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Barrington strikes early, advances to 3A state title game

Barrington delivered a master class performance Friday evening at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium in its Class 3A state semifinal contest with Evanston to beat the Wildkits 2-0 and advance into Saturday night’s state championship game at North Central College in Naperville.

Barrington (21-3-1) will play Metea Valley (20-2-1) who defeated Lincoln-Way Central (24-1-0) 2-0 in the second semifinal Friday.

The Fillies (23-2-0) stunned their opponents early when Kate Lubinsky redirected her header into the net just four minutes into this game. Nicole Gwiasda delivered a brilliant half-volley strike in the 50th minute to all but dash the hopes of Evanston which had hoped to reach the final for the first time since 2002.

“I thought the focus from two days ago in advance of this game was as sharp as it could be. Our effort for 80 minutes was outstanding. And (I) thought we brought Fillies soccer out here tonight,” said Fillies coach Ryan Stengren, whose club will now go after its third state title in program history.

“We’ve watched so much film, and we’ve trained so hard as a team to reach this game, and everyone came to play right from the start, and we never stopped until the final whistle,” said Fillies junior Ellie Sanchez, who along with her back line mates Kathleen Baker, Caitlin Paul and Grace Stagnito kept the Wildkits stars Jocelyn Leigh and Brealyn Viamille (44 goals combined) from getting anything of quality against Fillies keeper Abby Raynor.

“That first (early) goal really shook us up (and) after that, their pressure and inability to play our game is what did us in tonight,” said Wildkits coach Stacy Salgado.

The Fillies’ intentions were clear during the opening exchanges after the Lubinsky opener. Their high tempo approach designed to deny their opponents time and space while also pushing the Wildkits back toward their own goal slowed what has been a high-powered attack all season.

With the MSL champions dictating terms at every opportunity which led to several deep throws and 11 corners, it was only fitting they would double their lead on a Brooke Brown corner which ended with a clinical finish from Gwiasda from 12 yards.

“Our back line and midfield won so many balls and tackles tonight, and our energy was right where it had to be for a game like this. But as we always say, this game is behind us, and now our focus shifts to tomorrow night ,” said Brown.

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