Girls soccer: Rockford Boylan ends Sycamore’s season in sectional semis

Titans beat Spartans in gusting wind 6-1

Sycamore's Izzie Segreti (right) celebrates her goal with teammate Lizzie Goff during their Class 2A sectional semifinal game Tuesday, May 21, 2024, at Belvidere High School.

BELVIDERE – Three days after knocking off a rival on penalty kicks to win its first regional title in half a decade, the Sycamore girls soccer team’s season came to an end Tuesday.

With the wind blowing at about 30 miles per hour and gusting higher throughout the game, the Spartans lost to Rockford Boylan 6-1 in the Class 2A Belvidere Sectional semifinal.

“We were happy to have the wind in the first half so we could keep it close, and we did,” Sycamore coach Kevin Bickley said. “We had that late goal there to make it 2-1, give us a little lift. It definitely changed the halftime talk. I think we left everything on the field Saturday and it showed today.”

The Spartans (18-9) had the wind at their backs in the first half and came out with a couple strong scoring chances in the first 10 minutes. Cortni Kruizenga ripped a shot in the fifth minute, but it went right to Boylan goalie Natalya Razo. Izzie Segreti took a direct kick that Razo turned away, then knocked away the rebound in the seventh minute.

In the final 11 minutes before the break, the match went from 0-0 to 2-1, with freshman Delilah Hawley scoring twice to put the Titans (18-3-2) up 2-0. Segreti scored with 2:55 left before half to cut the lead in half.

“I think the wind maybe doesn’t affect them as much as a lower seed,” Bickley said. “I think our mistakes showed a little bit more. They seemed to build it out of the back pretty well.”

Hawley scored less than six minutes into the second half to complete her hat trick, while the Spartans couldn’t produce any solid scoring chances facing the wind.

“I feel like we could have played a little better,” Sycamore senior defender Tyanna Clark said. “How we’ve been playing, it really wasn’t there in the second half. It really took us over.”

Boylan beat Sycamore 1-0 last month. Although head coach Taylor Meyers missed that game while on maternity leave, Tuesday she said the Titans were in postseason mode and wanted to play to more than a one-goal differential.

“Their late goal kind of shifted our momentum a little bit, but we knew going into the second half we were going to have the wind,” Meyers said. “It was a different game for us. We really dialed in and kept possession of the ball.”

The Titans will face either Belvidere North or Burlington Central on Friday.

“We did a good job in not getting frustrated in the first half when we were playing against gale force winds,” Meyers said. “The game is a completely different game at that point. But we knew the goals would come.”

The Spartans knocked off Kaneland on penalty kicks after a scoreless first 100 minutes to win a regional title. Two weeks earlier the teams also played to a scoreless tie in regulation before Sycamore won on penalty kicks, securing a share of the Interstate 8 title.

The regional win was the first for the Spartans since 2019, Bickley’s first year.

“The season went really well, and I’m proud of every single one of us,” Clark said. “They definitely have potential and are going to make it far next year.”

Bickley said the loss doesn’t define the season for the Spartans.

“They exceeded expectations, beating Kaneland twice on their field,” Bickley said. “Maybe we’ve had better teams in past years, but this team just seemed to click a little better as a team. Some of the younger girls said how great the seniors were this year and how great it was to play with them.”

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