ADDISON – St. Charles North girls soccer fans brimmed with anxiety Tuesday nearly as much as the players.
As each potential scoring chance pierced through the air and toward the goal, a North Stars backer or two would occasionally mutter, “Two-zip…” as if to finally will an insurance goal into the net.
The North Stars craved a second goal after earning their first midway through the first half of a 3A Addison Trail Regional semifinal, but Lake Park’s back line hardly budged against the top seed.
North called its 2-0 victory equal parts gratifying and grueling even after Sophie Pohl at last obliged with the second goal with 10:28 to play.
“It was working as well as we needed it to, I think,” said Pohl, a senior forward. “Obviously, there’s things to clean up before we move to the next game, but overall, it was OK.”
Pursuing the program’s 12th successive regional title, North (16-4-2) will face either Batavia or Fremd for the championship at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Lightning at first delayed the Batavia-Fremd match before it eventually was postponed until 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The teams are scoreless with 16:09 remaining in the first half.
“I thought we had some chances, came close,” Bulldogs coach Mark Gianfrancesco said. “Just got to get in behind those guys, and once you do that, good things happen. But, you know, you’ve got to own the midfield a little bit more. They’re a physical team, they win balls in the air. But I thought we created some chances, so that was good.”
Lake Park (5-13-4) created chances only sparsely against North.
The Lancers’ final opportunity came on a corner kick with 14:30 to play, with sophomore midfielder Emily Adelman heading the ball over the crossbar.
“I think we all just gave 100 percent. Everyone was completely into it,” Adelman said. “We were coming out as the underdogs in this game, and I think we caught them off-guard a little, too.”
North Stars coach Ruth Vostal didn’t quite go that far, although she didn’t hesitate to give credit.
“Lake Park, I thought, did a great job,” Vostal said. “And that’s what’s cool about the postseason, is everyone shows up and does their best.”
A perennial postseason contender – five sectional titles and three supersectional wins augment the regional streak – North watched a good portion of starters and contributors get their first substantial postseason action.
“We’ve just rebuilt,” defender Darcy Stoecklin said. “We just find new players, and our bench is so deep that if we need to … recycle people, we can.”
That fluidity aside, a romp never really surfaced even as North pushed the tempo. Defenders including Jenny Barr, Megan O’Leary and Stoecklin often got the ball to the midfielders, who in turn deftly moved into the attacking third.
That’s how North struck first, with Pohl taking a feed on the right side and finding midfielder Danielle Noverini, who passed the ball to a waiting Morgan Rerko on the far post. Lizzie Parrilli was there, too, but Rerko was credited with the finishing touch.
Following the advice of Vostal, North kept attacking after that. The persistence paid off when Pohl gathered in a Rerko throw-in near the left corner, touched inside to her right and blasted away for a close-range goal late in the second half.
“The nervous energy kind of drives us more to finish the game and finish the full 80 minutes,” Stoecklin said.
North goalkeeper Shelby Stitz earned the shutout.