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FEATURE ARTICLE

 

Sectionals 2011

GIRLS Semifinal Previews

By Aaron Brown

 

A total of 32 teams remain in the sectional playoffs heading into Friday afternoon's semifinal competition. By the end of the night, we'll be down to the last sixteen teams, who will be just one win away from a state tournament berth. Here is a brief preview of the 16 semifinal games, which get started at 4:30pm and 5:45pm on Friday:

 


 

Barrington Sectional

4:30pm Fremd vs Hersey

Top-seeded Fremd should feel confident as they head into the semifinal round on Friday. After all, they finished with a perfect record against MSL teams in 2011, and those just happen to be the where the last three teams remaining in the sectional hail from. That's because Barrington upset St Viator on Wednesday, as the Lions were the only non-MSL team playing in the event as the third seed.

 

The Vikings should avoid looking ahead, however, as Hersey earned an impressive 13-10 win over Conant in the previous round and it's been more than nine weeks since Fremd's 11-4 win over the Huskies at the Loyola Tournament.

 

Hersey will look to Christine Rovani to handle the bulk of their scoring, as the Huskies' senior scored 7 times in the win over Conant on Wednesday. Fremd's Emily Orlowski will be called upon to stop Rovani, which should be the key matchup in the contest, which begins at 4:30pm on Friday.

 

For Hersey to stay with the Vikings, they will have to put in a ton of work on the defensive end. That's because Fremd is the perfect example of a well-balanced attack, spearheaded by the likes of Emily McCarthy, Lauren Zambelli, Megan Kennedy, Sam del Prado, and Sam Matuszewski.

 

5:45pm Schaumburg vs Barrington

The second semifinal should be as one of the most interesting games of the night, as Cinderella will be played by in this year's tournament by Barrington, as they look for their second straight upset after stunning third-seed St Viator in OT on Wednesday.

 

Don't sleep on the Fillies, however. They are an improved group that are playing at home, plus they already showed they have the mental fortitude to win close games after beating the Lions in extra time. Laura Danhauer led the team with 3 scores in the win over Viator, while head coach Mark Markwell will likely look to game-winning goalscorer Chloe Padula and goalie Brooke Fanslow to get Barrington to the next round.

 

On the other side, Schaumburg escaped the opening round with an 8-7 victory over rival Hoffman Estates. Now that the first-game jitters are likely gone, the second-seeded Saxons bring forward an offensive attack that includes solid contributors like Ashley Johnson, Corinne Trujillo, Kristy Bessler, and Samantha Schuckles. They will all need to be on their game to avoid an upset in a hostile environment at Barrington's home pool.

 


 

Fenwick Sectional

4:30pm Fenwick vs York

The Friars had to wait an extra 48 hours to begin postseason play after earning a forfeit win over Foreman on Wednesday. That means they'll start things out against York, who knocked off Curie 11-3 on Wednesday.

 

The Dukes are an improved squad, but they'll have their work cut out for them against a Fenwick team that is likely chomping at the bit to get back to the sectional finals and get the memory of last weekend's conference tournament loss to Loyola out of their minds.

 

York's best chance will be to try to limit the Friars early chances and try to get Carly and Jamie Redmond off to good start on the offensive end. Meanwhile, Fenwick has several players that fill out a balanced lineup, so players like Annie Collins, Colleen Barron, Gena Wendt, and Mimi Romano could make it a difficult afternoon for the Dukes.

 

5:45pm Oak Park vs Resurrection

Both Oak Park and Resurrection put in strong performances on Wednesday night, so it's anyone's guess as to which side the momentum will be on when things get started on Friday.

 

The Huskies disposed of Lindblom 17-1, while the Bandits beat Maria 15-0. If both defenses can continue to play that solid, this one could be a low-scoring affair that comes down to the wire.

 


 

GBN Sectional

4:30pm Loyola vs Prospect

Loyola has been on a roll as of late, beating Fenwick in last week's Catholic League Tournament and then had no problem getting past Maine East on Wednesday. It will take a herculean effort for Prospect to knock out the top seed in the sectional, but alas, that's why the games are played.

 

The Knights do have good reason to believe they could pull off the upset. Meg Dix is an ultra-talented player who has the ability to put together a huge offensive performance, plus she is aided by solid players like Jessica Cavaiani, Kallie Shields, and Tori Shields.

 

On the flip side, the Ramblers will look to the potent scoring duo Brittany Wallace and Evan Swenson to try and return to the final game of the GBN Sectional as they did in 2010. Loyola has a plethora of other weapons surrounding their two top scorers, so there could be plenty of fireworks when the first game of the day begins in Northbrook.

 

5:45pm Evanston vs New Trier

New Trier beat Evanston 8-4 way back on March 12. Evanston returned the favor on April 12 by beating the Trevians 8-5. You know what? Throw both those games out, because when the two rivals meet in a sectional semifinal game on Friday the 13th, trust me when I say that anything could happen!

 

Last year, New Trier beat Evanston in this spot 9-4 en route to a state tournament appearance. But like I said earlier, it probably doesn't matter. What does matter is that whoever plays the best defensive game is probably going to advance to the sectional finals on Saturday afternoon.

 


 

LWN Sectional

4:30pm H-F vs Andrew

One could not be faulted for looking back to April 7 and seeing that H-F beat Andrew 13-1 and thinking that the first semifinal at LWN on Friday won't be close. But this is the playoffs, and the T-Bolts have put together a 21-win season that also saw them win the SWSC Red division by five games, so I would expect they will be prepared to put up a fight against the Vikings.

