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Game report: Barrington Supersectional, St. Charles North vs. BarringtonĀ 

By Mike Garofola, 05/31/23, 5:30PM CDT


BARRINGTON -- Barrington Community Stadium has become Death Valley for high school teams from St. Charles. East and North high schools have ventured the approximately 23-mile drive for the past decade only to leave without a supersectional victory against host Barrington.

Tuesday night was no different. The Fillies (22-0-2) survived a trio of long-range thunderbolts from Laney Stark, Bella Najera and Juliana Park to earn a 5-3 victory and the program’s sixth-straight trip to the Class 3A Final Four and seventh in the past eight seasons.

Next up for the Fillies will be Libertyville, which beat host New Trier 5-3 in a shootout after 100-minutes of scoreless soccer Tuesday. The state semifinal is scheduled to kick off at 5 p.m. Friday at North Central College in Naperville.

"St. Charles North is such a great team," began Fillies manager Ryan Stengren. “We've seen them twice before, so we knew to beat a team as talented as they are for a third time would not be easy.”

Barrington prevailed 2-1 over the North Stars on March 16 in the second game of the season for both teams, and 1-0 in the championship match of the Naperville Invitational on April 29.

"(They) are a team that plays so hard and never gives in,” added Stengren. “Even when we had a 3-1 advantage midway in the second half, (we) knew they would continue to come at us right until the very end."

The North Stars (17-4-2) enjoyed the start they were looking for when Stark bagged her 17th of the season from distance at five minutes. But the advantage was short-lived. Barrington junior Kaitlin Taylor equalized two minutes later.

"We had a great start, but they responded so quickly on us," said St. Charles North manager Brian Harks. “But with this team, I never worry about them hanging their heads, because they are so resilient.”

Sarah Sarnowski bagged her first of a three-goal night at the back post after Brooke Brown smashed a low blast off Stars keeper Kara Claussner. It bounded to Sarnowski, whose side-footed effort made it 2-1 in the 17th minute. Barrington carried a 2-1 lead for the next 37 minutes.

A rather tepid start to the second half begged for something to happen from either side. Piper Lucier broke the tedium with a marvelous left-footer from 16 yards after Brown’s lovely helper in the 64th minute.

"We knew there was no way this game was over because (St. Charles) plays with so much energy and heart," said Brown. “And that's what happened when they scored their second of the game.”

Then Najera, just as Stark did and later Park would, unloaded an unstoppable cracker to pull the Stars within one goal at 3-2 on her 20th tally of the year.

Sarnowski rebuilt the two-goal advantage and then extended to three with two goals within one minute to give her 24 on the season. Her finale was a brilliant left-footed effort from just outside the box.

St. Charles North did not disappear and made it interesting three minutes later. Junior Park parked her shot high into the corner at 76 minutes.

"Barrington is a very good team, and we know we have an equally great team," said Harks. “Tonight, we fell a little short of the result we came here for. But it does not define what a great year we had and what a great group of players we had. I was happy and proud to be around them this year.”

St. Charles North has not beaten Barrington in the state tournament since a 1-0 win in 2012 that preceded a second place finish. The Stars dropped back-to-back 2-0 games to the Fillies in Barrington in 2018 and 2019, and a 3-1 game in 2013.

Barrington was the runnerup to Metea Valley a year ago and finished and fourth in 2021 to its Friday afternoon opponent Libertyville, who enters the final weekend of the season at 18-2-2.

The Fillies seek their first state title since back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018.