Vanesa Abad Lake Zurich
Each year, Vanesa Abad just seems to get better and better. Already committed to play soccer at Ohio State, the junior midfielder is making her second appearance on the Daily Herald's all-area team. Her exceptional ability was on display all season long and resulted in a team-best 15 goals and 6 assists while leading the Bears to the North Suburban Conference championship. "She is one of the fastest players that I've ever coached," Lake Zurich coach Michael Castronova said. "Our team is at its best when Vanesa has the ball and is going to the goal. She has the ability to change a game every time she touches the ball."
Marissa Allen Grant
Allen, just a freshman, showed great talent in her first high school season. She finished with the best single-season goal total for Grant in almost a decade with 14. Allen also had 9 assists. "Marissa has a knack for finding the back of the net," Grant coach Michael Kennedy said. She played well under pressure, too. Against Grayslake Central, from the left corner of the box, she struck a ball that hit the far post and went in, helping the Bulldogs net the Grayslake Central tournament title. Allen also tallied 4 goals and an assist in the Zion-Benton Invitational to earn a spot on the all-tournament team.
Brianna Bahlmann Vernon Hills
The strength behind the Cougars' defense for three straight years, Bahlmann has kept improving throughout her high school career. Bahlmann anchored the backline of the Cougars' defense as a junior this spring. "She has been starting as a sweeper in all three of her years," Vernon Hills coach Vince DeLuca said. "She's just a great defender that is hard to beat and plays with a lot of energy."
Jenna Baker Lakes
Baker took a leading role in starting the Eagles' attack. Scoring and assisting were big parts of her game, and she finished with 14 goals and 5 assists. Baker started for Lakes all four years; this spring she was asked to move back to sweeper at midseason, which helped the team net its fourth straight Class 2A regional title. Baker will continue playing soccer at Illinois Wesleyan this fall. "She was our playmaker all year," Lakes coach Kevin Kullby said. "She has great vision and timing on both sides of the ball. At sweeper, she did a tremendous job organizing the defense, making timely tackles and jump-starting the offense out of the back with her long-range passing and distribution."
Leah Baker Lakes
Scoring was the priority for this forward, and she surely delivered more than a Baker's dozen. The senior scored 15 goals, which included a hat trick in the Class 2A regional final. Baker was a four-year varsity starter for the Eagles and will play college soccer at Carroll College in Wisconsin. "She has been our leader on and off the field for the Lakes team," Lakes coach Kevin Kullby said. "As a frontrunner, she held the ball well and could get herself by most opponents to either score or set up teammates for scoring chances."
Jaclyn Brennan Grayslake North
Multi-talented and able to play in different spots on the the field, Jaclyn Brennan (6 goals, 4 assists) helped lead the Knights to their best season in school history. "If we had a starter out injured, in any position at all, we would slide Jaclyn in to cover for her and allow one of our younger forwards to slide in the attack," Grayslake North coach Adam DeCaluwe said. "Jaclyn was such a well-rounded player -- she can defend just as well as she can attack. When we saw a player that we wanted to shut down; we put Jaclyn on her and we no longer needed to worry about that girl being a threat."
Maisie Cox Lake Zurich
A smart player on and off the field and a four-year varsity standout, Cox was named to the Chicago Fire All-State All-Academic team and will be playing soccer next fall at Illinois Wesleyan. "She had an amazing season for us and was the major reason why we won the North Suburban Conference," Lake Zurich coach Michael Castronova said. "She was a fierce competitor and was the rock of our defense all season. She prevented countless goals for the teams we faced and helped us to 9 shutouts this season and 3 goals allowed over our last 8 games."
Lauren Del Prato Libertyville
Del Prato was the picture of consistency for the Wildcats and played every minute of every game this season. And she was the kind of defender opponents did not like to see. "Those who have played against her will attest to that," Libertyville coach Scott Schinto said. "She has been able to take her game to another level again this year. Libertyville had very few goals against us this season, and she is the major reason why. She is an all-area caliber defender and the foundation for our team. She has the ability to defend exceptionally well on 1-v-1 situations. Lauren is a natural defender. She is not afraid of contact, nor will she shy away from any 50/50 balls. She has great vision and is able to read attacking players very well."
Kelsey Hiegel Mundelein
Balance and consistency were a huge part of a successful season for Hiegel, who led the Mustangs with 5 goals and 4 assists. "She has been a four-year starter and has played at a consistenly high level over that time," Mundelein coach Ernie Billittier said. "She is a technically sound player who understands what it means to be a part of a team. As the only senior this year, and a role as captain, she led by example the entire season and provided our young players with a model of what it means to be a quality varsity athlete. The rock of our team, Kelsey has left a legacy of success at MHS and the ability to control the game with her work ethic, technical ability and tactical awareness."
Skyler Jessop Grayslake Central
Athleticism is her forte, whether on the soccer field or the basketball court. Jessop will extend her sports days playing soccer at Western Illinois in the fall. Jessop's skills led to 7 goals and 5 assists this spring as she helped lead the Rams. "She is one of the best athletes I have ever coached over the 10 years at Grayslake Central," coach Mike McCaulou said. "She was a four-year starter on varsity. She was a fierce competitor in every sense of the word. A leader on and off the field -- she will be very difficult to replace."
