Girls soccer: St. Charles North gets lead, holds firm to beat Wheaton North for sectional title

North Stars advance to supersectional on their home field with 2-1 win

St. Charles North's Kaitlin Glenn (25) celebrates as time expires to secure a win over Wheaton North during the sectional title game held at South Elgin High School on Saturday May 25, 2024.

SOUTH ELGIN – After scoring two first-half goals, St. Charles North held firm against Wheaton North’s increased second-half offensive pressure to win the Class 3A South Elgin Sectional championship 2-1 on May 25.

In the last 40 minutes, the Falcons used an additional forward in an effort to swing the match’s momentum in their favor. A set-piece goal pulled Wheaton North to within one, but the Falcons were unable to get any closer.

The North Stars (16-2-5) return to their home field Tuesday for the supersectional against Naperville Central (13-5-1) with a spot in the weekend’s state tournament at stake.

Four Wheaton North attackers forced St. Charles North’s backline to concentrate more on Jane Rogers, the Falcons’ main scoring threat.

“In the second half, we threw four people up top to force them to drop another man to mark Jane and give our other wingers and our other people up top more space,” Wheaton North coach Tim McEvilly said.

The formation change did not rattle the North Stars.

“We talked about [changes] during halftime. It’s a postseason game on the line, expect teams to throw the kitchen sink at you,” St. Charles North coach Brian Harks said. “Our girls communicated that early, they solved it and still managed to control the game, which was excellent. Our ability to limit Rogers’ chances was also excellent.”

St. Charles North celebrates after winning the sectional championship game over Wheaton North on Saturday May 25, 2024, held at South Elgin High School.

The North Stars’ backline adjusted.

“I think we did a really good job covering for each other and just playing off of one another,” North Stars senior defender Kyra Treanor said. “I think we just work well together.”

Kayla Floyd put the North Stars on the scoreboard at the 17:50 mark of the first half. The senior connected on a Kaitlin Glenn corner kick and headed the ball into the net from just outside the goal box.

Three minutes later, senior Megan Hines doubled the North Stars’ lead. Hines corralled a Laney Stark cross and from 10 yards out punched the ball into the right side of the goal.

“It was really intense the first minutes we were going up there. I just knew when Laney had the ball I could trust her that she was going to get it right into the middle,” Hines said. “And after that, I just knew what I had to do – stay composed and put it in the back of the net.”

In the 51st minute, Wheaton North made the most of a free kick. From 40 yards out, Wheaton North’s Calah Strong blasted the ball into the air. It landed just over the North Stars’ goal line.

After the score, the North Stars remained calm and continued to play their game.

“The girls’ ability to stay composed, calm and disciplined to finish the game out with composure was a key to the win,” Harks said.

St. Charles North's Laney Stark (19) and Wheaton North's Caoah Strong (7) battle for the ball during the sectional title game held at South Elgin High School on Saturday May 25, 2024.

St. Charles North will be hunting for its first state appearance since 2012, when the North Stars finished second. St. Charles North beat Naperville Central 4-2 on April 6.

“We played them very early in the season, but obviously that was so long ago and both teams have grown a little bit,” Harks said.

DuKane Conference and Wheaton Cup champion Wheaton North finished the season with an 18-3-2 record.

“It’s a historic level of success for us, one of the best seasons we’ve had since 2006, when we were third in the state,” McEvilly said. “We’ve got a young group of kids and we’re dangerous offensively. I think we just need a little bit more seasoning, but I’m going to miss our seniors.”