A girls season that started with a rush of activity, great early games, exciting in-season tournaments and some dramatic upsets, is suddenly down to the close of regulation this week.
The week is still rife with intrigue. The Class 1A state tournament begins in earnest this week with regional finals scheduled for the end of the week.
The Public League gets a moment in the sun, thanks to the conclusion of the city tournament on Thursday at Gately Stadium.
A wild quarterfinal round saw Curie beat Northside 1-0 in double overtime on freshman Lucy Gutierrez's goal. Junior star Jasmin Carrera continues her prolific scoring burst by adding two goals in the Indians' dramatic 3-2 win over Farragut.
Those teams meet in the first semifinal Tuesday at Lane Stadium, beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, Payton continued to thrash the opposition, using four goals by Michigan-bound star Corrine Harris to whip Lincoln Park 6-0. They meet Young, in the other semifinal. Emerging sophomore star Margaret Zahrah registered a hat trick for the Dolphins.
With junior midfielder Mia Espino back from a European sojourn, Young has demonstrated a much improved offensive attack the second half of the season. They also boast the city's best keeper, senior Rachel Hobert.
Harris has averaged two goals a game, scoring 27 goals despite playing just 13 games after missing six games from complications of an enlarged spleen.
Lane is attempting to become the first school to capture three consecutive city titles. The last team to beat them was Payton, during Harris' freshman season three years ago. Young is the only other city program to win consecutive titles.
Young hammered Payton 8-0 when Harris was out. Young and Payton 1-1, and Young and Lane tied 2-2.
The other major event is the championship of the Mid-Suburban Cup, which features a rematch of No. 7 Hersey (15-5-2) traveling to No. 8 Barrington (14-5) Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Fillies' best player, junior forward Molly Pfeiffer, suffered an injury in Barrington's conference clincher over Prospect. Coach Ryan Stengren said it is 50/50 whether or not she plays. "I'm more concerned right now about the playoffs," he said.
Hersey beat Barrington 1-0 two weeks ago. The Huskies, who won the East division with an 8-3 mark, suffered a rare two-game slide after No. 9 Conant and a dangerous Elk Grove team both edged Hersey.
In the prelude on Tuesday, the East teams that finished second through seventh travel to their West counterparts, in contests that begin at 4:30.
Here is that schedule:
No. 18 Buffalo Grove at No. 9 Conant
Elk Grove at No. 14 Schaumburg
Prospect at Palatine
Rolling Meadows at Fremd
Wheeling at Hoffman Estates
How good has been Barrington been in conference play? The Fillies have a 31-3 goal to goals allowed differential. Hersey is the defending MSL Cup champion. It makes a great conclusion to the regular season.