Meegan Johnston Carmel
On the attack, Johnston provided offense out of the midfield and finished with 8 goals for the Corsairs. "She played as our attacking midfielder this year, showing a good buildup play and helping our offense with her long throw-ins," Carmel coach John Halloran said. "She has a knack for going 1-v-1 at defenders and can make cross-field passes with either foot, something very rare for the high school game."
Chloe Juergensen Warren
Taking on a role at center midfield, Juergensen was one of many bright spots for Warren and helped provide some offensive spark with 6 goals and 2 assists. "The majority of the coaches we faced either asked who she was or commented on how good she is," Warren coach Ryan McCabe said. "She played a more offensive role than she was used to playing. She was extremely technically sound, read the game well and defended top players on opposing teams."
Shannon Jung Carmel
Versatility was the key for Jung, whose skill set proved most helpful to the Corsairs -- again. "She may be the most versatile player that I've ever coached," said Carmel coach John Halloran of the two-time all-area pick. "In her career, she played up top, out wide, as a center midfielder, as an outside back and this season, as one of our center backs. She was always willing to sacrifice her personal desires for the good of the team. She was an ultimate team player."
Katie Krejsa Stevenson
Krejsa, who will be playing at Dayton in the fall, ended up defining leadership for a Stevenson team that proved to be quite formidable. An all-stater and the honorary captain of the Daily Herald's All-Area Team, she finished this season with 22 goals and 11 assists. "Just a true leader," Stevenson coach Mark Schartner said. "She had a knack for going to the goal. It did wear on her and we had to come up with other options to help her game."
Michelle Lettenmair Grayslake Central
The Rams were looking for some backbone in their defense. Michelle Lettenmair fit the bill at sweeper, and she'll extend her playing days at Wisconsin Lutheran. "She was our rock on the back line this year and for the past three years," Grayslake Central coach Mike McCaulou said. "Without her, we would not get back-to-back conference championships (FVC Fox) and our first regional championship last season."
Amanda Macuiba Warren
A four-year starter, Amanda Macuiba made believers out of other teams with her ability in the goal not only this season but through her time with the Blue Devils. Macuiba was also named all-sectional and will be playing at Illinois Wesleyan in the fall. She finished this season with a 1.23 goals-against average and 8 shutouts. "She kept us in several games with her reaction saves, closing down 1-v-1 breakaways and being fearless in her own six," Warren coach Ryan McCabe said. "She distributes well out of the back, commands her backline and makes the difficult saves look routine."
Katie McGrath Grayslake North
It's not often that a player can be effective in two areas of the field within the same season. Katie McGrath did it, though, moving from her natural spot in the back to become the team's leading goal scorer with 10 and setting a single-season assists record with 11. McGrath helped the Knights to a FVC Fox Championship and the Lakes tournament title. "She made the switch to forward to help us find the back of the net more often," Grayslake North coach Adam DeCaluwe said. "Katie helped our team mature and learn to complete, as she transitioned into becoming our most prolific attacker. Her vision, touch, work ethic and natural instincts have really allowed her to become one of the best forwards in the area."
Sarah McHugh Carmel
Northern Iowa liked what it saw from McHugh, and the all-stater will head there next fall for a collegiate career. A repeat all-area pick, McHugh again made the Corsairs' defense go. "She has been the heart of the defense for the last two seasons," Carmel coach John Halloran said. "She plays with an incredible work rate and competitiveness and has been a rock for us. Even though she was our center back, she finished tied as our leading scorer with 9 goals. Her leadership will be missed."
Sydney Mudd Libertyville
Clearly, Mudd's best attribute was her sense of the field, and her knack for making things happen. Mudd regularly gave the Wildcats both and helped spark the offensive attack. "She has tremendous ability to strike a ball well with both feet," Libertyville coach Scott Schinto said. "She was by far the most technically sound on our team -- always in the right place at the right time, which is a compliment to her field sense. She has just started to realize how good of a player she can become with a little bit of extra effort. She has a knack of making the big play in critical situations."
Iris Ostrovsky Vernon Hills
Vernon Hills' keeper will be playing soccer next fall at Winona State. Ostrovsky had an outstanding senior season with a goals-against average of .73 and 12 shutouts to complete her four-year run as a starter. Ostrovsky also made 16 saves in the longest North Suburban championship game on record against Lake Zurich, which was decided by penalty kicks. "Plain and simple, a goalie's job is to make 1 to 2 saves a game," Vernon Hills coach Vince DeLuca said. "She did a great job of reading the game and knew when to come out strong to defend her goal. She was a top goalie in the area and showed it each and every game."
Julie Pecht Vernon Hills
Pecht was a versatile athlete that excelled on the soccer field following a terrific basketball season. A senior midfielder, she showed great leadership by example as she paced the Cougars with 6 goals and 1 assist. "She was our North Suburban Sportsmanship selection and outstanding senior female athlete for Vernon Hills, which is a great honor," said Vernon Hills coach Vince DeLuca of his repeat all-area pick. "She will be remembered for her great attitude and work ethic on and off the field."
