CHAMPAIGN — On a warm Friday night, it was the Champaign Central girls’ soccer team that kept up its scorching postseason run so far.
The second-seeded Maroons downed sixth-seeded Urbana 7-0 to earn a de-facto regional girls’ soccer title — the Maroons’ first since 2015.
Central has outscored its first two postseason foes 12-0.
“They know where they’re going to stand in Central history,” said Maroons coach Steve Whiteley, noting that Friday’s match constituted officially as an IHSA sectional quarterfinal. “I think 2004 is the last time we’ve had a record like this. ... We don’t need (a regional plaque) to justify the type of season we’ve had.”
That season will get a chance to continue into next week when the second-seeded Maroons (14-4-2) travel to take on perennial power Chatham Glenwood (13-0) at 6 p.m. on Tuesday on the Titans’ home field.
Central didn’t strike first until about halfway through the first half, but the Maroons dominated both sides of the ball from wire-to-wire.
Held without a shot in a 2-0 home loss to Central on May 15, the sixth-seeded Tigers (4-11) were able to muster only two attempts on Friday evening.
An onslaught of shots, meanwhile, peppered Urbana goalkeeper Rowen Grison-Sullivan. The junior collected four saves during the first 17 minutes of the match in just her third full match of the season
“She was amazing,” Urbana coach David Dunlap said of his keeper. “She came up huge for a goalkeeper that’s played three games with no training. I think she did an amazing job, and we’re proud of her.”
Two juniors populated the scoring column for Central with 22:20 remaining in the first half and a flurry of action followed. Claudia Larrison centered it up for Kinsley Stillman off a corner kick, with the latter finding the back of the net amidst a crowd of players to give Central a 1-0 lead.
A strong display of offense from freshman Sophia Adams began roughly five minutes later. With 17:40 remaining in the first half, Adams sliced past Grison-Sullivan, but her shot attempt missed wide. Over the course of the next seven seconds, she stole the ball back, centered up and buried Central’s second goal of the afternoon.
Adams would score twice more en route to a hat trick.
“It took a little while to get one,” Whiteley said. “We just had to calm some kids down to understand how they needed to finish.”
Central senior Kitty Rossow became the next Maroon to score with 15:53 left in the first half and the second to do so on a corner taken by Larrison. Seven minutes later, Adams scored again on arguably the most highlight-worthy goal of the day to give Central a 4-0 lead.
She placed her shot perfectly towards the upper right corner of the goal, which deflected off the outstretched arm of Grison-Sullivan.
“I think it’s just communication between your teammates,” Adams said. “Before the play happens, tell them what you want them to do, just communicate what you want to happen and it’ll happen.”
The second half began much as the first did, with Central maintaining offensive pressure but unable to strike for a goal. That changed when Adams connected for her third goal of the game, rolling in a slow score with 25:16 to play.
Junior Lainey Somers became the next Maroon to score with 23:45 remaining, avenging a penalty-shot miss during the first half, to give Central a commanding 6-0 lead. Three minutes later, Rossow flipped the script and assisted on a Larrison score for the final goal of the evening.
Sophomore Meg Rossow played the majority of the match in goal for Central before freshman Cricket Wagner spelled her late as the Maroons notched their 14th shutout of the season — and sixth in a row.
But on this night, it was Central’s offense that took center stage. Rightfully so.
“Once we got the one,” Whiteley said, “we just knew they were going to keep coming and we just wanted to keep getting more.”