DeKALB – Members of the DeKalb girls soccer team knew that if they played to their potential there would be no stopping them on their way to their fourth consecutive BarbFest title
Early on Saturday, though, the Barbs weren't playing to their full capability. After beating Indian Creek 2-0 in the day's opener, DeKalb went down a goal to Burlington Central in the championship game after the Rockets scored on a penalty kick.
But that goal seemed to ignite the Barbs, who answered quickly and won 4-1 on goals from Rachel Butler and Ayslin Nachman and a pair from Morgan Beaty.
“We went [into the championship game] kind of slow and tired,” Beaty said. “We knew we had to come out harder than we went into [the Indian Creek game] … We kind of picked it up and ended up doing well.”
Early on, the Rockets controlled possession and Burlington Central midfielder Camile Dela Cruz scored on a penalty kick in the 11th minute. But the Barbs answered just seven minutes later, when Rachel Butler knocked home a cross from Kelli Cardine.
“That first part of the match I didn't think we were organized defensively,” coach Phil Rouse said. “We put our defense in a compromising position by giving up too much space in the middle of the field. I think we made that adjustment pretty quickly.”
The Barbs (7-1-2) took the lead for good with less than 12 minutes left in the half, when Leah Fassig found Beaty, who knifed her way through the Burlington Central defense and slotted the ball into the lower corner.
Burlington Central (10-1-1) put pressure on the Barbs early in the second half, but Beaty gave DeKalb a two-goal cushion when she received the ball at the top of the box and, again, dribbled her way through the Rockets' defense.
With Burlington Central pushing for a goal late in the game, Butler played a long ball to Nachman, who settled the ball just as she was passing midfield. The DeKalb track and field sprinter blew past Rockets' defenders and beat the goalkeeper near post.
“That was awesome,” said Carlie Hayes, who was selected to the All-Tournament team along with Beaty, Cardine and goalkeeper Maddie Frye. “It was kind of like a football touchdown. Everybody was getting ready for it, then it came in. Then, when she got the goal, it was awesome.”
The Barbs had shut out four consecutive opponents before Burlington Central scored on Saturday, so they weren't exactly used to responding to adversity. But the Barbs responded and came away with another Barb Fest championship.
“It had been awhile since we had a goal scored on us,” Rouse said. “You don't know how you're going to respond when you have a goal scored on you. Sometimes you put your head down and we easily could have done that. But I thought as a team we came together and actually galvanized. That goal going in was kind of was a wake-up shot, like a right cross.”