Girls soccer: Barrington MSL champs again

Barrington's reign as Mid-Suburban League girls soccer champions continued Wednesday night at Roland Goins Stadium in Arlington Heights.

That's where the Fillies (16-1-1) proved to be unbeatable once again with a 1-0 defeat of host Hersey to capture their eighth consecutive league title at the 30th annual MSL Soccer Bowl.

Ellie McAuley scored the dramatic game-winner in the 57th minute, then the Fillies' defense went to work to ensure its goal-less streak during this hard-fought championship match.

"I told the girls leading up to this game that it would not be anything close to the 6-0 win we had against Hersey a couple of weeks ago," began Barrington coach Ryan Strengen after his club claimed its 12th league crown in program history.

"Hersey is too good of a team for us to expect a result anything close to the first one so they made us work hard for this win, but I am very proud of all of our players, and the effort they gave tonight to help us continue our streak."

The Fillies had their chances in the early stages to put some immediate pressure on the Huskies (10-7-1) when Tina Teik went wide, and Ashley Armando forced a save from keeper Emma Hager.

The movement, quick switches, and constant possession by the visitors helped keep the home side under pressure during the first quarter until the Huskies slowly came into the game.

"We didn't flat out just sit in tonight, but we did commit our midfield to more defending than attacking with us always looking to counter to our two forwards for a quick strike," admitted Hersey coach Mike Rusniak.

When the Fillies all-state left back Madi Rosen came off with an upper leg injury, the attack of the MSL West champs would change as well, with her counterpart on the right side Christine Batliner doing a wonderful job of joining the attack.

"We obviously missed not having Madi in there very much tonight, but it just meant everyone else had to pick their game that much more," said Batliner, who has been a part of four straight MSL titles.

Hersey would create a couple of half chances in the first period, the best of those coming just minutes before the intermission after McKenna Kopeny and Chloe Sena provided the helper for an attempt on frame by Avery Larson.

"We were very good defensively tonight and created good chances, especially after they scored but even with this loss we showed we can play with one of the best and that's what I am most proud of - the ability to compete with a team like Barrington," said Sena, the Huskies' terrific forward.

The lone goal of the night would come off a lovely build up, which began deep in the Fillies' end by Juliana Moreno, whose enterprising run up the center channel would pry open a stingy Huskies' defense.

After the visitors recycled the ball from side-to-side, Teik would unload a wicked blast in which Hager initially stopped, unfortunately allowing the rebound to spill free.

McAuley would cooly finish her one-timer at the back post after being allowed to go unmarked to the ball after Hager's strong save.

Laura Burkhardt and Sena would each have a go at Leah Eisenbarth with free kicks, before Burkhardt would drive her attempt off the bar in the last quality effort of the night for the Huskies in the 70th minute.

Batliner, Moreno, Kate McGreevy, and Alexis Armando, in for her teammate Rosen, would then go about closing down the advances of the Huskies to guarantee victory.

"We've had our share of injuries, and we have so many new players on the varsity this season, but this win tonight shows the depth of talent we have, and the ability for every player to make a contribution when we need it the most," said Teik.

  Barrington's Ellie McAuley scores a goal past the outstretched arms of Hersey goalkeeper Emma Hager during the MSL Soccer Bowl in Arlington Heights Wednesday. Joe Lewnard/
  Barrington's Jen Devona, right falls to the turf after making contact with Hersey's Laura Burckhardt during the MSL Soccer Bowl in Arlington Heights Wednesday. Joe Lewnard/
  Hersey's Chloe Sena controls the ball during the MSL Soccer Bowl against Barrington Wednesday. Joe Lewnard/
  Barrington's Ellie McAuley gets between Hersey defender Emily Song and goalkeeper Emma Hager as the ball gets directed away from the net during the MSL Soccer Bowl in Arlington Heights Wednesday. Joe Lewnard/
  Hersey's Olivia Mrowicki, left, and Barrington's Ashley Rocco make contact as they pursue the ball during the MSL Soccer Bowl in Arlington Heights Wednesday. Joe Lewnard/
  Barrington's Tina Teik controls the ball during the MSL Soccer Bowl against Hersey Wednesday. Joe Lewnard/
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