Girls soccer: Fremd stuns Barrington

Claire Stewart scored a stunning winner as Fremd dented Barrington's Mid-Suburban League girls soccer title defense with a narrow 2-1 victory Wednesday night at Barrington Community Stadium.

Stewart's curling effort in the 74th minute broke a 1-1 intense contest between two powerhouse soccer clubs in the MSL West and with its first loss of the season, Barrington dropped one point behind Conant (25-24) in the race for the top spot after the Cougars rolled past Hoffman Estates 6-0.

"Fremd was just a little better than us tonight. They deserved the result," said Barrington coach Ryan Stengren, whose Fillies (11-1-1, 8-1-0) are back at it again Thursday night when they host Loyola Academy in a Naperville Invite quarterfinal.

"We had to weather the storm in the first 20 minutes when Barrington really came at us, and nearly put one or two in, but after we scored the first goal we settled in and got them to play more of our style, instead of the way they like to play," said Emma Spotak, one of the heroes in the Vikings' victory.

The senior was a nonstop, all-action warrior who ran hard all night at the Fillies' back line, touchline-to-touchline, creating trouble all throughout her 80 minutes of work.

"Number 3 (Spotak) put a lot of pressure on our backs, scored a great goal, and was one of the reasons they won the game," admitted Stengren.

There was rarely a dull moment in this gripping match, beginning with two glorious chances in the first six minutes when Tina Teik and Rebecca Shomaker each had their close range attempts blocked on the way in.

The Broncos kept the Vikings (8-3-2, 5-1-2) under after the early assault, creating several corners and a handful of deep throws, yet were unable to get anything of quality past Fremd keeper Jennifer Norris.

"We weathered the storm, and when we did, we began to win more balls, control the middle," said Fremd coach Steve Keller.

Spotak would finish just inside the box with a sublime one-timer after Christy Murauskis sent her through to give the visitors a 1-0 advantage at the break.

Barrington would start the second half just as brightly as it did at the opening whistle when Teik steered in the equalizer in the 42nd minute.

On the play, the Vikings would lose their star center back, Lauren Burk, to an injury, forcing the junior to stay on the bench for the rest of the evening.

Keller would move Murauskis back into Burk's spot in his back line, and along with sisters Liz and Allie Prigge, as well as Palak Khera, kept the Fillies out of the back of the net.

"Murauskis had a great game all night," said Stengren.

Ellie McAuley and Jen Devona went close during a fierce final 20 minutes of play, while Christine Batliner served one quality cross after another in the Vikings' box but it would be Stewart who would provide the cutting edge.

"The shot was there for me, and I just tried to put something on goal," said Stewart, who found the open left corner from just outside the edge.

Barrington will host Conant next Wednesday then finish up its league schedule against Buffalo Grove while Fremd, third in the division with 18 points, has Wheeling, Schaumburg and Rolling Meadows left on its schedule.

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