Sophomore Hazel Hall and her Riverside-Brookfield High School girls soccer teammates enjoyed a somewhat quiet breakthrough season.
The Bulldogs nearly sent shockwaves May 18.
They took Hinsdale Central to the brink in the IHSA Class 3A Regional semifinals in Brookfield before losing 2-1 after being outscored 4-3 on game-deciding penalty kicks.
“We’ve said multiple times this is what we’re working towards and trying to become,” Hall said. “We just proved we can play against any team. This is just the pinnacle of that.”
No. 10 sectional seed RBHS (11-10-3) took a 1-0 lead as junior Nina Bretz scored with 35:52 left in the second half, moments after a corner kick. No. 5 Hinsdale Central tied the game exactly three minutes later.
For the penalty kicks, RBHS shot first and Hall, senior Carmen Guerrero and Bretz converted. Senior goalie Reagan Peschke stopped the Red Devils’ third attempt to keep the score tied at 2, but Hinsdale Central switched senior goalies for the PKs and got two stops from Sydney Pjesky.
In their fourth game of the regular season March 21, the Bulldogs lost at home to Hinsdale Central 3-2 on a goal in the final minute.
They went on to share the Metro Suburban Conference title, their first conference crown since 2008 and only the second in program history.
“This is an absolutely special group. Even though we’re young, the quality’s there, the consistency’s there,” RBHS coach Ivek Halic said. “This was probably one of our best games, which is great, especially at the end of the season. A tough way to lose, but they left everything on the field. That’s what you want.”
Peschke was all-sectional and junior defender Jessica Sharenow was honorable mention all-sectional. Junior Lena Lembcke, Guerrero, Hall and Bretz also were All-MSC.
“[Our seniors have] been such an inspiration. They’re literally the backbone of our team,” Hall said. “We just want to give everything we can. When I’m a senior, I want to be like them.”
The Bulldogs (27-5) enter the IHSA Class 4A Whitney Young Regional winning six of their last seven after being blanked by Nazareth 6-0 on May 23.
RBHS beat Oak Lawn 5-3 on May 21 after three straight victories with double-digit runs. Winning pitcher Jax Giampetro (3-2) struck out six and allowed two hits over six innings. Owen Murphy hit two home runs and had four runs batted in.
Murphy (8-0, 0.14 ERA) threw a complete-game one-hitter with 13 strikeouts and two unearned runs in an 11-2 victory over St. Ignatius on May 18.
RBHS girls track
Junior Bryce Pacourek was 19th in the 800-meter run (2:27.02) at the IHSA Class 3A state preliminaries May 20 in Charleston with her second-fastest time ever. Pacourek was the No. 25 seed with her lifetime-best 2:26.82 at sectionals.
RBHS boys volleyball
The Bulldogs (15-21) lost to West Aurora 27-25, 25-22 in their Proviso West Regional on May 23.
RBHS finished 4-3 in the MSC, losing their regular-season finale on Senior Night to first-place St. Francis 25-17, 25-19 on May 17. Michael Burns (8 kills, 7 digs) and Landon Harazin (12 assists, 7 digs) were among the RBHS leaders.
RBHS boys tennis
The Bulldogs’ season ended at the IHSA Class 2A Lyons Township Sectional.
Senior Owen Leander came one victory from a top-four singles finish and state berth. Leander won his first match 6-2, 6-4 and lost in the quarterfinals 6-1, 6-0 to the eventual champion, Hinsdale Central’s Noah Hernandez.
In their IHSA state tournament debut, the RBHS boys (4-13) lost to Hillcrest Co-op 10-9 in overtime in the opening round of the IHSA Marist Sectional on May 19.
“It was a battle from start to finish and really could have gone either way,” RBHS coach Joe Urbanski said. “It was the most complete game we played all season on both sides and am truly proud of the fight we had.”
The RBHS girls lost to Trinity 15-10 in the opening round of the IHSA Hinsdale Central Sectional on May 18.