Girls soccer: Reese Frericks scores 100th career goal, leads Richmond-Burton past Woodlands in sectional semifinal

Johnsburg ends season with 2-0 loss to Willows Academy

Richmond-Burton's Reese Frericks takes a shot on goal during a IHSA Division 1 Richmond-Burton Sectional semifinal soccer match against Woodlands Academy Tuesday, May 16, 2023, at Richmond-Burton High School.

RICHMOND – Richmond-Burton’s Reese Frericks never really thought about reaching 100 career goals until her mom asked her last week how many she had scored with the Rockets.

Frericks already was the program’s all-time leading scorer, but when she did the math and realized she was three goals shy of reaching 100, she decided she wanted to reach that number by the end of the season.

She didn’t have to wait long, tallying a hat trick against Woodlands Academy during the Class 1A Richmond-Burton Sectional semifinal Tuesday to lead the Rockets to a 7-0 win.

“It’s so exciting because I feel like I worked so hard to get these goals the last couple years,” Frericks said. “So it was amazing to actually get that goal.”

Frericks started the match as she always has during her time with the Rockets (17-4), by creating chances. After R-B had a few early looks, Frericks drove to the net and created a good shot that was blocked before Margaret Slove buried the ball in the back of the net to give the Rockets a 1-0 lead with 30:01 left in the first half.

The Rockets kept attacking, and Frericks broke through the middle of the box to score her first goal and give her team a 2-0 lead with 24:02 left in the opening half. Slove made it 3-0 when she snuck in a shot from the top of the box with 15:31 left in the first half before Frericks scored her 99th and 100th career goals before the end of the half.

“The game just sort of came to her,” R-B coach Casey DeCaluwe said. “It was really nice to see that she could get that and now move on and work.”

Slove added two more goals in the second half to cap another strong offensive showing for the Rockets. R-B finished the night with 15 shots on goals and nine corner kicks while Rockets goalkeeper Taylor Labay and the defense earned their third shutout of the postseason.

“It’s so exciting because I feel like I worked so hard to get these goals the last couple years. So it was amazing to actually get that goal.”

—  Reese Frericks, Richmond-Burton senior

DeCaluwe was impressed with his team’s ability to continue to set the tone early in matches where the Rockets aren’t familiar with their opponent.

“It’s huge,” DeCaluwe said. “When you don’t know teams, you want to put doubt in their mind early. When you create three or four good chances early and maybe finish one, that team starts to think this match isn’t for them.”

The Rockets will play Willows Academy (15-3-3) on Friday and try to win their third straight sectional title. While R-B has goals of winning a state title after losing in the Class 1A title match last season, the importance of Friday’s match isn’t lost on DeCaluwe and his team.

“You can’t take these moments for granted,” DeCaluwe said.”Our girls getting a third chance to be in a sectional final is amazing, and I think we’ll rise to the occasion.”

Willows Academy 2, Johnsburg 0

Johnsburg’s inexperience finally caught up to the Skyhawks against Willows Academy on Tuesday.

The Skyhawks couldn’t keep up with the Eagles and finish their opportunities, losing 2-0 to end their season in the Class 1A Richmond-Burton Sectional semifinal.

Johnsburg's Ava Jablonski tries to control the ball as she is defended by Willows’ Erin Mongoven during a IHSA Division 1 Richmond-Burton Sectional semifinal soccer match Tuesday, May 16, 2023, at Richmond-Burton High School.

“I think every time you play a game like this, come back and learn from it,” Johnsburg coach Rob Eastland said. “You try to go through a season and get things right for the postseason when you play a game like this. There’s nothing more that you can do. You lost the game and you learn from it.”

Willows held off pressure early from Johnsburg (10-5-1) and scored on its first scoring chance when Veronica Presberg dribbled in a goal with 26:51 left in the first half. The Eagles held off more chances and made it 2-0 with 4:27 left in the first half when Simone Burns sailed in a goal from the corner of the box.

The Skyhawks had eight corner kicks in the match and three shots on goal in the second half, but Eastland thought his young team rushed too much in order to finish.

“There’s no excuses today,” Eastland said. “We didn’t take our chances.”

Eastland was impressed with what the Skyhawks did in his first season back with the program. Johnsburg played seven freshmen this season, won a regional title Friday and lost to R-B in penalty kicks in the Kishwaukee River Conference Tournament title match. The Skyhawks also played without Melaina Huemann, one of their top scorers, because of injury.

Though Eastland wanted to win the match, he also understood its importance for what the Skyhawks want to accomplish next season.

“I don’t think we played our best game of the season, but the girls gave everything, and I can’t ask anything more of them,” Eastland said. “I think we’re young and they can learn a lot from that game. That could be the most important game for next season.”

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