Girls soccer: Barrington blanks Evanston
Two state-ranked girls soccer clubs collided head on Thursday night.
And Barrington was still standing when it was over.
The Mid-Suburban League-leading Fillies (12-1-1) took a big step toward Saturday's Naperville Invite final after dashing visiting Evanston's championship ambitions with an impressive 1-0 quarterfinal victory at Barrington Community Stadium.
Maesyn Poidomano's 16th-minute strike was the difference in the 80-minute gem featuring two of the best teams around.
They showed an appreciative audience a level of soccer worthy of their lofty status in the state polls.
"This was a very good win for us tonight but just as important, it was a game where the speed of play and quality of our opponent was the best we've seen in awhile," said Fillies coach Ryan Stengen. "And one that we we rose up to match."
Barrington will meet Naperville North in the semifinals at 5 p.m. at Naperville Central in a rematch of a 1-0 season-opening win by the Fillies over the Huskies.
"We expected to come away with a win here but instead we were outmuscled and outplayed at times to allow that one early goal to stand up,"said Evanston coach Maurizio Grillo, whose club is right there with both New Trier and Loyola, the top three seeds in the Maine South sectional.
The Wildkits (13-2-1), an athletic bunch from front-to-back, hit the ground running.
As expected, they played through talented midfielder Maia Cella, who presented problems for the home side from the opening whistle.
But Stengren made a tactical change at intermission.
"Evanston plays so fast and quick and they have a lot of technical skill, especially No. 14 (Cella)," he said. "So we asked Anna (Brodjian) to man-mark her in the second half. She did an absolutely fanstastic job on her. As you saw, the number of touches from (No. 14) went way down because of Anna's defensive work."
After absorbing plenty of pressure in the first quarter-hour, the Fillies were slow getting their legs underneath them.
When they did, the combination of some gritty defending from the back line, along with a high work rate in the midfield created a handful of half chances created by Poidomani and Kayle Schutter.
"It took us awhile to match their speed of play," Schutter said. "But once we did, we found out we could play with a team that had maybe the best talent we've played thus far."
Poidomani worked her way inside to meet up with the ball she would steer past Evanston keeper Sheridan Cleave.
It was a just reward for her terrific work up top alonside Schutter.
A well-played first half came to an end with Soph Spinell driving her free kick to the spot, forcing Cleave to make a save.
Stengren made a few more changes in the Fillies' formation after the break.
The once-rampant Evanston attack slowly became less threatening as the second period went further along.
A sensational early ball from Schutter nearly put freshman Ashley Prell in on Cleave at 47 minutes.
Another from the clever junior onto the foot of Spinell was stopped by Cleave four minutes later.
Evanston pushed numbers forward in its search of the equalizer. But the Fillies' backline of Jackie Batliner, Lauren Pircher, Kayle Keck, and Haley Tausend would have none of it.
They kept the Wildkits far away from keeper Samantha Schmitz, who was sharp all night long between the sticks.
"We were excited to play a team like (Evanston) tonight, and I feel like we did well against them," Brodjian said. "And we showed we can play with the best with this win."
Buffalo Grove 1, Rolling Meadows 0: A first-half goal from Courtney Lee, assisted by Gina Bolis, was enough to help the Bison past the Mustangs in MSL East action as Cassie Berman earned a shutout.