DeKALB – On DeKalb’s first prime scoring chance against St. Charles North, the Barbs converted.
Ayslin Nachman found space and sent a cross that connected with Kayla Perkins, who beat her defender inside the penalty box and fired a shot on net. Perkins corralled the rebound and buried her second attempt in the lower left-hand corner.
Unfortunately for DeKalb, that first scoring chance came in the final 10 minutes of the second half of Wednesday’s Class 3A DeKalb Regional semifinal. North dominated possession for the majority of the game and capitalized on little mistakes as the North Stars cruised to a 5-1 win and advanced to play West Chicago in the regional final Saturday.
“It was a team we haven’t experienced playing this season,” DeKalb senior Carlie Hayes said. “We were ready for it, we knew what we were coming into coming into the game today, but they played well and they played a good game.”
The North Stars (16-2-1) were the defending Class 3A state runner-ups and yielded only one goal in six Upstate Eight Conference River matches.
They took it to DeKalb (14-2-2) from the start as a Barb turnover on DeKalb’s endline led to a St. Charles North goal within the match’s first minute.
The North Stars would add two more goals before halftime as Ashlyn Walter scored off a nice pass that led to a breakaway and Rachel Michieli put in a rebound in the 31st minute.
“Little mistakes lead to big things in a game like this,” DeKalb coach Phil Rouse said. “Sometimes little mistakes don’t burn you and sometimes they do, and against a really good team that’s a state quality team, those mistakes turn into goals unfortunately.”
DeKalb junior goalkeeper Maddie Frye played aggressively the entire game, often coming off her line to win 50-50 balls in the air and initiating multiple collisions. She saved a number of quality St. Charles North scoring chances, including an open shot from 12 yards out by Hanna Durocher in the fifth minute of the second half.
The junior had 14 saves on the day.
“She knew that we were going to see an awful lot of shots today,” Rouse said. “What a tremendous day she had today. They were all goal-saving saves and her body has paid the toll for it. She’s a warrior.”
Perkins’ two shot attempts late in the second half were the Barbs’ only two of the game as DeKalb had trouble generating many opportunities in the attacking third.
The loss ended an impressive season for DeKalb as the Barbs won the BarbFest tournament title in April and took home the Northern Illinois Big 12 East championship for the first time.
“I couldn’t be happier of my team, couldn’t be prouder,” Hayes said.