As the IHSA girls soccer season hits the backstretch, Boylan and Freeport appear to be on a collision course for a big regular-season-finale matchup that could decide the NIC-10 championship.
"We've yet to really play our best game yet," Boylan head coach Taylor Meyers said. "So, we know we can only get better from here. And right now is when it starts to get really fun."
How we got here
Boylan (13-2, 6-0 NIC-10) keeps winning, and so does Freeport (10-1, 6-0), and they will meet on May 11 in the regular-season finale, most likely with the conference title on the line. They have each recently handed both Belvidere North (10-3, 3-2), with one of the area's most prolific scorers, Cortly Hefty, and Hononegah (5-5, 4-2) their only two NIC-10 losses of the year.
"We're playing good," Freeport head coach Nick Namio said, "but we haven't reached any of our goals yet."
Freeport has outscored its first 11 opponents 62-3, and its only loss was a 1-0 setback to South Elgin early in the year. Boylan's only two losses this season have come to still-undefeated Matea Valley, the defending Class 3A state champs, and to still-undefeated St. Charles East, ranked No. 2 in the state in the latest 3A poll.
Who's leading the way
Headed into May, Boylan had scored 63 goals on the season (with three star senior forwards spreading the wealth) and had given up 13 goals. Sophomore goaltender Natalya Razo has stepped up in a big way. Maggie Schmidt has 16 goals and 12 assists; Kyra Cruickshank has 15 goals and eight assists; and Izze Fritz has 10 goals and seven assists.
Freeport has scored 60 times (with 26 goals coming from junior Autumn Diduch), while goalie CiCi Powe had given up just three goals on the whole season.
Belvidere North's Hefty is leading the NIC-10, and the area, with 31 goals.
What's coming up
The Titans and the Pretzels have less than two weeks to get ready for the conference-title showdown, and for the postseason.
"We want to get to that game," Namio said, "with a chance to win it all. And with a chance to hit the playoffs running."
Freeport has Jefferson on Thursday; East on May 9; and then hosts Boylan on May 11. Boylan has Harlem on Tuesday, and then Guilford the following Tuesday, before closing it out with Freeport.
The IHSA postseason begins May 5 for Class 1A teams, and the following week for 2A and 3A.
Who got the best seeds
The IHSA just released its seedings for the postseason tournament, with Boylan earning a No. 1 seed in the Class 2A Burlington Central sub-sectional, with Freeport right behind with a No. 2 seed, and Belvidere North right behind them with a third seed.
Byron earned a No. 1 seed in the H-BR sub-sectional in Class 1A, with Stillman Valley at No. 2 and Winnebago at No. 3. Hononegah's sixth seed in the Harlem Setional is the highest for any local Class 3A team.
Jay Taft is a Rockford Register Star sports reporter. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @JayTaft. Sign up for the Rockford High School newsletter at rrstar.com. Jay has covered a wide variety of sports, from the Chicago Bears to youth sports, since the turn of the century at the Register Star, and for over 30 years all together.
This article originally appeared on Rockford Register Star: Girls soccer: Boylan, Freeport on a collision course for NIC-10 title