HAMPSHIRE – At halftime with Wednesday's match against Hampshire scoreless, the DeKalb girls soccer team realized that if something didn’t change in the second half, its season would be over.
“After halftime, it became real. They came to play too. We were both playing to keep our season going,” DeKalb senior Morgan Beaty said. “And, they want it just as much as we do. It became real that something needed to be done.”
Beaty’s goal midway through the second half proved to be the difference as the Barbs advanced to the Burlington Central Regional championship with a 1-0 over Hampshire.
“We didn’t come out as well as we would have liked, but at the end of the day, it is playoffs and win or go home,” DeKalb coach Phil Rouse said. “We won and we got practice tomorrow and we wanted the chance to practice Thursday.”
In the 60th minute of the match, Kayley Garland drew a foul right inside the Hampshire half. Kate Hickey lined up the free kick and put the ball in the penalty area. The ball hit off of Hannah Hickey and the bounced right into Beaty’s path.
Beaty toe poked the ball around the goalkeeper and put the ball in the empty net and gave DeKalb the lead for good.
“There is always a sense of relief after the first goal. We always say that after the first goal, the floodgates come open,” Beaty said. “We really didn’t see that today, but the goal came later than we would have liked.”
The Barbs piled on the pressure after halftime. DeKalb had 10 shots and five on target in the second half. The entire team appeared more relaxed after the goal and the defense were never under much pressure.
“I thought we worked hard to keep that clean sheet. We just kept them out of there,” Kate Hickey said. “We are just confident. We play better when we are not worried and we just do what we have to to get the job done.”
The game was windy throughout and the grass was thicker than the turf field the Barbs play on in DeKalb. Rouse said it took time for his team to get used to it.
“We just didn’t adjust to the elements and it kind of slowed down our play," Rouse said. "We made the adjustments at halftime and we worked real hard."
DeKalb will play in the title match on Friday against Sycamore/Burlington Central. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. Against Sycamore this season, Barbs have drawn twice — both games ending 0-0.