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updated: 3/24/2012 6:04 PM

Round Lake aims high; Willows nets victory

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By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent

Seeing one of the best U.S. women's soccer players of all-time left an impression on Sydney Rose years ago.

When she was 10, Rose, now a Round Lake senior, was at Soldier Field when Mia Hamm played one of the last games of her outstanding career.

"I wanted to play (soccer) ever since I was little and saw Mia Hamm play," Rose said. "It pushed me. I was like, 'OK, I'm going to keep playing soccer. I want to be like Mia.' "

Rose wants to keep playing soccer after she graduates high school. She will continue her soccer career at Monmouth College.

Rose and teammate Jasmine Huerta, who plans to play at Robert Morris, will help anchor the Panthers' midfield this spring and provide leadership to a program trying to head in the right direction.

However, the two four-year varsity players couldn't help host Round Lake from dropping a 7-0 decision to small-school power Willows Academy in a nonconference match Saturday morning.

Willows (5-0), which has an enrollment of just 220 students, finished third in the Class 1A state tournament last year.

Round Lake (0-3) had a number of shots on goal in the first 20 minutes.

"If our girls make the runs, I just try to find them," Huerta said. "Sometimes it works. We just need to communicate from the back to the midfield. Once we get the ball, we try to connect with the forwards."

Willows got its first goal in the 23rd minute, as Stephanie Prince scored off an assist from Becca Krupowicz. The Eagles got goals from Krupowicz and Keelin McNally near the end of the first half.

The visitors added four more goals in the second half. Justine Burgraff scored twice, while Marilyn Prince and Katie Wisowaty had the other tallies.

Round Lake played without talented juniors Morgin Evins and Bianca Mahoney, who were on college visits.

"We were missing two key girls that could have made a difference," Round Lake coach Andres Orbe said. "We haven't been at full strength in any of our games. Once we get to full strength, we will be a much different team.

"We just need to be more disciplined defensively on our marking," Orbe added. "If we finished a couple of chances in the first half, it would have changed the dynamic of the game."

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