Coach: Heather Thomas
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2012 finish: 11-12-1, 2-3-1 (UEC Valley)
Top returning players: Junior Amanda Lozada (GK), sophomores Josie Dombrowski (MF-F), Shannon Brohan (D)
Key newcomers: Freshmen Kaitlin Brohan (MF), Shelly Lyjak (MF), Jamie Kenna (D)
Outlook: Brohan and Dombrowski are the only returning starting field players back from last year, while Lozada started several games in goal. "We are very young, so offensively we will probably have some difficulties," said Thomas. "However, we're persistent, so my hope is we can catch some teams off guard and score early. We have a couple new center-mids that do a great job controlling the middle of the field. If we can work the ball through them and then get forward we have some experience up top that can put the ball away." The Hawks have several returning players on defense and will start a freshman at sweeper. "We have a couple returning defenders who will hopefully step up and become quick leaders on the defensive end of the field," said Thomas. The coach has been impressed with Lozada's development in goal. "Amanda is taking on the role of a great leader in the back," she said. "She has pretty quick feet that allow her to get from post to post and she has great foot skills that will hopefully allow her to see the ball back from her teammates. I have the utmost confidence in her in the back of the goal." Thomas also likes the team's competitiveness. "We are very feisty and never give up," she said. "This group of girls has a grace about them. They are so passionate about the game and soak up every piece of advice that we have given them. They are really good students of the game."
Burlington Central Rockets
Coach: Steve Berry (1st season)
2012 record: 16-7-2 (regional champions)
Top returning players: Senior Camille Delacruz (MF-F), junior Cali Andrew (F-MF)
Outlook: Berry is in his first year after replacing Mike Gecan. The Rockets, who won a Class 2A regional title last year, graduated all-area players in Madalene Stoneman (14 goals) and standout goalie Caitlin Solberg (11 shutouts). The Rockets do return Delacruz, an all-area and all-sectional selection last year who is signed with Northern Iowa and had an all-area basketball season leading the Rockets to the Class 3A Elite Eight. She scored 16 goals and had 13 assists and led the team with 63 shots last season. Andrew was an honorable mention all-area selection last season.
Coach: Ray Krystal
2012 finish: 13-5-1, 6-0 FVC Valley champions
Top returning players: Seniors Megan Townsley, Brittany Loehner, Kate Boyd, Krystal Felderman, Michelle Kalenda, Monica Weber, Cory Levels
Outlook: The Trojans graduated 9 seniors, including 8 starters from last year's team. "This team has plenty of opportunity for returners and newcomers to earn valuable roles and experience," said Krystal. Felderman returns to the starting goalie position. She was the starter her sophomore year. "There is plenty of opportunity for both veterans and younger players to step up into new roles," said Krystal. "The group has bonded quickly and has a strong desire to continue the traditions of the Cary-Grove program. They know the season will take a lot of work and the competition will be tough. However, their work rate and attitude has been first-rate. This should be an exciting year in the FVC." Krystal said one team to keep an eye on in the FVC Valley is Huntley.
Crystal Lake South Gators
Coach: Anne Santucci
2012 finish: 12-10-1, 3-3 FVC Valley
Top returning players: Seniors Macky Taldone (MF), Emily Schoenfeldt (D), juniors Bianca Miceli (F), Erin Woeste (MF)
Key newcomers: Junior Alexandra Siavelis (MF), sophomore Bree Marshall (MF)
Outlook: Taldone and Schoenfeldt are returning all-conference players and join Faith Brunner, Alexandra Romano, Audrey Collard, Woeste and Miceli as returning starters from last year. "The core of our lineup is very strong," said Santucci. She added the Gators have the ability to move the ball well. "We have more speed on top, which gives us a quicker counterattack," said Santucci. South has experience returning on defense, as well as depth. Both goalies this season are sophomores. "We have a lot of confidence in them," said Santucci.
Coach: Sebastian Falinski
2012 finish: 3-19, 1-5 (FVC Valley)
Top returning players: Seniors Jordan Fryer (D), Jill Wiechmann (MF), Brittney Gantz (MF)
Key newcomers: Freshmen Ashley Raby (F), Carson Bloch (F-MF)
Outlook: D-C returns 7 starters, including Fryer, Wiechmann, Gantz, Payton De Luga, Cori Schrade, Franki Scarpelli and Shannon Feld. Wiechmann was an all-conference selection last season. "This year's team is well-balanced with players with numerous years of varsity experience and many newcomers to the varsity," said Falinski. "I believe the season will directly be impacted by the leadership ability of our seniors and how well we can work as a team. We have plenty of experience to build off from last season, but it will be the consistency and leadership of the veterans and the growth of our newcomers that will make the difference. I believe our seniors will set the proper tone for this year and make it a successful one."