 

At the same time, we are talking about an H-F team that rolled through the SWSC with a perfect 13-0 record and have won 27 games in 2011. The Vikings are also an experienced squad that has been in this position before, so I wouldn't expect the likes of Hannah Ongman, Michelle Mayer, Rebecca Mathews, Sophie Schloen, and company to overlook Andrew in this game.

 

5:45pm Bremen vs Lincoln-Way East

Bremen held off a feisty Lincoln-Way North team 12-10 to get to the semifinals, while LWE put to bed any thoughts of an LWC upset by earning a 15-7 win over their rivals on Wednesday.

 

This is the exact type of game that seems up-for-grabs, so I wouldn't be surprised if the teams play things close to the vest and the outcome is decided by a late goal in the closing stages of the contest. One things is for sure; whoever emerges from this game on top will present a very difficult matchup for the winner of the first semifinal.

 


 

Lyons Sectional

4:30pm Lyons vs Richards

The defending champions are starting to build some solid momentum after winning the WSC Tournament last weekend and cruising to a 19-6 win over R-B in the quarterfinals. As the top seed, however, they know they have a target on their backs, so they need to be aware of the danger that Lisa Gorski and a solid Richards' squad presents on Friday afternoon.

 

5:45pm Sandburg vs Mother McAuley

If there is a matchup that is worth seeing tomorrow night on the girls' side, it just might very well be this contest between two-seed Sandburg and three-seed Mother McAuley. The two teams have a recent history of some thrilling games, including the Eagles' 8-7 win over the Mighty Macs on April 17. The winner of this contest will have a serious chance of getting to state if they have anything left in the tank for Saturday's final round.

 


 

Neuqua Valley Sectional

4:30pm Waubonsie Valley vs Naperville North

The Warriors and Huskies finished tied the first time they met, then Waubonsie beat North by a goal in their second meeting. The most important thing from those two results, however, is that they were both played in March, which seems like ages ago at this point of the season. We could probably just say that this contest could go either way, with players like Waubonsie's EB Keeve or Naperville North's Megan Nerud having the ability to lead their team to victory.

 

 

5:45pm Naperville Central vs Neuqua Valley

On the other hand, there are no confusing results from earlier in the season in regards to Naperville Central and the rest of the remaining field at the Neuqua Valley Sectional. To beat the Redhawks, it will take an upset, plain and simple, and the Wildcats are hoping they are the team to do it. They so have the advantage of playing in their home pool, though the Redhawks have had no problems winning sectional titles in the Wildcats' facility in the past. The Wildcats will likely need excellent outings from Tricia Bannister, Meghan Gradle and company if they are to win this, while they will have to stop the dangerous combo of Abbey Kerth and Emily Sejna and get enough shots past NC goalie Julia Campbell to have any kind of a chance.

 

The schedules are reversed for these two fixtures at the NV Sectional, by the way, due to a conflict with Prom for one of the schools.

 


 

UIC Sectional

4:30pm St Ignatius vs Latin

St Ignatius gets their postseason started on Friday night after they earned a forfeit win in the quarterfinal round. Will they have any rust from not playing in nearly a week, or will they come out firing on all cylinders like they did last weekend when they won the Catholic League with wins over McAuley and Loyola?

 

The Wolfpack will probably not take Latin lightly, as the Romans will try to get impact player Ashley Henderson involved on the offensive end in the early stages against the sectional's top seed. If Kate Stelnicki and the Wolfpack defense can limit the Romans' top scorer, they should have a great chance to get to the sectional finals. On the other hand, if Latin can play like they did on Wednesday in their 8-2 win over Young, they might have the ability to keep things close early and hope that Ignatius has some first-game jitters on Friday afternoon.

 

St Ignatius won the only meeting between the two teams by a 12-4 score on April 27.

 

5:45pm Lane vs Northside

The Indians and Mustangs meet for the second weekend in a row, as Lane won the CPS title with a 6-1 victory over NSP less than seven days ago. This time, their respective seasons will be on the line when they meet in the semifinals of the UIC Sectional on Friday afternoon.

 

In order for Northside to turn things around, they will need to find a way to get shots past Lane goalie Ashley McGhee. She only let in one goal in two games last Saturday against Payton and NSP, so the Mustangs will have their work cut out for them if they hope to pull off the upset.

 


 

Vernon Hills Sectional

4:30pm Mundelein vs Vernon Hills

Vernon Hills has had an impressive season, culminating with a 10-8 win over Libertyville on Wednesday in the quarterfinals. But they are faced with a truly daunting task when they meet up with top seed Mundelein on Friday afternoon. The Mustangs cruised to a 9-4 win over Buffalo Grove in the first round of the sectional, have their offense and defense clicking on all cylinders, and are just one game away from getting back to the sectional finals in 2011.

 

The Cougars do have the advantage of playing at home. Plus, they may be able to catch the Mustangs looking ahead to the sectional finals.

 

5:45pm Stevenson vs Wheeling

Stevenson caught fire throughout the second half of the season, notching several high-quality wins as they prepared for a strong postseason run. The Patriots would probably be best-advised not to overlook a Wheeling team that also started to make some waves in the tail end of the season.

 

The early part of this game could be a sign of how things will turn out. If the Wildcats can keep things close early, they might have a chance to surprise a 23-win Stevenson team. If Karen Lowry, Cheyenne Montijo, and the rest of the Patriots get off to a fast start, it might be difficult for Wheeling to hang around. The Wildcats will also be counting on Leah Malsom to lead the way on the offensive end, as her 5-goal performance against Lake Forest helped them earn a 7-4 win on Wednesday.

 


 

 

For more previews and info, check out the Girls' Sectional Previews and the 2011 Sectional Center.

 

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