Barrington homes in on supersectional berth
Barrington's girls soccer team is headed home to its own supersectional after getting the better of Lake Zurich on Saturday afternoon in the rain, wind and cold at John Davis Stadium in Glenview.
Jenna Szczesny scored the eventual winner just before intermission, with Kayla Schutter and Anna Brojian adding second-half insurance to secure a 3-0 victory for the Fillies in the Class 3A Glenbrook South sectional final.
The Fillies (20-1-3) will host Fox Valley Conference champion Huntley on Tuesday at Barrington Community Stadium, with the winner advancing into the state tournament at North Central College in Naperville.
"Today was one of those games that all you want to do is survive, and move on from," said Barrington coach Ryan Stengren, whose team last made a playoff run this deep two seasons ago, when the Fillies ended up taking third place in the state. "It was a miserable weather day, and the second straight game here with the wind was so incredibly strong. So I am just glad to come away with a win."
Once Lake Zurich coach Mike Castronova learned his team had won the toss, thereby getting the choice of playing with the wind at its back in the first period, he knew the importance of scoring first.
"Having the wind was a great advantage today, and you can bet we wanted to score first, then try to manage the lead when they came at us when they had the wind at their backs in the second half," Castronova said. "But it didn't work out that way."
Emily Udelhoven came closest to putting the Bears in front when the junior drove a low, well-paced shot from close range on the right side toward the back post, only to see Fillies senior keeper Hannah Luedtke usher the attempt around the post.
"With the wind and rain in her face, I don't honestly know how Hannah managed to save that shot," said Stengren.
The Fillies spoiled Lake Zurich's half when at 38 minutes Szczesny ran onto a ball slotted up the center and cooly finished past a diving Eleanor Daleske to send the No. 1 sectional seed into the break with a precious 1-goal advantage.
"That was a nicely executed set piece, and at that point, with it looking like we would go into the half with no score, it suddenly turned around quickly in their favor," Castronova said.
"It was terrible out there the entire game," said Szczesny, who got goal No. 37 this spring, "and the conditions we so bad that scoring first meant more than it usually does. I am glad it was us who scored first."
It took just eight minutes into the second period for the Fillies to strike again, this time from the Schutter. The sophomore, on the turn, found the target from 25 yards out, escaping the outstretched gloves of Daleske on a wind-aided blast.
"We began to play with a little more confidence, and more like ourselves, after Kayla's goal," said Stengren. "So it was good to see us come alive when you know it's going to be a battle the rest of the way if it stayed 1-0."
Brodjian got the final goal on a long-range blast in the 61st minute.
"It was great to see those two rockets from Kayla and Anna go in, it gave us a little breathing room at that point," added Szczesny.
Despite chasing 3 goals (19) minutes from time, the Bears kept up the attack. The quartet of Danielle Ufheil, Nicole Rasiarmos, Alexa Juarez and Udelhoven provided an extra dose of energy while attempting to create a quality chance or two at Luedtke (14.5 shutouts).
"This team has played with nothing less than maximum effort throughout this season, and always with a lot of heart and pride," said Castronova. "You saw that today even when we went down 3-0. For us, it lately has seemed like Barrington is the team standing in our way of going further in the postseason. You have to credit them -- they are a great team, and they deserved the result they earned today.
"But I am very proud of this entire group we have. They have been just great to coach."