It all comes down to this, as the last soccer team that is still alive in the IHSA postseason from the Rockford area, Boylan, gets set to take on Crystal Lake Central in Friday's sectional championship showdown.
The NIC-10 champs from Boylan were set to take on Belvidere North, powered by the area's leading scorer Cortlyn Hefty, but the Blue Thunder fell to Crystal Lake Central 2-1.
"They just played great defensively, and their goaltender made some strong saves against us," Belvidere North head coach Jeremy Naff said after his team finished 16-4, setting a new school record for wins. "It's tough not to be playing Boylan on Friday, but we have a lot of positive things that we can focus on from this year, including all those wins."
Now, instead, it will be the fourth-ranked Crystal Lake Central team that will take on the No. 6-ranked Boylan squad in Friday's sectional finale.
CLC's goalie Addison Cleary has surrendered just 19 goals on the season, while Boylan has four players who have scored double digit goals, led by Maggie Schmidt, who has 25 goals and 14 assists. Kyra Cruickshank has 22 goals and 14 assists, Joscelyn Posada has 14 goals and 15 assists and Izze Fritz had 10 goals and seven assists before tearing the ACL in her knee.
"The girls knew they had to come out and play their best soccer of the season, and they did," Boylan head coach Taylor Meyers said. "We have to separate ourselves from the pack, and now's the time to do it. The girls know what it takes."
The winner of Friday's match-up advances to Tuesday's Grayslake Central Super Sectional.
That winner moves on to the state tourney, played in Naperville on Friday and Saturday. The Titans haven't placed at the girls state soccer tourney since 2004. The Boylan boys won the state title two postseasons ago.
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: IHSA girls soccer: Rockford Boylan plays for sectional title