Girl soccer: Warren soars to regional triumph
Warren's girls soccer program has reached new heights this season, from winning the Glenbrook Cup championship to capturing the North Suburban Conference title.
Add a couple of fresh items to the team's list of lofty accomplishments: 20 victories, and a regional championship.
Second-seeded Warren shut out No. 12 Stevenson 3-0 in a Class 3A regional final in Lincolnshire on Friday afternoon.
Lipscomb-bound Alliyah Parker scored a goal and assisted on another, while Natalie McNally and Courtney McNally had the other Warren scores. Lindsey Hardiman and Ellen Szostak picked up assists.
"We've been working at it all season, and taking it one game at a time," Warren coach Ryan McCabe said. "It's all work in progress -- the results will come. And it doesn't change in the playoffs."
Warren improves to 20-1-2 and next meets sixth-seeded Libertyville on Tuesday in their own sectional semifinal. The Wildcats (10-5-1) blanked third-seeded Fremd 2-0 in a regional final hosted by the Vikings on Friday.
Against Stevenson, the Blue Devils' effort-level was at both ends of the field.
"It was what we expected out of Stevenson," said McCabe, whose team recently topped Stevenson 3-1 in an NSC finale. "We weren't expecting to score a couple of goals and see them lay down. That wasn't the scouting report at all."
And Stevenson (5-10-2) made it a tough battle for awhile, with physical play and very good defense.
Warren got its first goal in the 25th minute off a set piece. Parker delivered a ball in front of the goal, and McNally ran onto it. The ball caromed off both her body and the post before going in. It was McNally's fifth goal this season; her other four came on corner kicks.
"I was telling the team the other day that my goal was to score a goal other than a corner kick," McNally said. "I was actually celebrating before the ball got in the goal."
Parker added the second goal (her 22nd this season) off an assist from Hardiman in the 36th minute.
Courtney Chomko had the last goal after taking a pass from Szostak in the final minute.
For Stevenson coach, Kevin Heffernan it the final game as girls coach, concluding a four-year run.
Heffernan has been involved in coaching for a total of 30 years and will still be with the boys one last time in the fall.
"I'm going to miss it, and I love every minute of it," Heffernan said. "The competition is awesome with the opposing coaches. We're in this for the athletes, we're not just in it for winning. It's that we teach them more skills, develop character . . . it's more than just game-day. We're trying to develop the whole person before they go on to further their life in college and beyond."