Girls soccer: St. Charles North holds off feisty Schaumburg
The girls soccer action was played almost exclusively at the Schaumburg end Thursday afternoon in St. Charles.
Then again, it was by design by the Saxons against the high-octane offense of St. Charles North.
"Our game plan was to play defense and keep it compact in our end," Schaumburg junior Katie Smith said.
In the final round of pool play of the Rose Augscburg-Drach Invitational, the potent North Stars received goals from Sarah Andrey and Sami Rydberg less than 10 minutes apart to break a scoreless second-half draw.
Smith would halve the Saxons' deficit with 9:34 remaining, but St. Charles North remained undefeated on the season in advancing to the championship match with the 2-1 victory.
The North Stars (5-0-1) will meet host St. Charles East, which defeated Bartlett by the same score Thursday, in the title game on Saturday.
Schaumburg (1-3-2) will play Burlington Central in the fifth-place match to kick off the three-match finals at St. Charles East. Bartlett and Cary-Grove play for third.
After scoring 5 goals against Cary-Grove on Wednesday, the North Stars must have felt like they were in quicksand for the first 50-plus minutes of the match.
"We were moving the ball well and just didn't get a lot of scoring opportunities," Andrey said.
But the St. Charles North fortunes soon changed as the 14th minute of the second half came to a close.
Sydney Stitz fired a shot on the Saxons' goal; Andrey fired home the rebound from 13 yards out with 26:04 remaining in the second half.
"There was a lot of commotion," Andrey said. "(Schaumburg keeper Livvi Masi) gave a rebound. It was a nice shot by (Stitz). I knew someone had to jump on the rebound and I was just happy to be there. I knew the goalkeeper was going one way and I shot it the other way."
The North Stars continued to press the Saxons almost exclusively at their end.
The North Stars' frequent forays into Schaumburg territory paid dividends nine minutes later when Rydberg had the play of the match.
The junior midfielder rocketed a shot from 30 yards out that nicked the bottom-most part of the crossbar to find its intended destination.
"Their center-mids kind of got sucked in, so they left me open," Rydberg said. "I knew I had to take the shot before someone got on me."
Schaumburg would have long been toast had it not been for Masi making some extraordinary saves throughout the match.
"My goalie came up really big," Schaumburg coach Greg Charvat said.
Smith scored in the 71st minute off an Allison Schaar cross.
"Schaar made a great move on the corner and crossed it," Smith said. "I was in the right place and deflected it into the goal."
Megan Kanak narrowly missed the equalizer for the Saxons in the final minutes.
"We knew we had to slow that team down," Charvat said. "We knew we weren't going to have a lot of chances and had to capitalize on the few chances that we were going to have."