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updated: 8/30/2011 10:22 PM

Harper women's soccer team has high hopes

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By Jonathan Cregier

After finishing ninth nationally last season, the Harper women's soccer team is looking to improve on that finish in 2011.

The Hawks, however, have undergone some big changes.

Gone from last year's squad is North Central Community College Conference MVP Jaclyn LaRocco (Schaumburg).

In 13 games last season LaRocco accumulated a team-high 58 points (23 goals, 12 assists). She decided to sit out the 2011 season to concentrate on academics. Harper coach Dwayne Cruz hopes to have LaRocco for the 2012 season.

The good news for Cruz is the Hawks return their whole back line from last season.

In addition, Cruz has brought in a talented group of freshmen that will be asked to collectively pick up the pieces on LaRocco's absence.

"They're great," Cruz said of the new players.

One positive for the Hawks is they play there first five games at home before going on a three-game, two-state road trip Sept. 23-25.

The two most important games this season come on Sept. 7 and Oct. 7. Those are the dates when the Hawks take on rival College of DuPage.