By Bobby Narang
BARRINGTON – Brooke Brown got a third chance to redeem herself late Thursday night.
The Barrington senior midfielder, though, would’ve preferred not to have needed extra opportunities.
In the quarterfinal round on the second weekend of the Naperville Invitational, Brown used all her energy reserves late in a tie game against Loyola.
The Fillies, ranked third Chicagoland Soccer Top 25, fought to lock in a vital home victory to advance. Brown had a series of misfires on late shots, despite her best efforts.
With 20 minutes remaining in regulation, Brown set herself up for a potential go-ahead goal, but blasted a shot over the post. Then, with 1:21 left in the game, Brown had her best chance lined up to win it.
Wide open near the right post, her shot hit the standard and bounced in front of the goal line. That allowed Loyola keeper Ellie Bradley the opportunity to pounce on the loose ball and send the game to a shootout.
“It was a great ball by Skye (Lundy). She had an amazing pass, especially for a freshman. She was able to handle a stressful game and played her role,” Brown said. “It obviously stinks hitting the post at the end of the game. We had a lot of chances. Loyola was great competition and gave us a run for our money. This competition is good for our team.”
Brown found redemption knocking in the third-round shootout attempt that gave the Filles the lead for good in a 4-2 advantage against the pesky Ramblers. Regulation ended tied at 1-1.
The Fillies (11-0-2) advance to play Naperville North in the 5 p.m. semifinal Thursday at Naperville Central. The game is a rematch of the 2022 final that Naperville North won 1-0 in double overtime. The Huskies defeated New Trier 2-1 Thursday in the quarterfinals to advance.
Barrington goalie Megan Holland starred in the shootout. She saved the first two attempts via dives: the first one to her right; the second to her left.
“I wished we would’ve finished our chances, because we hit two posts,” Barrington coach Ryan Stengren said. “We’re beat up right now, but this is what the playoffs are going to be like. Loyola is a good team, better than what their record is right now. I’m very proud of our girls. We had to use our depth today.
“It was a clean physical game, two teams playing really, really hard. I was impressed with how they played. We have to clean some things up.
“Our goalie played really, really well. She probably wished she could’ve had the goal they scored back, but she redeemed herself really well. We just have to be better finishing. We get to move on and play another quality opponent.
“Sarah Sarnowski and Piper Lucier and Brooke came to play today. Brooke Brown needed a game like this. I thought everyone worked really hard today.”
The Fillies’ lone regulation goal occurred with just over 20 minutes left in the first half. Roos VanRoekel scored on a header off a corner kick for a 1-0 lead.
Loyola coach Shannon Hartinger said her girls displayed heart by battling Barrington down to the wire and holding its high-powered offense without a goal for the final 60 minutes of regulation.
“It’s always a battle between us and Barrington,” said Hartinger, whose team lost a 2022 Naperville Invitational group title to the Fillies, also via a shootout. “I feel we play them every year in this event. We know it will be a battle. We like playing here. I think the wide field suits us. I’m proud of the girls. We continue to get better over the last couple of weeks and things are starting to come together.
“We’re having good performances and results, but just came out on the short end on the PKs. I’m happy with the result during the game. The girls want to keep pushing themselves against good competition. We knew Barrington has a high-powered offense with some very talented players. Ellie Bradley stepped up. This field seems to bring out the best in her. The entire team defense battled and fought for the ball.”
Loyola sophomore midfielder Claire Brady scored Loyola’s lone goal. After a corner kick, she lightly tapped in a shot few feet from the goal line amidst a large crowd of players. The tally with 17:20 left in the first half knotted the game.
“I got a really good ball. It was around the box, and I just to put a body in there and put the ball in,” Brady said. “This was a great opportunity for us, an opportunity to play the runnerup team in the state. We proved to ourselves what we can do. Everyone was aggressive and wanted to win. It was a big challenge, but everyone stepped up to it.”
Barrington keeper Holland, the Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match, collected five stops before saving her best work for the shootout, stopping the first two Loyola tries. Barrington’s Annie Tarpey made sure Holland wouldn’t need to head back to the goal line for a fifth time. She drilled home her shot at the top of the final frame for the Fillies’ decisive fourth tally.
“My teammates did a great job scoring the PKs,” Holland said. “I just trusted myself, and we got the results. It felt really good to celebrate this win. I just tried to follow my gut on the PKs and knew my strikers would have my back on the other shots. I was feeling good after getting the first one.”
Sarnowski opened the PK session with a shot into the upper right corner. Lucier and Brown followed with makes on the next two attempts. Sarnowski said it was a relief to pull out the victory.
“Loyola put up a great fight, and we love competing against better teams,” she said. “Our team did a great job working together, cheering and supporting each other. We need to keep growing. Right now, we’re focused on the next game and take it step by step.”
Brown said the Fillies are enjoying the regular-season journey before more fun starts in the playoffs.
“We want to maximize our season as much as we can," Brown said. "We're going hard to win games.”
Loyola’s Bradley, who had eight saves in regulation, held off a late Barrington attack to rein in the Fillies. It was just the third time this season Barrington has been held to one goal or less.
“It was a team effort, and our team defense starts at the top and works its way to the back,” Bradley said. “I made the saves, but it starts with the rest of the team defending. I think this game shows us we can play with anybody in the state, and we know we can perform at a high level.”
Bradley credited the Fillies for coming up big in the shootout.
“(Barrington’s) goalie made some fantastic saves and stepped up when she needed to, and they placed their balls good,” she said.
Loyola senior midfielder Emma Shaffer said her team can grow from the tough loss. Shaffer admitted she was exhausted following the game.
“It was a very intense game, and we all worked very hard for 80 minutes,” she said. “It was hard for us to finish, but our defense was really strong. We all worked together to get a goal back when they scored on us.”
GK: Ellie Bradley
D: Mia Wisler
D: Ellianna Seeley
D: Emily Pikarski
D: Sadie Merriott
MF: Emma Shaffer
MF: Grace Lynch
MF: Claire Brady
F: Emmy Christopher
F: Tess O’Bryan
F: Ella Couri
GK: Megan Holland
D: Roos VanRoekel
D: Meredith McGreevy
D: Annie Tarpey
D: Ellie Sanchez
MF: Sarah Sarnowski
MF: Madeline Lewis
MF: Brooke Brown
MF: Maddy Ziebarth
F: Kate Lubinsky
F: Piper Lucier
Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Megan Holland, so., GK, Barrington
Barrington: VanRoekel (Brown), 19’
Loyola: Brady (Pikarski), 23’
1: Sarah Sarnowski – good
2: Piper Lucier – good
3. Brooke Brown – good
4. Ellie Sanchez – saved
5. Annie Tarpey – good
1. Emily Pikarski – saved
2. Tess O’Brien – saved
3. Emily Plovanich – good
4. Emmy Christopher – good
5. No attempt