stengren's Fillies showcased the full range of their skills in the first match for both teams at the Mairin Wallner Memorial Tournament at Barrington Community Stadium.
"That is a very good team that Ryan has here," said St. Viator coach Mike Taylor, whose club will continue pool play at noon Saturday against Evanston.
The Wallner tournament combines with the prestigious Naperville Invite every year, sending its group winners into the championship bracket when play resumes next weekend in Naperville.
The Lions, 3-0 in the ESCC since dropping a 2-1 heartbreaker in overtime to conference rival Benet last weekend, had its trouble from the onset with keeping the Fillies speed and quickness under control. All-state striker Jenna Szczesny and the rest of Barrington's front seven, including Megan Fox, Kayla Schutter, Soph Spinell and Kelsey Muniz, just had too much pace and energy for their opponents.
"They were so much faster than us -- most likely everyone they've faced thus far -- and they react so quick to everything, and we just couldn't match that," said Taylor. "Plus they have a true finisher up top that everyone would like to have."
It took nearly 20 minutes for the first real opportunity of the match, which brought a goal for the home team after Fox created the chance from near the midline by connecting with Szczesny up the left side.
With Szczesny stepping on the gas pedal to break free of her mark and gain the end line, her low cross on the floor to the back post allowed Spinell to finish with a nice one-timer.
The Fillies (10-0-3) fell victim to a nicely played off-side trap on three occasions after Spinell's 20th-minute goal to help keep the advantage to just 1 goal.
Then some marvelous play from freshman keeper Anna Johnston gave St. Viator a big lift.
"Mike has a keeper who can really play this year," said Stengren.
If Johnston wasn't using her gloves to turn away the Fillies' attempts, she was using her quickness to take her off her line and stop scoring chances.
"Anna plays with a lot of confidence and composure as a freshmen keeper, and together with our backline, it's all coming together really well along the back for us," said Taylor.
With the half-time whistle about to sound, the Lions (8-2-0) were in trouble with Szczesny using a sublime touch away from Johnston in close to make it 2-0.
"A bad goal to give up at that time," Taylor said.
The Lions' predicament worsened after the break, when a wonderful ball put through by Schutter saw Szczesny pull the ball over and to the right of Johnston before she steered in her second goal of the day at 55 minutes.
Stengren brought several of his starters off for good minutes later, but the Fillies' offense wasn't affected by the new faces in the match.
Ana Lagesschulte made it 4-0 in the 74th minute before Fox finished the Fillies scoring. A late PK conversion from Lauren Kohn ended Barrington's shutout hopes.
"It's great to see all of our players grow with each game we play, which is only going to make us better later in the season," said Fox, a three-year veteran who earned high praise from her coach for her work rate and effort on Thursday.
The Fillies will continue pool play Friday against Evanston.