WOODSTOCK – As the No. 1 seed in the Class 2A Marian Central Regional and the co-Fox Valley Conference Fox Division girls soccer champion, Woodstock had a target on its back going into the postseason.
The Blue Streaks took on No. 4 seed Woodstock North to open the regional and quickly put the match away in a 7-0 victory. Woodstock (15-4) moves on to Friday’s regional final against the winner of Wednesday’s game against No. 2 seed Belvidere North and third-seeded Marian Central.
Woodstock quickly got on the board less than eight minutes into the match on a goal by Mary Grace Mathison. Mallory Bellairs added a goal 14 minutes later to give the Blue Streaks a 2-0 lead followed by a Brecken Overly goal with 10 minutes to play in the first half for a 3-0 halftime advantage.
The Blue Streaks came out with even more urgency in the second half and got two quick goals from Emma Thill three minutes apart to make it 5-0. Allie Behrens scored five minutes after Thill’s second goal to make it 6-0, and 99 seconds later, Kirsten Schriener put one past North keeper Kristin Lemke to make it 7-0, which allowed the second half time to be cut in half.
“We played North in the regular season for a conference game, so we knew what they had coming in,” Woodstock coach Mike Golda said. “We were ready to play a possession game. We practiced a lot of possession the last week, and we knew that they would bring energy. We wanted to be able to play possession and counterattack off our possession, and I think the ladies did a great job of that.”
The pressure is now on Woodstock after losing in the regional final last season to Prairie Ridge, and Golda said that is motivation for the Blue Streaks moving forward, being the hunted instead of the hunter this year.
“That’s exactly what I told the girls in the huddle. We’re the No. 1 seed and it feels different to get that 7-0 win now versus when Prairie Ridge did that to a lot of our seniors,” Golda said. “I told them that we have to practice what we did well [today] and improve on that.”
For the Thunder, who finished the season 0-20, the season begins a long chapter of building the program. North coach Lauren Farley said this season has been one that has seen some improvement.
“We have a young and inexperienced team, so it’s a learning experience,” Farley said. “Finally the last few weeks, we have been playing well together and working out things as a team and improving on the little mistakes, so we can improve in the future.”