Girls soccer: Palatine's quick start finishes Stevenson
Palatine's girls soccer team will get another chance at Mid-Suburban League champion Barrington after a 2-0 victory Wednesday in a Class 3A regional opener against Stevenson at Barrington Community Stadium.
The ninth-seeded Pirates (10-7-4) stunned the North Suburban Conference champs with a goal at two minutes to put their opponents on its heels. The Patriots (9-7-1) chased the lead for the next 78 minutes before watching their season come to an abrupt end.
"We just never had any energy or life in our game tonight," said Patriots coach Kevin Heffernan, whose team last week defeated Wauconda 2-0 in the NSC title game. "I never felt we weren't ready to play beforehand, but that early goal really did take something out of us. Even though we were able to generate a few chances in the second half, it was the work rate and ability of Palatine to win nearly every ball tonight that might have been the difference."
In that case, mission accomplished for Palatine.
"That was our plan," said Pirates junior Mackenzie Filian, who along with her younger sister Kacie combined for a stunning opening goal, as Kacie, a sophomore, drove the ball into the goal on a redirected header after a feed from Mackenzie.
"Those two have that telepathic thing going sometimes, and tonight it really helped us get going at the start," added Palatine's Sarah Clancy, who along with Kacie Filian was a ferociou ball-winner, while the Pirates' back line led by Cora Jacobsen and Samantha Malik were water-tight in the first half.
"We wanted to come in here tonight and keep them in their own end as much as we could, created as many corners and deep throws, and be the first team to put one into the back of the net -- I thought we did all of that really well," said Mackenzie Filian.
By the time the Pirates generated at least a half-dozen corners, the Patriots' attack started to find its way, such as in the 17th minute when Daniela Adjunta would send a lovely ball into the area, nearly finding Brianna Van Zanten on the other end.
Just moments into the second period, Van Zanten broke into the area from the left side, then provided an excellent ball Emma Jaeger, who sent her attempt wide from inside the box.
This early exchange, combined with three or four good midfield wins from Mackenzie Connington, seemed to be exactly what the Patriots needed to inspire its attack.
But when Clancy, on the turn, drove her 22-yard, left-footer past keeper Hannah Petrick in the 50th minute, you could feel the air coming out of the Stevenson balloon.
"We talked at the break about winning balls in the middle, then playing the ball quickly back in because we might catch their defense dropping," said Heffernan. "But except for about 5-6 minutes, we never really stayed with playing that way."
Freshman Amaya Rivera, who split time in goal with Francesca Falato, was called into action in two critical sequences, with her best coming at the hour when, in full stretch on the ground, she denied Connington.
"We started 1-4 on the season, and after a loss to Warren, the girls just refused to lose, so they had a great run and season," said Heffernan. "But tonight, Palatine was the better team."
"It was a good win for us tonight," said Palatine coach Willie Filian. "Obviously, getting that early goal helped us a lot. But I was very happy with our work rate and energy that we gave for 80 minutes. Now we'll have to figure a way to play even harder and stronger when we meet Barrington this Friday in the final."
In a first meeting April 8, Barrington defeated Palatine 4-0.
Wheaton North 2, Schaumburg 1 (PK): The Falcons converted 5 penalty kicks to the Saxons' 4 to decide their Class 3A regional semifinal matchup at Addison Trail.
WW South 3, Rolling Meadows 0: The Tigers scored a pair of second-half goals to pull away from the Mustangs in Class 3A regional semifinal action at Geneva.