The 2016 Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Girls Soccer State Finals open with the finals of the Class 1A tournament this weekend at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium on the campus of North Central College in Naperville.
The Class 1A semifinals will unfold on the evening of Friday, May 27, with the third-place and state championship matches following on Saturday afternoon.
All of the action will be carried live on the NFHS Network by presenting sponsor Country Financial and viewers can visit www.IHSA.tv to subscribe and watch the contests. The state championship match will also be rebroadcast on Comcast SportsNet Chicago in June, click here for dates and times.
WHEATON ACADEMY WARRIORS (20-3-3) vs.
MARQUETTE EXPLORERS (14-9-3)
During his first run (2004-2008) as head coach at Wheaton Academy, head coach Dave Underwood led the school to its first state final appearance and state championship in 2004. During his break from coaching, the program added three more state trips and another state title. The Warriors have been dominant in the postseason, outscoring their five opponents by a combined score of 38-3. The Wheaton Academy offense runs through the dynamic one-two scoring punch of junior forward Gretchen Pearson (26 goals, 11 assists) and sophomore forward Erin Teevans (25 goals, 15 assists). Senior goalkeeper Liana Ledesma is allowing less than a goal per match (.54 gaa) and has teamed with her defense to record 15 shutouts and allow one goal or less in 21 matches this season.
Marquette (Alton) didn’t start the year with the look of a state final team, as the Explorers went 2-4-1 in the month of March. Head coach Steve Mitchell, who led the Explorers to a third-place finish in 2013, has his team playing its best soccer at the right time. Marquette won both Sectional contests and its Super-Sectional by way of penalty kick shootouts and five of its losses this season have come by a single goal thanks in part to the play of sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Fischer. On the offensive side, junior forward Annabelle Copeland (14 goals, 8 assists) and junior defender Elisa Senno (8 goals, 8 assists) pace a Marquette team that has 11 players that have notched at least a pair of goals this season.
WILLIAMSVILLE BULLETS (22-3-0) vs.
MARIAN CENTRAL CATHOLIC HURRICANES (13-5-2)
Williamsville reaches state for the third time in school history, and for the first time under seventh-year head coach Joe Fandel. The Bullets will take home a trophy for the first time ever in 2016 after rallying from a two-goal second half deficit against Herscher in the Super-Sectional, eventually advancing on penalty kicks. The Bullets are led by the senior twin duo of Farah (26 goals, 23 assists) and Marah Abu-Tayeh (64 goals, 18 assists), the latter of whom scored all four goals in the Super-Sectional round. The Bullets have won 21 of their last 22 matches with freshman Lilly Doneghue (177 saves) in between the pipes for the majority of those minutes, while the team has registered 10 shutouts on the season.
Marian Central Catholic’s (Woodstock) lone state final appearance in school history came in Class 2A back in 2011, where the Hurricanes fell in penalty kicks in the state championship match. Third-year head coach Karl Smith hopes to have the team back in the finals again on Saturday night, and will be tough to beat if they play as well as they did in a 7-1 Super-Sectional win over Rockford Christian. Marian has a pair of double-digit scorers on its roster in junior forwards Karlie Biaz (13 goals, 8 assists) and Erika Dacanay (11 goals, 11 assists), while senior Kersten Green (1.17 gaa, 62 saves) is the goalkeeper on a squad that has allowed more than one goal in a match just seven times this season.
29th annual State Series
8th year of 3-Class Series
15th year at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium
North Central College
Updates/delays posted on Twitter at @IHSAWeather
Friday, May 27
Class 1A Semifinals
Wheaton Academy vs.
Williamsville vs. Marian Central Catholic (Woodstock)
Saturday, May 28
Class 1A Finals
3:00 p.m. - Third-Place
5:00 p.m. - Championship
$6 per day
All matches available live on www.IHSA.tv via NFHS Network subscription
1A Championship match rebroadcast on CSN Chicago on June 4/6
Currently no scheduled broadcasts
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