Huskies look to repeat as large school state champions
By Curt Herron
St. Charles, New Trier and Waubonsie Valley.
That's the exclusive company that Naperville North hopes to join this weekend at the Class 3A finals in Naperville.
Those are the lone programs who have been able to capture consecutive large school championships in the IHSA tournament.
Joe Moreau's Saints won five straight from 1996-2000, Jim Burnside's Trevians repeated in 2003-04 and Julie Bergstrom's Warriors did the same in 2007-08.
Two others, Saint Viator (2002-03 in Class A) and Quincy Notre Dame (2012-13 in 1A) have also accomplished the difficult feat.
Naperville North hopes to mentioned along those schools but it needs to win two more matches this weekend at North Central College.
Coach Steve Goletz's squad is trying to reach its third straight title match, something last done in the large class by New Trier from 2003-06.
In order to do that, the 20-0-2 Huskies will have to defeat Buffalo Grove (25-2-1) in today's 3:30 p.m. semifinals.
Playing at 5:30 p.m. in the other semifinal match will be Hinsdale Central (17-3-3) and Barrington (18-4-1).
Those matches were originally scheduled for 5:00 and 7:00 but were moved up due to the threat of storms Friday night.
The third-place match is scheduled for Saturday at 5:00 p.m. with the state championship set to follow at 7:00 p.m.
As a side note, this is the first time that all four schools in the state finals are also covered by www.chicagolandsoccer.net.
The defending state champions have won 15 straight since playing a 1-1 draw with Waubonsie Valley on April 12.
Their other tie this season also came against one of the semifinalists, Hinsdale Central, in their season opener.
North only lost one match a year ago, on penalties, and last suffered a regulation loss in the 2011 finals to Granite City.
The Huskies are paced by a group of 11 seniors, most have which have been part of the previous two tournament runs.
Fourteen of the squad members were also on hand a year ago while nine were on the roster with the 2011 runners-up.
This year's group is led by three All-Staters, Zoe Swift (15 g, 9 a), Christa Szalach (13 g, 5 a) and Abbie Boswell (27 g, 10 a).
North has recorded seven shutouts in its last nine matches. It has scored two or more goals in all 20 of its wins.
The Huskies are assured of an eighth trophy in that many state visits. They also won the initial state title in 1988 under Alan Harris.
Only one North program has managed to win consecutive state championships in a sport, girls cross country, which did so in 2004-05.
Buffalo Grove is making its first state finals appearance since 1995, when Tom Ford and his program placed three times in four years.
Coach Pat Dudle's Bison dropped late-season matches to Conant and to Barrington, the latter by a 2-0 score in the MSL Cup championship.
The Bison, who have posted four shutouts and allowed only one goal during the postseason, defeated Barrington 2-1 in the regular season.
All-Staters Skylar Groth (8 g, 5 a) and Kelli Zickert (31 g, 11 a) and all-sectional pick Allie Ingham (15 g, 8 a) pace the Bison.
Buffalo Grove has won just four state titles in any sport, with the last coming this year in the coed team division of cheerleading for coach Jeff Siegal.
The school last won a bracketed team sport title in 2000 in girls basketball. John Erfort led the Bison boys soccer team to a title in 1988.
Hinsdale Central is making its fourth state appearance and its first since 2009, when Skip Begley directed the program to a championship.
After seeing his squad win nine matches a year ago, Michael Smith has watched his squad go 9-0-1 down the stretch to get to the state finals.
They've posted shutouts in six of those matches and only allowed one goal each in the other four to assure the program of its third trophy.
All-Stater Casey May, all-sectional selection Megan Schick and all-sectional honorable mention Riley Glenn and Caitlin Smith pace the Red Devils.
While the Red Devils have multiple state titles in individual sports, they've only won four in bracketed team sports.
Beside the 2009 title, other Red Devil champs were girls basketball (2002), boys soccer (1975) and boys basketball (1909).
Barrington ended a streak of four super-sectional losses by beating St. Charles North to advance to its first state finals since 2006.
The Fillies assured themselves of their third trophy in the sport, with the last coming in 2006 when Scott Steib led them to second place.
Ryan Stengren's squad got off to a 4-3-1 start this year but has been on a roll since, winning 14 of their last 15 matches.
They've posted 11 shutouts and allowed just four goals during the impressive run, with the lone loss by a 1-0 score to Naperville Central.
Leading the Fillies are All-Staters Molly Pfeiffer (11 g, 11 a) and Hannah Luedtke (0.23 GAA) and all-sectional picks Mia Calamari (6 g, 11 a) and Jenna Szczesny (21 g, 8 a).
Barrington has won six state championships, including three for the girls. Its lone bracketed titles were in baseball (1986) and boys soccer (2007), the latter led by Steib.