HAMPSHIRE – Marian Central girls soccer coach Karl Smith knew Tuesday's Class 2A Hampshire Sectional semifinal against Rockford Boylan would be a giant test for his inexperienced Hurricanes.
Boylan scored early and often against the Hurricanes in a 9-0 win to advance to the sectional championship Friday night.
"We came in not having any illusions about what we were facing," Smith said. "That team that beat us today is a big favorite to win a state championship."
Boylan was in control from the opening whistle, dominating possession and scoring opportunities.
The Titans scored two minutes into the match on a goal by senior Syndey Wright. The University of Illinois-Chicago-bound forward scored four goals and was a threat the entire night.
Boylan tallied four more goals before the break, two by Kailey Parnello, and one each by Wright and Leigha Crowder.
Although the Hurricanes created few opportunities, the young team has a bright future, and senior Victoria Girolamo knew that they had so much to be proud of and walk away with this season.
"Our record did not indicate what this team accomplished this year," Girolamo said. "We grew together so much, we won a regional, which no one thought was possible and we really became a family."
A 30-minute lightning delay at halftime gave the Hurricanes a chance to talk a bit longer about strategy in the second half.
Marian Central (5-13) came out strong in the first five minutes, and nearly scored on a shot by Kailin Fortin, that was punched over the goal by Titans goalkeeper Amanda Black. The Hurricanes had a few corners to work with in the half, but failed to capitalize.
Wright scored two goals a minute apart, forcing the time to be cut in half. By IHSA rules, the clock is cut in half once the lead grows to seven.
"This is not the last time you will hear from this program," Smith said. "Aside from our five seniors, we are an extremely young group and this gave us experience to compete in the future – a future that I believe is very bright."