Girls soccer: Barrington ready when it matters to beat Naperville Central

Ashley Prell's seventh goal of the season was about as lucky as they come.

The Barrington sophomore took advantage of a miscommunication in Naperville Central's girls soccer defense to score a fluke goal in the 16th minute of Thursday's Naperville Invitational quarterfinal against host Naperville Central.

Seniors Ellie Stodola and Kayla Keck later added more impressive strikes as the Fillies won 3-0 despite getting just 8 shots. They will play New Trier in Friday night's semifinals at Naperville Central.

"It's always good to get the first goal, although we still got to stay on our feet because 1-0 doesn't mean anything," Prell said. "One mistake can change the game, but (her goal) did help."

Naperville Central's mistake proved costly because it put its struggling offense at a big disadvantage against a team that has surrendered only 3 goals this season.

Prell found herself in the right place at the right time when confusion in the back caught the Redhawks out of position.

"Honestly, I was just there and they missed it and I was like, 'Oh, I guess I have to go for it,'" Prell said. "It was kind of on them, but I just happened to be in the right spot. It was lucky."

There was nothing lucky about Stodola's goal, which put the Fillies (12-1) in firm control with 2:33 left in the first half.

Prell and Sophie Spinell worked a give-and-go down the right wing, with Spinell beating a defender to the corner and crossing in front to Stodola, whose volley beat Dressler but was cleared off the line by a defender.

Stodola, though, was persistent, booting home the rebound.

"That second goal was one of the better goals that we've scored this year," Barrington coach Ryan Stengren said. "Ashley Prell played the ball into Sophie. Sophie crosses it and then Ellie just wins the battle in the box."

Keck then put the game out of reach with 35:41 to go in the second half, sending a powerful header under the crossbar off a corner kick from Spinell.

Keck was part of a stout back line that held the Redhawks (8-6-2) to 3 shots. Jackie Batliner, Haley Tausend and Madi Rosen teamed with Keck to flummox Naperville Central's attackers.

"As a team we've been playing together for a really long time, so I think that helps a lot with how we play together," Keck said. "It's not just the defense; it's the whole team.

"Everybody is moving, everybody is trying to get the ball and we're just trying to improve on that."

The Fillies will get a chance to do that against New Trier (14-1), which has won the last three Class 3A titles.

"This is a really tough tournament," Keck said. "Some of the best teams are in it, so it's an honor to work our way up the ladder."

The Redhawks, on the other hand, will go back to the drawing board.

"I'm not disappointed in our performance," Naperville Central coach Ed Watson said. "I'm disappointed that we made mistakes that cost us goals, and we're not a good enough team to do that."

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