Girls soccer: Barrington gets past Prospect
Barrington stayed atop the Mid-Suburban League girls soccer standings by defeating defensive-minded Prospect 1-0 at George Gattas Memorial Stadium Monday night to keep the pressure on main title division rival Conant.
Ashley Armando's 44th minute goal would finally solve the Knights (6-6-3, 0-3-1), who came out playing 10 players behind the ball to challenge a high-powered Fillies (8-0-1, 6-0-0) attack that came into this contest with some staggering offensive numbers.
"Our plan was to sit in as long as we had to in order to keep such a technically superior team, and one that has some dangerous people on the outside, from creating too many chances, while getting quality looks on frame at the same time," admitted Prospect head coach Tom Froats.
The plan would work well but in doing so, the home side would concede nearly 85 percent of the possession to the Fillies, much of it in the final third leading Barrington head coach Ryan Stengren to say this afterward:
"It might have been the best we played this season with the ball, meaning we played quick, switched field, got everyone involved, and did so at a speed that kept Prospect from getting anything through the run of play."
Prospect would survive a scare or three along the way during a superb first half of soccer from the defending state champions, many of which were created by its two outside backs -- Madi Rosen on the left and Christine Batliner on the right.
Rosen's booming left foot nearly led to a Rebecca Shomaker goal in the 22nd minute before the Fillies' pair almost connected in what would have been a sensational goal when Batliner came this close to running onto a Rosen back post serve.
"It was a very good overall performance from everyone tonight, we played and communicated well together, moved the ball around as quick as we have thus far, and when one of us made a mistake, the entire team was there to pick each other up," said Rosen.
When the Knights would conjure up a counter attack here and there it was usually with Ashley Welk, who was at the heart of such opportunities.
Welk would put the lone attempt of the first half at Fillies keeper Coast Liapis in the 23rd minute.
Armando's game-winner was an "exquisite" finish according to Froats, and it came after the junior latched onto a helper from Tina Teik on the right side.
Armando's angled strike went into the far inside netting after she strolled up the right side unmarked.
Annie Ninness was fearless when she stopped Teik's point-blank blast in the 54th minute, then had to watch Shomaker go over from 18 yards and Teik rattled the bar after Ashley Rocco set her up.
"We threw more numbers forward in the final ten-plus minutes to make a push to find the equalizer, but Barrington defends very well as a team, and we were unable to get anything dangerous on frame," said Froats.
"We were coming off a less than sparkling week of soccer but today, the girls showed a lot of character and heart with a hard fought 80 minutes of soccer, which is good news going forward."
Prospect will play both Wheeling and Hoffman Estates this week, while the Fillies open group play of the Naperville Invite at home on Wednesday with Class 2A power Burlington Central.
"There were a lot of positives to take out of this game, but I would have liked us to finish the chances we created but we all know there's still a lot of work ahead of us, but this team is not afraid of working hard to get better," said Stengren.