Erica Slack Antioch
Antioch had a better season than expected, and consistent play across the board made the difference. Slack best exemplified that effort with 12 goals and 6 assists while providing senior leadership to a young Sequoits team. "Erica was a very smart and consistent player," Antioch coach Marni Polakow said. "She holds the middle well and can strike the ball with both feet. Erica scored many of her goals directly off corners and from free kicks. She was the heart and soul of our team and will definitely be missed next year."
Jenna Weiner Stevenson
Stevenson has seen a talented player develop right before its eyes. This year, the junior was a mainstay at midfield on the way to her second straight all-area selection after generating 9 goals and 13 assists. "She was one of the hardest working players at any level," Stevenson coach Mark Schartner said. "She even worked hard on the off days. Her on-the-ball talents were off the charts. She would hold against the other team's best players. She could chip the ball over the defense and find a teammate. You can only find that talent at the college level."
Olivia Whalen Stevenson
In her four years, Whalen was consistently a big part of Stevenson's 1-2 punch on the offensive end. This year, Whalen joined Katie Krejsa up top, but Whalen was a big talent in her own right, finishing with 14 goals and 8 assists. "She was a force in the offensive third of the field," Stevenson coach Mark Schartner said. "She was the one who made the quality runs. She could hold the ball and would make good decisions on her distributions. She was one of the those girls who didn't apologize for shooting and wasn't afraid of scoring."
Player School Pos. Yr.
Vanesa Abad Lake Zurich Jr. MF/F
Marissa Allen Grant Fr. F
Brie Bahlmann Vernon Hills Jr. D
Jenna Baker Lakes Sr. D/MF
Leah Baker Lakes Sr. F
Jaclyn Brennan Grayslake North Jr. D
Maisie Cox Lake Zurich Sr. D
Lauren Del Prato Libertyville Sr. D
Kelsey Hiegel Mundelein Sr. MF
Skyler Jessop Grayslake Central Sr. MF/F
Meegan Johnston Carmel Jr. MF
Chloe Juergensen Warren Sr. MF
Shannon Jung Carmel Sr. D
Katie Krejsa Stevenson Sr. MF/F
Michelle Lettenmair Grayslake Central Sr. D
Amanda Macuiba Warren Sr. GK
Katie McGrath Grayslake North Sr. MF
Sarah McHugh Carmel Catholic Sr. D
Sydney Mudd Libertyville So. MF/F
Ikie Ostrovsky Vernon Hills Sr. GK
Julie Pecht Vernon Hills Sr. MF
Erica Slack Antioch Sr. MF
Jenna Weiner Stevenson Jr. MF
Olivia Whalen Stevenson Sr. F
Catalina Abad (Lake Zurich Sr.), Mikayla Abbeduto (Antioch Fr.), Jordan Bauer (Libertyville Jr.), Molley Brandt (Stevenson Sr.), Mikaela Brown (Lakes Jr.), Megan Carroll (Mundelein Fr.), Michele Chernesky (Mundelein Fr.), Courtney Corrado (Vernon Hills Jr.), Eleanor Daleske (Lake Zurich Fr.), Reina Dionisio (Antioch Fr.), Kelly Ditmars (Warren Sr.), Diana Enriquez (Wauconda Sr.), Morgin Evins (Round Lake Jr.), Alex Fracek (Antioch So.), Meaghan Gelinas (Lake Zurich So.), Anne Geocaris (Stevenson Jr.), Alex Goldstein (Vernon Hills Sr.), Kaitlin Gramins (Vernon Hills Fr.), Jasmin Huerta (Round Lake Sr.), Hannah Jewell (Lakes Jr.), Stephanie Johnson (Mundelein Jr.), McKenan Joy (Mundelein Jr.), Allison Kelly (Libertyville Sr.), Alicia Knight (Wauconda Sr.), Cara Leoni (Wauconda Sr.), Hanna Levi (Stevenson Jr.), Bianca Mahoney (Round Lake Jr.), Sam Marsh (Libertyville Jr.), Katie Mason (Lakes Sr.), Katie McAuliff (Libertyville Jr.), Katie McCullough (Lake Zurich Jr.), Katelyn McDermott (Warren Sr.), Abbi McIlhany (Antioch Jr.), Allisa Menotti (Vernon Hills Sr.), Morgan Meyer (Stevenson Jr.), Bri Miller (Grant Sr.), Karly Moe (Warren Sr.), Nicole Mogged (Lakes Jr.), Leah Nehila (Grant Fr.), Jenna Pecorini (Grant Fr.), Nicole Rasiarmos (Lake Zurich Fr.), Laura Roncal (Wauconda Sr.), Elaine Sundberg (Libertyville Jr.), Danielle Tassi (Lake Zurich Sr.), Kenzie Verheyan (Warren Sr.), Alyssa Wilhelm (Grant So.)
Selections and capsules by Rusty Silber