Girls soccer: Barrington returns to state as Stengren gets No. 200
After another memorable night of its girls soccer season, Barrington has reached this weekend's Class 3A state tournament semifinals.
The top-rated Fillies (26-1-0) turned on the style, scoring 3 goals in the first half and another after the intermission to defeat Rockton Hononegah 4-1 Tuesday in supersectional play at Barrington Community Stadium.
Barrington will play in Friday's 7 p.m. state semifinal against Downers Grove South at North Central College in Naperville.
The triumph was also No. 200 in the coaching career of Barrington's Ryan Stengren and has the Fillies headed for the program's seventh state tournament appearance.
"What makes this night even better than reaching 200 wins is it all happened with such a tremendous group of players who have made a commitment to each other and the team ahead of everything else," said Stengren, joined his players in wading through hundreds of fans, former players and supporters who poured onto the stadium floor to help celebrate the moment.
One year ago at this time, it was a very different scene as Barrington dropped a 1-0 decision to Huntley in the supersectional.
"With last year still on our minds, and knowing a win would be (coach Stengren's 200th), plus with such a big crowd out here tonight, there was a lot of pressure on all of us," said senior Kayla Keck, one of nine current players who were a part of the Fillies' third-place state team two seasons ago. "So that's why getting that early goal was so big for us."
"We didn't play our best game of the season," said Stengren, "but we advanced, and with everything else going on around the girls, this was a terrific effort and accomplishment tonight."
The Fillies victory was jump-started by an early goal from Anna Brodjian in the first minute after Jackie Batliner crossed back into the box from the right side.
Fifteen minutes later, the Fillies double their advantage when Sydney Bowling redirected in close quarters a rebound off the gloves of keeper Alyssa Darling, who made a strong save on an initial attempt by Sophia Spinell.
Hononegah (13-10-0) regained its composure after conceding the first two goals, and when Barrington allowed the Indians to come freely through midfield, the talented right foot of Julia Barenbaum pulled one back for the visitors.
"That first goal came so quickly for us, and it was something we talked about doing, but we let up after it and didn't play as well as we should have leading up to their goal," said Fillies keeper Samantha Schmitz, who was denied her 20th shutout of the season.
Schmitz was called into action moments after the 20th-minute goal when her full-extension stretch saved a potential equalizer by Brynn Jacobi.
Spinell scored her third goal in the last two games with an unstoppable angled left-footed blast following some wonderful ball movement in advance of an Ashley Prell strike. That attempt spilled off the gloves of Darling and fell to Spinell at the far post.
The ball remained in Barrington's possession for the rest of the first half and that same dominance led to the Fillies' final goal.
The Hononegah defense became undone by a dangerous ball sent in by Madi Rosen out of the back, allowing Ellie Stodola to finish from the end line in the 53rd minute.
Stengren began to bring most of his starters from the game at the hour mark, leaving just Keck and Schmitz in the contest when the referee whistled this championship match over.
"This is just a great feeling right now, but the best thing about winning and advancing is we can max out our time together as a team for one more weekend," Schmitz said with a smile.