Girls Soccer: Ellie Ackermann lifts Barrington to Mid-Suburban crown
Updated: May 9, 2012 10:28PM
Everything happened so fast that Ellie Ackermann had difficulty stringing together the exact sequence. She was also too drained and exhilarated to catch her breath.
The sophomore Barrington forward wheeled and fired a ball that curled into the left corner in the 79th minute as the No. 8 Fillies edged No. 7 Hersey 1-0 for the MSL Cup championship Wednesday night in Barrington.
“I’m not sure exactly what happened,” Ackermann said. “I was able to turn and make a shot.”
It was her fifth goal of the year and staved off what appeared an inevitable overtime as she scored with just 28.5 seconds remaining. Senior defender Abby Taplett made a superb effort to prevent a ball from going out of bounds and helping the Fillies maintain possession.
From the right sideline, Taplett played a ball into the middle of the box that was eventually controlled by senior midfielder Anna Burnidge, who directed the ball to Ackermann. “It was a great goal,” Hersey coach Brad Abel said. “She’s a great player and she had a very high effort in the second half.”
Hersey (15-6-2) dropped its third consecutive game.
The victory marked the Fillies’ first MSL Cup title since 2010. The dramatic win also reversed the outcome of Barrington’s only conference loss, a 1-0 defeat to the Huskies in April. It also testified to the team’s toughness and resilience in overcoming a spate of injuries to key players.
Barrington (15-5) prevailed despite star junior forward Molly Pfeiffer sitting out to rest a tight right hamstring before the start of next week’s Class 3A state tournament. During a halftime celebration honoring all-conference players from Mid-Suburban East and West divisions, three of Barrington’s four players were injured.
Junior midfielder Aimee Pierce injured her foot late in the first half. She returned and helped spark the Fillies. “We wanted this game for the players that are injured,” Ackermann said. “We have won all year with our depth.”
Both teams struggled to find a fluid offensive rhythm in the first half. Hersey enjoyed a marginal advantage. “We didn’t seem to be playing with a lot of enthusiasm in the first half,” Barrington coach Ryan Stengren said. “I was playing a lot of different players, and some of them might not have quite understood the magnitude of the game.
“That’s Hersey’s style. When we played them the first time, they kind of just lull you into making mistakes and then they jump on you,” he said.
Hersey senior midfielder Nicole Pietro generated the strongest first-half scoring chance, though her shot from about 12 yards out popped into the air and skipped the top of the crossbar.
Slowly and methodically, Barrington started to assert its control. “I thought in the first half, we controlled it pretty well but [the momentum] definitely shifted over to them in the second half,” Abel said.
Freshman forward Jenna Szczesny made three strong offensive advances in the second half. She hit the crossbar with one shot and blasted another ball that Huskies’ sophomore keeper Morgan Harris made a diving stop.
The game was Barrington’s final home game of the regular-season. The school hosts a 3A super sectional in late May. Ackermann said the conference title is a prelude to a great tournament run. “We were motivated tonight, and this is only going to give us more confidence,” she said.