Friday night lights at Burgess Field
Geneva and St. Charles East will meet in a rare time slot for a high school soccer match – a Friday night.
The Saints are due to visit Burgess Field in Geneva at 6:30 p.m. Friday. East coach Paul Jennison said the rivals tried to pick a marquee time for the match and are hoping for a strong turnout.
The match will determine whether East (4-0-1 Upstate Eight Conference River) ties St. Charles North (5-0-1 UEC River) for the conference championship. The North Stars are already through with their conference schedule.
East and North tied, 1-1, on April 22. The Saints fell to the Vikings, 1-0, earlier in the season but that was at the Rose Augsburg-Drach Invitational, not a conference matchup.
While playing on a Friday night lends the matchup some extra pizzazz, Jennison said his goal is for the four Tri-Cities girls teams to move toward playing a doubleheader together, as has been the case on the boys side.
Jennison hopes that can become a reality in the next year or two.
Postseason pairings released
The IHSA unveiled postseason pairings Friday, with Batavia and St. Charles North both ticketed for the IHSA Class 3A Addison Trail Regional.
The North Stars are the top seed in the 18-team Conant Sectional while Batavia is seeded eighth. North ripped Batavia, 4-0, when the teams met in UEC River play in early April.
Elsewhere among the Tri-Cities teams, third-seeded Geneva faces Elk Grove Village in a Geneva Regional semifinal on May 20 while fourth-seeded St. Charles East faces a regional semifinal against 13th seeded West Chicago, also to be played May 20, in a regional hosted by the Wildcats.
In Class 2A, top-seeded Kaneland and second-seeded Rosary are again on a collision course, with both teams slotted in a regional to be contested on the Royals’ home field. Kaneland opens with Rochelle in a regional semifinal May 20, while Rosary will match up with Illinois Math and Science Academy on May 21.
Until we meet again?
Geneva and St. Charles North have plenty of regular season and postseason history in recent years, with most of those matches being tightly contested.
That wasn’t the last last week when North handled Geneva decisively, 4-1, but Vikings coach Megan Owens still thinks the game could prove beneficial.
“It’s good to play North in the regular season,” Owens said after the game. “We learn a lot from playing them. I think it can only help us improve in the long-run.
“It’s a little tough to swallow tonight but hopefully we can learn from it. You’ve got to learn from your mistakes. Nobody’s perfect. As long as we learn from it, we’re fine, but that’s they key – making sure we learn from it.”
North and Geneva wouldn’t meet in the postseason until a potential sectional championship match at Conant. North could face St. Charles East in a sectional semifinal.
– Jay Schwab, email@example.com
IN THE GROOVE
Michaela Loebel, Geneva, Sr., F
What she did: Loebel, a Nebraska recruit, scored three goals in Tuesday’s Vikings victory against Upstate Eight Conference River foe Elgin.
Holly Collingbourne, Kaneland, Fr., M/F
What she did: Collingbourne also notched a Tuesday night hat trick as the freshman accounted for more than half of Kaneland’s goal-scoring in a 5-0, Northern Illinois Big 12 East win against Rochelle.
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LAST WEEK
St. Charles North and Batavia still like it out in Iowa.
Batavia won a title in its bracket at the Tournament of Champions, while North beat a pair of out-of-state foes to advance to the championship game before losing to an elite foe from Missouri, 2-1. It was North’s sixth straight berth in the tournament final.
WHAT WE’LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD
Which teams can get hot leading into the postseason.
The waning stages of the regular season are at hand for area teams, with Aurora Central Catholic nearest to the finish line; the Class 1A postseason begins next week.
COACH SLY SAYS
Three of the four top seeds in the Conant Sectional are from the Tri-Cities. What else is new?
Whether it’s on natural grass or turf, this area is fertile ground when it comes to soccer talent.
Boys, girls, last year, this year, next year … doesn’t matter. Some of the best soccer in the Chicago area is played right here, and for that, there’s a lot of credit to spread around. But let’s start with the kids themselves and all the work they put into honing their craft.
Proof’s in the pudding. And the seeds.