Girls soccer: Jacobs falls in regional final

After a back-and-forth scoreless game for 50 minutes, McHenry's Emerson Gasmann was able to slip a shot into the back of the net from just inside the penalty box.

Gasmann's second-half goal put the Warriors ahead in an eventual 1-0 win against Jacobs on Friday in a Class 3A Grant regional final, giving McHenry its first regional championship since 2014.

"I don't even know if I remember what happened," Gasmann said about the goal. "I felt a lot of pressure to score."

The Warriors (10-6-2) faced the Eagles (11-7-2) for the second time this season, with Jacobs winning 1-0 during their Fox Valley Conference matchup. That previous loss added just a little more motivation for Gasmann and her teammates.

"We knew we had it during the season, but we lost unfortunately," Gasmann said. "The only thing we had to do was work together."

Both teams had two shots on goal in the first half and got two saves from their goalies. Makenna Harvey finished with four saves for the Warriors.

McHenry head coach Andrew Stegenga gave a halftime pep talk to motivate his players.

"It was going to come, they just had to play together," Stegenga said. "We got together at halftime, came back out, played like we did the first 20, and it was a great second half."

Sarah Duginske, a center defender for the Warriors, spoke on how the strategy changed from the last time they faced Jacobs.

"We didn't play a high line like we did last time," Duginske said. "Last time we played them, we had like 15 shots but couldn't score. We shouldn't have lost."

This game, the Warriors added another three shots on goal and two more saves in the second half.

Stegenga mentioned how tight the competition between the FVC rivals has been.

"We knew how they played, and we knew it was going to be a low-scoring game," Stegenga said. "We knew it was going to be close. Jacobs is a great team."

McHenry and Jacobs had not faced each other in the postseason since 2000. Eagles head coach Colin Brice mentioned how tough it can be to play an opponent twice in one season.

"It's always tough to play a conference team in the postseason because you know they're going to bring their best game," Brice said. "McHenry is very good and we had a good battle."

Brice also spoke highly of the team chemistry he noticed throughout the year.

"This is probably one of the best group of girls that I've coached as far as team chemistry goes," Brice said. "They all get along, the trainings and games have been great, and it's going to be tough to lose this senior class."

The Warriors advance to play Barrington on Tuesday in a sectional semifinal.

"Barrington's tough, so we're just going to have to hopefully keep that game close and see what happens," Stegenga said.

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