Girls soccer: Barrington downs New Trier again, will go for 3-peat
The dream lives on for Barrington after the Fillies held on to advance to Saturday's Class 3A state girls soccer championship game at North Central College in Naperville.
The Fillies will have a chance to lift a third consecutive state championship trophy when they face Naperville North following a hard-fought 2-1 victory over New Trier in the second semifinal game at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium Friday night.
Alexis Armando's cool finish in the 76th minute dashed the hopes of the Trevians (21-3-5), who were looking to avenge back-to-back losses in penalty kicks to the Fillies, but were done in by coach Ryan Stengrens' hardworking club, which matched the intensity of its opponent and kept New Trier All-State forward Emma Weaver under tight control.
"Nobody has a player as talented and dangerous as (Weaver) but Kate (McGreevy) was big for us tonight and was the key to us advancing into the final," said Stengren.
"I wouldn't want anyone else up on Weaver," said Barrington's Madi Rosen. "I had the privilege of playing with Emma during the club season, and I can tell you she is so shifty and talented, but Kate was patient, and handled her well, plus never got overwhelmed, even during the most stressful times out there tonight."
Barrington would enjoy spells of dangerous play against a Trevians club which was nearly as stingy as the Fillies during the season, but with some spirited play from Ashley Rocco, Rebecca Shomaker, Ellie McAuley and Tina Teik, the Mid-Suburban League champions kept their highly regarded opponents on alert.
After a well-played, but goal-less first half, the Fillies (22-1-1) struck first when Rocco went past keeper Megan Dwyer when her teammates were unable to clear a corner out of the area.
Barrington protected its 1-0 advantage without too much trouble, again with its vaunted back line of McGreevy, Rosen, Christine Batliner and Juliana Moreno leading the way.
Teik went wide after the Rocco goal, then a marvelous ball from Rosen from the end line nearly broke open the Trevians in their own box, if not for Heidi Bianucci's timely clearing effort.
One of the few mistakes on the evening by the Fillies led to Weaver's 31st goal of the season when the junior collected a short ball out just outside the box.
From there, the Villanova recruit broke free before bringing her club back even with a sublime 30-yard finish.
When it appeared 80 minutes might not settle this pulsating contest, the Fillies remained poised and composed before Armando stepped up.
The buildup to the eventual game-winner came from a well placed one-time early ball from Rosen from near the midline, which set McAuley free up the left side.
The speedy junior raced to the end line and whipped a brilliant ball through the box where Armando, who never stopped running to the back post, drove into the back of the net.
The junior would be helped off two minutes from time with an apparent ACL injury, according to Stengren.
"We have so much respect for New Trier and the history we have with them, but we both came into the game with one goal and it was a tough fight. We stuck together and did everything together and ultimately were able to capitalize," said Rosen.
"Once again, I cannot tell you how proud I am of the girls tonight. Everyone made a contribution, we executed our game plan about as well as we could against a great opponent," added Stengren.