Girls soccer: Barrington headed to MSL Soccer Bowl after defeating Buffalo Grove
It wasn't easy, but Barrington is going back to the MSL Soccer Bowl next week for the eighth consecutive time.
The Fillies (15-1-1, 10-1-0) stunned Buffalo Grove with an equalizer just moments from the intermission, then rode Ellie McAuley's 46th minute goal the rest of the way to earn a 3-2 girls soccer victory Friday night at Grant Blaney Stadium.
With the victory, Barrington advances into the 30th MSL Soccer Bowl, where it will play Hersey (11-5-3, 6-3-2), which claimed the top spot in the MSL East after its 0-0 draw with Prospect in nearby Arlington Heights.
"Obviously we're happy to be back in the Soccer Bowl, but I am disappointed with the way we responded (mentally) after scoring that early goal and not putting our chances away, allowing Buffalo Grove, which played with so much heart and energy, to keep us under pressure," said Fillies coach Ryan Stengren.
Christine Batliner got the visitors off to a flying start when she converted her spot-kick in the 4th minute after a handball in the box, but the Bison (5-6-4, 5-4-2) roared back to take the lead when Pam Bolis and Macy Floro found the back of the net.
"Things didn't look good early for us, but our effort was maybe our best of the season, and that's what gave us a chance tonight," said BG coach Pat Dudle.
The Bison knew they had to win in order to stay in the division race, hoping 3 points might be enough should Prospect defeat Hersey.
Barrington, which was near flawless defensively in its 100-minute victory over Conant on Wednesday, was done in by a pair of uncharacteristic mishaps in its own end and both Bolis and Floro would make them pay to give the home side a 2-1 advantage just before the half-hour, with Quinlan Libit providing helpers on both goals.
"All of us knew how important this game was for both of us, and that Buffalo Grove would really come after us, but I don't know if it was our game with Conant, or our recent crazy-busy schedule, but we were not as sharp as we could have been tonight," admitted McAuley.
The Bison were undone by a magnificent cross from Madi Rosen, which found Ashley Armando to level the game in the 40th minute.
"That late goal was a tough one to give up, and kind of took the air out of us," said Dudle.
McAuley would run freely to the back post to head an inch-perfect cross from Batliner to put the Fillies in the lead.
"Batty gave me a perfect ball, I just had to make sure that I got to the back post with my run," said the junior, McAuley.
Despite now chasing the lead, the Bison were far from rolling over though, as the work from players such as Bolis, Floro, Tess Vasilakos, and their terrific center back, Bridget Reynolds, among others, kept the Fillies from finding a way to close out the home side for good.
BG keeper, Zugey Olvera was strong when called upon between the sticks for the Bison, taking several quality balls sent into the box out of the air to stymie the Fillies' attack, while also saving efforts from Batliner, Rosen, and Rebecca Shomaker thrown on frame.
"I could not be more proud of the effort from all of our players who went out and gave 80 minutes for the team, themselves, and a great group of seniors on their Senior Night but it just wasn't enough," said Dudle. "We showed we can play with the best, so we'll look to carry this effort forward, and into regionals."
"We had all of the play in the first 15-18 minutes, but hats off to Pat's team, who outworked us for long stretches, and made things real tough out there," said Stengren. "We'll need to get mentally strong and ready for Hersey next week in order to compete."