ADDISON – A regional championship has become about as routine for the St. Charles North girls soccer team as trees bearing leaves in the spring.
Friday night’s 2-0 win against Batavia at the IHSA 3A Addison Trail Regional final secured the North Stars’ 12th straight regional crown, setting up a sectional showdown with crosstown foe St. Charles East on Tuesday.
North (17-4-2) withstood a spirited push from Batavia (12-9-1) in the second half and mustered a late insurance goal to secure the win.
“It’s not the number but it’s getting excited about the tradition for the school,” North coach Ruth Vostal said. “I think we did a good job of carrying on the tradition that was once on the other side and I’m proud of the efforts that they had. We knew it was going to be a difficult fight, especially when we hit the Tri-Cities teams.”
North’s continuance of its regional dominance never was in serious doubt Friday, especially in the first half, as the Bulldogs failed to register a shot on goal.
Hanna Durocher tallied the first North Stars goal at 25:09 of the first half, creating a goal out of almost nothing. Durocher controlled a bounding ball with her chest and then muscled and maneuvered around two Batavia defenders before tucking a shot inside the right post that gave the North Stars a 1-0 lead.
North frustrated Batavia’s offense, playing physical on its own side of the field and making life easy on goalkeeper Shelby Stitz. Not much changed at the start of the second half as Sophie Pohl began to set the tone for North offensively, booming a pair of rockets at Batavia goalkeeper Jenny Scara. One Pohl shot went off the crossbar while the other was swallowed up by Scara by the right post.
Batavia’s first real scoring chance came at the 30:15 mark in the second half as sophomore Megan McEachern beat two North defenders on a through ball but was unable to lift the ball over a sliding Stitz.
While offense was still hard to come by for much of the second half, the Bulldogs' physical play limited North’s offensive chances. The defensive effort nearly paid off as the Bulldogs had a pair of late scoring chances that almost tied the game. The best came on a free kick where McEachern sent a blast from 15-yards out just over the bar.
“We matched their intensity and definitely the physical play. They are definiately a physical team and if you cower to that, they will dominate you,” Batavia coach Mark Gianfrancesco said. “I thought we did a pretty good job of matching that. We connected together some passes for the most part, at least a couple of chances could have been better to put some pressure on the keeper.”
North dealt with the late pressure well and added an insurance goal to ensure the regional streak would continue. Pohl took a ball 20 yards from the goal, headed it to herself, maneuvered around a defender and poked it past Scara to make it 2-0.
The goal highlighted a solid night for Pohl, who had a number of good chances on net, looking plenty dangerous in the Batavia end of the field – especially in the second half.
“We had a lot of opportunities and it took a while to finish but we go there eventually,” Pohl said. “One-nothing is not safe so we just had to play a lot more defensive but at the same time trying to create offensive opportunities. As long as the chances are there and we keep creating them, that’s all that matters.”