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DeKalb riding defense into next round of postseason

The DeKalb girls soccer team’s regional championship season has not been laced with high-scoring games. The Barbs season has been full of goalless stalemates, clean sheets and great team defense.

“They have been a unit that works together well. The backline is the last line of defense, but it does start up top,” said Barbs head coach Phil Rouse. “We talk about the main principle of primary and secondary defending.”

DeKalb, who finished unbeaten in the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference, will put its defense to the test against Rosary in the Class 2A Hampshire Sectional semifinals at 7 p.m.

The Barbs only conceded one goal in the two-game Burlington Central Regional. Against the other top teams in the conference, DeKalb held both Sycamore and Kaneland goalless in the four total games played. Rosary beat Kaneland to advance to the sectional. 

“Our defensive line has been absolutely tremendous,” said goalkeeper Maddie Frye. “There are a couple of times where we have some mistakes but that will happen with any defensive line in any conference and in any game. I just think all over we have done tremendous.”

The backline has had a few shakeups throughout the season. In the regional, Kate Hickey, Kayla Perkins, Riley Bauling, and Kalya Baum were seeing the bulk of the minutes on the Barbs defense.

Throughout the season, Kate Hickey, Kayley Garland, Maddie Kremnic, and Hannah Hickey have all seen significant on the defense at different points of the season. Injuries and readjustments to the starting eleven have seen the changes to the backline.

“You would love to say it is about one player, but if you are really good a defending, it is a full on team effort,” said Rouse. “We spend a whole lot of time working on defending.”

With most of the starters being upperclassman, coach Rouse was not surprised by the personal that he had on this squad. But, he was surprised how well the team as a whole came together this season.

“I am surprised how well they gelled together. Sometimes, you have a group of kids, especially when you have seniors and some younger kids, you worry about how they are going to get along,” Rouse said. “They have done a great job working through those issues and coming together as a team.”

Tonight’s game will be the first sectional game under Rouse. If the Barbs’ defense can hold up like it has all season long, there is always that chance to win games.

“As long as we keep up the work up top, like we have been doing in our last games,” Frye said. “If we keep doing that, our defense is going to hold strong and as long as we work together, I think we will do pretty good.”

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