HINCKLEY – A season ago the Hinckley-Big Rock girls soccer team saw their season end in a most shocking fashion with a overtime loss in the regional finals.
It was a feeling that they all remembered and were focused on not letting happen again this campaign. The second-seeded and host Lady Royals dominated Saturday's Class 1A Hinckley-Big Rock Regional final from start to finish and, with their 8-1 victory over top-seed Aurora Central Catholic, hoisted the third championship plaque in school history.
“We didn't want to end this season like the last, that was really bad,” said junior forward Lauren Paver, who scored a pair of goals and assisted on another. “We all had the drive to win today and put everything into it because it's win or go home."
Hinckley-Big Rock (12-6-2) now advances to Tuesday's Lisle Sectional where they will meet either IC Catholic or Timothy Christian at 7:00 pm in a match held at Benedictine University.
The Lady Royals received a huge match from sophomore Jacqueline Madden as she scored a trio of goals and assisted on the first goal of the game just seven minutes in.
“I just tried to finish today,” Madden said. “I had a couple shots in the first half that I didn't, but I used the extra touch that we have been working on in the second half and was able to put a couple in.”
In a play started by a great midfield play by Lexi Gonzalez, Andrea Binkley got the champs on the board by taking a great pass from Madden and putting it low past the diving ACC keeper to make it 1-0.
“It was exciting and it gave us the momentum to keep pushing,” Binkley said. “To achieve (a regional title) shows our team were capable of good things.”
H-BR continued to use solid passing and a strong wind at their backs the remainder of the first half as Madden scored unassisted in the 17th minute and Paver made it a three-goal game with 6:36 to go before the half off a Binkley assist. The Royals out-shot the Lady Chargers 9-1 in the first 40 minutes and 18-4 in the match.
H-BR coach Paul Taeuber was happy with the score at the intermission, but thought his club could have held a bigger advantage.
“I hate to say this, but we left so many goals on the field in the first half and we addressed that at halftime,” Taeuber said. “We really responded in the final half, even against the wind.”
After ACC (4-10) scored midway in the second half, H-BR responded just 90 seconds later on a goal from Anne Klein off a Paver assist. Then the Royals and Madden put the match away as the sophomore forward netted a pair of goals, the second off an assist from Kim Weissinger, just a minute apart to make it 6-1. Paver notched her second goal of the game with nine minutes to play and Taeuber was able to empty his bench. Binkley made it 8-1 with two minutes to go. Jordan Bullard made three saves in goal to earn the win.
“Last year was disappointing, so we talked about leaving everything out on the field and the ball will or won't bounce your way,” Taeuber said. “I was really happy how we played today.”