Girls soccer: Previewing McHenry County area sectional, regional championships

Richmond-Burton will try to win third straight sectional title

Richmond-Burton's Margaret Slove shoots past Prairie Ridge goalkeeper Grace Smeja to score a goal in the first half during their game on Wednesday, April 5, 2023 at Richmond-Burton High School in Richmond. Ryan Rayburn for Shaw Local

Richmond-Burton is well aware of what it could accomplish against Willows Academy on Friday in the Class 1A Richmond-Burton Sectional championship.

The Rockets will play for their third straight sectional title and will try to continue the program’s most successful three-year run in school history. While R-B has goals of returning to the state-title match, the importance of Friday’s match, which is set for 7 p.m., isn’t lost on the Rockets.

“I’ve been looking forward to getting back to that match since the end of last season,” senior Reese Frericks said. “I can’t wait to get back there.”

R-B (17-4) has looked dominant to start the postseason, outsourcing opponents 22-0. The offense has attacked early with scoring chances, while goalkeeper Taylor Labay and the defense have stopped opponents from creating scoring opportunities.

Willows (15-3-3) will try to end the Rockets’ run after beating Johnsburg 2-0 on Tuesday. The Eagles have won five straight matches and nine of their past 10, outscoring opponents 45-3.

“I’ve been looking forward to getting back to that match since the end of last season. I can’t wait to get back there.”

—  Reese Frericks, Richmond-Burton senior

Rockets coach Casey DeCaluwe knows Willows will be a tough test for R-B to win their third sectional title, but he’s encouraged by the experience his team brings.

“We’ve been here before,” DeCaluwe said. “We know what to expect when the bright lights are on. I thought our girls did that [Tuesday against Woodlands Academy] and they’ll be ready to go Friday.”

There also are five regional championship matches Friday involving local teams. Here’s a look:

Burlington Central (12-6-1) vs. Cary-Grove (8-7) – Class 2A Harvard Regional championship

When: 5 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Burlington Central beat Cary-Grove 2-1 on May 4

About the Rockets: Central will try to win its first regional title since 2018. The Rockets won a sectional title in 2021 when regionals weren’t held in the Class 1A and 2A tournaments because of the COVID-19 pandemic. … Central will try to get revenge after the Trojans eliminated the Rockets from the playoffs last year in the regional semifinals. … The Rockets are without one of their top scorers and leaders Eva Boer, who tore her ACL toward the end of the regular season.

About the Trojans: C-G is vying for its sixth straight regional title. The Trojans have advanced to the sectional finals twice during that span but have failed to win. … The Trojans have played in six matches decided by one goal. They are 3-3 in those matches. … C-G’s six goals it scored in its 6-0 win over Woodstock North on Tuesday to advance to Friday’s match was the second-most the Trojans scored this season. They scored eight goals against the Thunder earlier in the year.

Hampshire’s Adilene Perez, center left, battles Crystal Lake Central’s Olivia Anderson, center right, in varsity soccer at Hampshire Thursday.

Crystal Lake Central (14-3) vs. Prairie Ridge (3-10-1) – Class 2A Sycamore Regional championship

When: 4:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Crystal Lake Central beat Prairie Ridge 8-0 on May 9

About the Tigers: Central will play for its second straight regional title and third in the past four postseasons. The program has won three regional titles in its history. … The Tigers won 10 straight matches and went undefeated in the Fox Valley Conference to win its championship. Their three losses came against St. Charles North (14-3-2), Prospect (13-2-3) and Metea Valley (17-0-3). … Central last lost to Prairie Ridge in 2021 during the regular season. The Tigers went on to beat the Wolves in overtime later in the season during the FVC Tournament.

About the Wolves: PR wants to continue its run as it tries to win its first regional title since 2019. The Wolves pulled off the upset Wednesday by beating No. 4 Sycamore. … The Wolves will try to get revenge against the Tigers for their last playoff matchup in 2019 when Central took down PR to win a sectional title. … PR is hitting its stride at the right time, winning three of its past four matches.

Jacobs (11-7-1) vs. McHenry (9-6-2) – Class 3A Grant Regional championship

When: 5 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Jacobs beat McHenry 1-0 on April 18

About the Golden Eagles: Jacobs will try to win its first regional title since 2018 after losing in three straight regional finals. … The Golden Eagles scored seven goals to take down Harlem on Wednesday. They’ve scored seven or more goals four times this season. … Jacobs lost three straight matches before beating Dundee-Crown to end the regular season. All three losses were one-goal matches.

About the Warriors: McHenry is vying to win a regional title for the first time since 2014. The team has lost in the regional finals the past two seasons. … The Warriors allowed an average of 1.2 goals per match, allowing four or more goals only twice this season – against Crystal Lake Central and Burlington Central. … McHenry and Jacobs haven’t played each other in the postseason since 2000. The teams have split their matchups over the past four seasons.

Huntley (16-3-3) vs. DeKalb (6-11-1) – Class 3A Huntley Regional championship

When: 5 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: N/A

About the Red Raiders: Huntley is playing to win its first regional title since 2017 and its first under coach Matt Lewandowski. The program won 11 straight regional titles before the streak ended in 2017. … The Red Raiders haven’t lost since falling 3-0 to Prospect on April 22. They’re 6-0-2 during that span and have outscored their opponents 33-7. … Huntley’s three losses have come to Stevenson (12-5-1), Crystal Lake Central (14-3) and Prospect (13-2-3).

About the Barbs: DeKalb hopes to continue its unlikely run to win its first regional title since 2018. The Barbs advanced to Friday’s final after the No. 11 seed beat No. 6 Hononegah 2-1. … The Barbs lost six of their first eight matches to start the season but regrouped by winning three of their last five. … DeKalb scored three or more goals three times this season.

Hampshire (12-5-2) vs. Barrington (18-0-2) – Class 3A Barrington Regional championship

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: N/A

About the Whip-Purs: Hampshire hasn’t won a plaque since finishing Class A runner-up in 2008. The Whips lost to Hononegah in last season’s regional final. … Hampshire scored more than twice the number of goals it allowed. The team scored 42 goals and allowed 20 heading into Friday’s match. … The Whips have won six straight matches and seven of their past eight.

About the Fillies: Barrington has won 13 straight regional titles under coach Ryan Stengren and made it to the state finals the past five seasons. The program won state titles in 2017 and 2018 and placed runner-up in last season’s playoffs. … The Fillies tied twice, once to Fremd (15-3-1) and once to Downers Grove South (14-3-1). They are one of the best teams in the state and beat some of the best, including Naperville North (12-5-1) and St. Charles North (14-3-2) twice. … Barrington allowed nine goals all season and scored 75.

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