Girls soccer: Sixth straight MSL triumph for Barrington

Barrington became Mid-Suburban League girls soccer champions for a record sixth consecutive time by finally quelling Buffalo Grove's challenge with two second-half goals to earn a 2-0 victory Thursday night at Grant Blaney Stadium in the 28th MSL Soccer Bowl.

The Fillies (21-1-0) looked set to record an emphatic scoreline when they opened with fierce intensity in the attack. But when Barrington failed to finish three chances in the first quarter-hour, the confidence of the host Bison grew.

"We did a lot of good things tonight, except in the final third - and when you keep a team around long enough, bad things can happen if you're not careful," said Fillies coach Ryan Stengren. "We're still very proud of tonight's win, and the terrific accomplishment for many of these girls who have been a part of four straight championships."

It wasn't long before the visitors created the first of those three early chances.

"I was really pleased with the way we moved the ball around, getting everyone involved and putting them under pressure," said Stengren. "That part of our game was very good, especially in the first half."

Ashley Prell ran onto a ball sent in over the top from Jackie Batliner, but the sophomore directed her attempt over the bar just moments before Sophia Spinell found the post with a header.

Kayla Keck appeared to be in position to score in the 14th minute, but the senior was denied by Zugey Olvera, who turned in a quality effort between the sticks for the home side.

"We knew after our 2-0 win over Buffalo Grove last year in the final that we would be in for a battle once again tonight," said Keck. "Even though we weren't as sharp as we need to be in the final third, we still came away with the result we all wanted."

The BG backline of Danielle Allaire, Brittany Lee, Zoe Robertson and Kendra Lee did its best to weather the first-half storm by the Fillies. BG coach Pat Dudle, who deployed Gina Bolis just in front of the back four and his top player, Georgette Topalis, withdrawn in a 4-5-1 formation, figured the longer his club kept Barrington off of the scoreboard, the better the odds became for the Bison.

"The effort was tremendous in that first half, and even though Barrington has so much firepower, and were so dangerous at times, our defense, along with Zugey held it together, and we almost surprised them on that free kick from Bolis," said Dudle.

Bolis would put a marvelous ball directly onto Topalis in full stride, but her attempt was directly at keeper Samantha Schmitz.

After missing the early chances, the Fillies finally broke through at 50 minutes when Anna Brodjian ran from the far post to the spot, finishing a brilliant cross from Spinell.

The Fillies thought they'd doubled the advantage when Keck redirected a Spinell corner, but the assistant referee detected keeper interference.

When Maesyn Poidomani steered in her 64th-minute strike from an acute angle to the left of Olvera, the Fillies drew closer to their goal.

"We were all a little nervous coming into this game because we had won five in a row, so it's great to get our sixth, and to have this game behind us now," said Poidomani, who scored 3 goals in the MSL Soccer Bowl in her career, including last year's game-winner.

"It's a great feeling to do something that no other team has ever done before," said Keck, "and we've all worked hard to get to where we are tonight."

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