Girls soccer: Barrington earns return to title game
Barrington's girls soccer team extended its dream-come-true postseason run by topping Naperville North 1-0 in the Class 3A state semifinals on the campus of North Central College in Naperville on Friday.
New Trier (24-0-2) thrashed Andrew 4-0 in the other semifinal to reach the final for the fifth consecutive time.
That means it will be a rematch of last year's championship game, as Barrington meets New Trier at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Michayla Herr thrilled the sun-baked Fillies supporters at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium when she scored from inside the 6-yard box on a ball that had spilled free from the gloves of Huskies keeper Maddie Hausmann, who'd made a terrific initial save on sophomore Rebecca Shoemaker's angled attempt in the 76th minute.
"Becca was our super sub today," said Barrington coach Ryan Stengren, whose team topped New Trier in shootout here a year ago.
"You always set goals at the start of the season, but I don't know if any of us thought we would return to the final after losing so many great players from that team, and three-fourths of our back line," Stengren said. "But the last couple of games we saw our young back line grow up before our eyes. And today they may have played their best game as a unit against a first-class, well-coached Naperville North team that had us worried leading into this game."
Herr's composed finish came in the final minutes of regulation of this enthralling state semifinal. It was Barrington's second straight victory over a state- and nationally-ranked opponent, coming on the heels of a 2-0 victory over top-ranked St. Charles North.
This Barrington group is also drawing inspiration from someone absent from the lineup: Senior midfielder Lauren Caffe, a tri-captain who suffered a season-ending injury early in the season but has been remained with the team to provide vocal support.
"We're playing for the name on the front of our shirts, plus Lauren, and not ourselves," said Barrington junior Madi Rosen, a standout on the back line along with teammates Juliana Moreno, Kate McGreevy and Christine Batliner.
The Huskies (20-4-4), who defeated the Fillies 1-0 in the semifinals of the Naperville Invite in late April, opened this contest with a display of quality on both sides of the ball.
But after the Fillies (20-3-4) weathered a 15-minute storm, they came back into the game, stretching the Huskies' vaunted defense by working tirelessly to win possessions before looking to find Ashley Prell, Tina Teik or Jen Devona up top.
"We weren't always able to create much through the run of play, but with our back line playing so well and keeping great players like Hannah Martin and Shaina Dudas from getting good looks on frame, we were able to settle in and grow in confidence as the game went on," Stengren said.
The intensity only grew as it appeared this contest might go into extra time. Martin and Dudas each had a go at Fillies keeper Samantha Schmitz, and Shoemaker, just brought on, helped create a corner for Rosen along with Prell and Herr.
Rosen's corner was punched out of the box nicely by Hausmann in the 72nd minute.
The breakthrough came when, with a burst of speed, Shoemaker raced into the open on the left side untouched before firing her low attempt toward Hausmann.
"I saw my chance, and just put the best shot that I could at the keeper -- then watched Michayla put it into the back of the net," said Shoemaker.
Teik, Herr and Rosen all took turns holding the ball near the flag to allow for time to run off the clock as the trio forced three deep throws and a pair of corners to finish Barrington's win.