GIRLS SOCCER: Irish stay hot in regional win over Wilmington
BRAIDWOOD — Bishop McNamara’s girls soccer team had its best regular season in school history this spring. After Tuesday’s IHSA Class 1A Reed-Custer Regional quarterfinal contest against Wilmington, the Irish don’t appear to show any signs of slowing down.
The offensive trio of Ali Berg, Lauren Krisko and Loren Lorenc was too much for Wilmington to handle, as the Irish defeated the Wildcats 11-0 to advance to Friday’s regional championship.
After dropping their first two games, the Irish have won 16 in a row to improve their record to 16-2. The Wildcats ended their season at 3-9-1.
Wilmington goalie Rachel Wandless shut the Irish out for the first five minutes of the game until the Irish exploded for three goals in the next two minutes.
Lorenc was the first to find the back of the net on an assist from Krisko, then Krisko put one home a minute and a half later, followed by Berg’s goal 30 seconds after that.
The Irish were on the offensive the entire night, but Wilmington’s Wandless stepped up and turned what seemed to be sure-thing goals into saves to catch the eye of Irish coach Marty Ruberry.
“I thought Rachel made some really great saves tonight,” Ruberry said. “She’s one of the best goalies in the area and proved that tonight. The score could have been 11-0 in the first half if she didn’t make those saves.”
The passing ability of Krisko is what enabled the Irish to score as much as they did. Krisko continuously found Berg and Lorenc, piling up four assists on the night to go with two goals.
“Ali and I have been playing together since we were little, so we have great chemistry. I always know where she’s at,” Krisko said. “Liv is only a sophomore, but it feels like I’ve been playing with her just as long. She’s always in the right spots.”
The trio combined to score seven goals in the first half and all 11 in the game.
Berg, Krisko, and Lorenc typically score all the goals, but Ruberry said it’s the defensive players who make everything click.
“The three in the back — Reilly Jones, Reilly Nugent, and Caitlyn Sellers — do all the dirty work and work in the middle to make sure we get chances up top,” Ruberry said. “And Halle Nugent and Elle Nugent are the engines of the group. If they struggle, we struggle as a unit.”
Irish goalie Amelia Conroy had a light day in goal, thanks to those defensemen, only registering four saves on the day.
Breaking down the winning streak
During Bishop McNamara’s remarkable 16-game winning streak, the Irish have outscored their opponents by a seemingly impossible margin of 106-4.
The Irish also have a six-game shutout streak, with nine shutouts in the past 10 games.
The only team to score on Bishop McNamara in that timespan was Crete-Monee in a lopsided 12-1 win.
Along the way, the Irish captured their first-ever conference championship after running through the Metro Suburban Conference with a perfect 6-0 record, setting the school record for wins.
Berg scored five goals and had one assist. Lorenc scored four goals and had two assists. Halle Nugent added one assist.
The Irish will continue to chase down their elusive, first-ever, girl’s soccer regional championship, when they play at 4:30 p.m. Friday against the winner of Manteno’s and Reed-Custer’s semifinal match today.
“We really want to win a regional after losing in the championship the past three years,” Lorenc said. “We think this is the group that can do it and make history.”