Broncos win MSL West following draw with Huskies
By Jonah Rosenblum
It was Senior Night at Barrington Community Stadium.
However, it wasn't the last time the Broncos will play on their home field during the regular season.
Barrington clinched a spot in the Mid Suburban League championship match Tuesday with a 0-0 draw against Hersey.
The title game will be played at Barrington next Thursday, according to coach Scott Steib, whose squad won the West Division.
It will mark the first time the Broncos have competed in the conference's championship match since 2008.
Steib was left reflecting on the "lean years" Barrington suffered after its state title in 2007 and powerful campaign in 2008.
In 2012, the Broncos came back with a vengeance, but were unable to make it to the championship match, due in no small part to a loss to Palatine at a similar point in the season.
All of which made Tuesday's draw even more exciting.
"It was great," senior defender Jamie Tausend said. "Barrington hasn't been to the conference championship in a while. It's nice to restore the pride Barrington has in the soccer program."
Still, Barrington was left wanting more Tuesday, after a match in which a relatively even shot count and a completely even scoreboard failed to tell the whole story.
"It's a little frustrating for the boys to play 100 minutes and not get a goal," Steib said.
"It's kind of our M.O. to play really good defense and we create some chances, it's not like a ton but some. I thought there were enough chances for either team to win tonight."
The Broncos (14-2-4, 7-1-2, 23 points), for the most part, dominated play.
"I feel like every time we go out, we have the ability to control the match," Tausend said. "It's a draw, but I'm happy that we controlled the match."
They kept the ball in the Huskies' zone with intense offensive pressure.
"I was really pleased with the pressure we were able to put, even in the first and the second overtimes," Steib said. "Our kids, I'm sure they're tired but they didn't really look it."
They generated a plethora of deep throw-ins.
"They pressured everywhere," Hersey coach Darren Llewellyn said. "They win every ball. They're fast. They're really fast. They don't back off. That gave us some problems."
The only problem was the Broncos couldn't cash in against the Huskies (11-3-3, 7-2-1, 22 points).
"We just needed to have somebody on that back post," Tausend said. "It looks like it's getting better. Hopefully, we'll have someone on the back post putting those easy chances in."
Their inability to score was due in no small part to a six-save performance from Cristian Carranza.
"He was solid," Llewellyn said. "Very well done."
It began in the 10th minute when senior forward Wesley Collins' high header was smoothly caught by Carranza.
In the 26th minute, Carranza withstood an epic collision with senior midfielder Logan Morris, as the ball popped up in the air and was eventually cleared out.
Then in the 46th minute, senior midfielder Connor Hennelly cut through the defense and placed a hard roller right toward the five-hole that Carranza calmly corralled.
Carranza only got better as the match went on.
In the 57th minute, a free kick from Tausend from the right sideline led to a shot through traffic that Carranza dove for at the last second.
And in the 76th minute, Tausend was again a catalyst as his deep throw-in resulted in a volley of back-and-forth headers that nearly turned into a Giles Phillips goal - if not for Carranza's diving save.
"The long throw is certainly a danger mechanism," Steib said.
"He put it right in the middle of the goal. We're on a 75-yard wide field and he's still putting it in the middle of the goal. Imagine when the sideline is another five, six yards in. A lot of these fields are 10 yards narrower than ours."
As for the back-and-forth headers and Hersey's night-long difficulty clearing the ball, Carranza had a fairly simple solution.
"Instead of just kicking it out and playing ping-pong balls back and forth, maybe we could possess and have an outlet, rather than just kick it out," Carranza said. "If they kick it out, then they'll just kick it back in."
Carranza ran into a defender reaching for a loose ball in the second overtime, which briefly left the net open, but Barrington was unable to take advantage.
Hersey had a few chances - though far less overall.
The Huskies started the second half with a solid shot from the right side that glanced off junior goalkeeper Pat Deroche's hands and lay tantalizingly in front of the net before it was cleared.
Toward the end of the first overtime, a Hersey corner kick led to a header that nearly went in by the right post.
The rebound went to the Huskies, and the net was open for a flickering moment, but by the time they got a shot off, it was too late, and the ball was deflected and later pushed over the net.
"We've had a lot of those this year," Llewellyn said. "Just sometimes the ball doesn't bounce your way some years. We really haven't had the luck yet."
Tausend must have been relieved the game didn't go any longer.
In the span of a minute and a half in the second overtime period, he took a corner from the right side, sprinted across the field to take one from the left and then ran back across to take a throw-in from the right sideline.
"It wears on you as the game goes on, but you've got to have that mental toughness and push through," Tausend said. "When you have the adrenaline of the game kicking you in the butt, you kind of just do it for your team."
Or as his coach said.
"He's getting a fitness session just taking corners and throw-ins, right?" Steib said.
With its draw, Hersey moved into a tie with Wheeling (7-1-1) atop the Mid Suburban League East Division race.
The Wildcats, who beat Hoffman Estates on Tuesday, have two league matches remaining while the Huskies host Buffalo Grove on Thursday in their finale.
"We really had to win for the conference race, but yeah, it's a good tie," Llewellyn said. "On the road, at Barrington, on a 75-yard wide field with their speed, yeah, it's a good tie."
Of course, while Barrington can rest easy to some extent, Hersey lacks that luxury.
"It's a must-win game now," Carranza said. "From now on, every game is a must-win. Every game is the championship game."