With the likes of Sycamore and Kaneland scoring lots of goals this season, it is DeKalb's defensive side of the field that has been keeping the Barbs in the conference title race.
The Barbs have collected clean sheets in five of its their six Northern Illinois Big 12 East games, as DeKalb remains unbeaten in league play.
“I think we have one of the best, if not the best defensive line in this whole conference. And I am confident when I say that,” DeKalb goalkeeper Maddie Frye said.
Frye also praised sweeper Kate Hickey for being dominant in conference play this season. Frye also said that the communication between her and the other back four has been tremendous so far.
The only goal that the Barbs have conceded in league play was against Morris on a set piece.
DeKalb head coach Phil Rouse is pleased with the way the whole team has defended.
“They have been in some pretty tough situations and they didn’t panic. They didn’t go to ground,” Rouse said. “They just stayed disciplined and did the fundamentals of just staying in front of them.”
DeKalb’s next conference game is against Kaneland on Monday, and the Barbs hope to remain unbeaten in conference play. The Barbs end with Morris at home on Tuesday.
Finishing Goals a high priority for Sycamore: After being held to another goalless draw against DeKalb, Sycamore has been held scoreless in its three games against the other top two teams in the NI Big 12.
Spartans coach Dave Lichamer said his squad will be working on finding the back of the net in practice to gear up for regionals.
Against the bottom three teams in the conference, Sycamore has scored at least one goal in every game — winning all four of those matches.
“Finishing is on top of the list,” Lichamer said. “We will also be working on corner kicks and (dealing with) crosses into the box.”
Sycamore’s final game of the conference season is against Kaneland on Tuesday. both goals scored against the Spartans in the first contest between the two teams were on corner kicks.
“I know that they have been relatively strong with their set pieces. So, we will focus on that and make sure we don’t have a repeat of what happened last time,” Lichamer said.
H-BR’s Momentum killer against G-K: Hinckley-Big Rock’s Jacqueline Madden scored the opening goal against Genoa-Kingston in its match on Monday night. And that goal, which was scored on the stroke of halftime, gave the Royals all the momentum.
“We let them score at the end of the first half and they got the momentum going into the second half,” G-K head coach Randy Tate said. “I think that they came out a little stronger than we did.
Madden scored H-BR’s second goal in the second half and the Royals escaped with that 2-1 win.
The Cogs have played well so far this season and have a good record to prove it. They were just unlucky to concede that close to halftime.
“They were able to get another goal and we couldn’t get much going after that,” Tate said.
VIEWS: DeKalb-Sycamore rematch almost certain
Third time is a charm. That will be the case if both Sycamore and DeKalb win their opening games of the Burlington Central Regional. The Barbs will have to play Hampshire on May 21 in the opening contest at 5 p.m., while the Spartans will play hosts in the 7 p.m. nightcap.
The best part about postseason play is that there has to be a winner. Both of the team's matches this year have been scoreless ties. And, both teams are still yet to score a goal.
Just like any coach would feel being the top seed in a regional, DeKalb coach Phil Rouse believes his team can get out of the regional.
“I like our chances as much as anyone in that regional,” Rouse said. “It’s probably one of the toughest regionals if you look top to bottom in 2A. All those teams are strong teams from strong conferences.”
On the other side, Sycamore head coach Dave Lichamer looks forward to a third encounter with the Barbs, but he knows his squad cannot look past Burlington Central. The Spartans were defeated by Burlington Central, 3-2, at the Freeport Tournament last week
“I’d to see (a rematch). It certainly makes for some exciting soccer to be played,” Lichamer said. “Hopefully we will get through to see DeKalb. It would make for an interesting game since we have had 0-0 ties each time we have played them. Can’t tie in the state tournament, so we will have to figure out a winner at that point.”
That is right. Obviously the state tournament has to have a winner. Overtime will be played and penalties will happen if neither team can make the breakthrough.
It would be fitting for both of these squads to have their seasons on the line against their rivals to determine a regional title. Most people think that penalty kicks are an unfortunate way to end a match, but with these being so evenly matched, that regional final could last deep into the night.
Understanding that both teams have to win their first game to setup a DeKalb County dream match, it is still a very distinct possibility and it would be a great way for either team to win a regional championship – by beating their rival.
SPOTLIGHT ON …
Genoa-Kingston, Junior, midfield
Hebel has been a mainstay in the G-K midfield all season. Her assist against Winnebago led to a game-winning goal last week. The junior midfield also had another assist on the game-winning goal against Harvest Academy on Tuesday.
1. Kaneland (13-1-1, 7-0-1 Northern Illinois Big 12 East)
2. Sycamore (10-4-3, 4-1-2 NI Big 12 East)
3. DeKalb (9-3-3, 4-0-3 NI Big 12 East)
4. Indian Creek (10-2)
5. Genoa-Kingston (12-6-1)
6. Hinckley-Big Rock (5-8-1)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Hinckley-Big Rock at Herscher, 4:45 p.m. Friday
The Royals look to bounce back after losing to Kaneland on Wednesday.
DeKalb at Kaneland, 4:30 p.m. Monday
The Barbs will be looking to knock off Kaneland before heading into regionals while the Knights will be looking to inch one game closer to a Northern Illinois Big 12 East title.
Kaneland at Sycamore, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday
If Kaneland draws or beats DeKalb on Monday, this contest against Sycamore will setup an interesting NI Big 12 East finale.