Elgin Academy Hilltoppers
Coach: Shannon Walter (2nd season)
2012 record: 11-9-3, 3-3-1 (Independent School League)
Top returning players: Senior Shayna Oriold (CMF), junior Veronica Clements (D), sophomore Alysson Wittmeyer (GK)
Key newcomers: Freshmen Melissa Trudrung (MF-F), Emma May (MF)
Outlook: Prolific goal-scorer Ashley Barnes graduated last year, but fellow all-conference players Clements and Wittmeyer return. "It should be an exciting year," said Walter. "We have some great upperclassmen and some very eager underclassmen. The seniors we lost last year left some big shoes to fill. I'm excited to see who is going to step into them. We hope to have another successful season with more wins in conference games. We have a very young team, so our lack of experience will be our biggest weakness." Walter said the ISL will feature a number of competitive teams including Willows, F.W. Parker, U-High and Latin School.
Coach: Patrick O'Brien (9th season)
2012 finish: 13-6-4 (7-3 FVC Fox)
Top returning players: Seniors Natalie Starrenburg (MF), Helena VanEck (F)
Key newcomer: Sophomore Lexi Maze (MF)
Outlook: VanEck scored 11 goals and had 8 assists last year, while Starrenburg had 9 goals and 12 assists, giving Hampshire some veteran scoring experience. "We have very good senior leadership on our team," said O'Brien. "Depth will serve us well. We have a number of girls who are overall 'soccer' players who can be used interchangeably on the field." O'Brien noted the team's schedule is loaded with top-flight competition. "We need to stay healthy and play hard every night," he said. "Our schedule is difficult and our best effort is going to be essential if we are to have any success."
Harvest Christian Academy Lions
Coach: Basilio Salazar (2nd season)
2012 finish: 7-12-1
Top returning players: Seniors Brittany Salazar (F), Tori Nelson (GK), Erica Manusos (MF), sophomore Morgan Lockwood (MF)
Outlook: Salazar was the team MVP last year after recording 16 goals and 4 assists. Lockwood had 4 goals and 7 assists, while Nelson recorded 5 shutouts in goal. Those three comprise a list of returning starters which also includes Lily Abbattacola, Cayla Arosen, Aliyah Ellis, Carol Kauffman, Megan Kells, Erica Manusos and Shayna Manusos. "Our offense will be experienced," said Salazar. "With new players we hope to balance some of them with our experienced veterans." Harvest lost only one defender from last year's team. "Our defense will be the strongest aspect since we only lost one defender," said Salazar. Salazar also is impressed with the team's work ethic and cohesiveness. "We are hoping to have a strong showing in our inaugural year in our conference (Northeastern Athletic Conference)," he said. "We plan to balance our experience with some new players to develop them to have an impact this year." IMSA is the defending conference champion and next-door neighbor Westminster Christian also is in the NAC.
Huntley Red Raiders
Coach: Kris Grabner
2012 finish: 14-6-4, (2nd place FVC Valley)
Top returning players: Seniors Crystal Hoffman (D), Taylor Hilbrandt (D), juniors Delaney Loprieno (F), Abigail Nordeen (MF), Jessica Galason (GK), Rachel Zobott (D)
Key newcomers: Sophomore Sam Bessey (F), freshmen Taryn Jakubowski (MF), Alyssa Kaufman (MF), Autumn Maraviglia (F)
Outlook: Huntley returns 16 players and 9 starters from last year's team that reached the sectional championship game. "We should compete for the Valley Division title again and we should be very competitive in the Pepsi Showdown," said Grabner. Huntley features four college-bound players in Galason (Illinois State), Hoffman (St. Francis-Indiana), Nordeen (Upper Iowa) and Loprieno (Northern Illinois). Grabner feels Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake South, Prairie Ridge and Jacobs will all be upper-tier contenders in the FVC.
Jacobs Golden Eagles
Coach: AJ Cappello
2012 finish: 15-7, 3-3 FVC Valley
Top returning players: Seniors Margaret Rivera (D), Kylie Dennison (MF), junior Kelly Grady (MF)
Key newcomers: Freshmen Talie Surges (MF-F), Alyssa Sandblom (F)
Outlook: The Golden Eagles return 5 starters from last year's 15-win team. Rivera (Northern Illinois), Dennison (Iowa) and Catie Sherman (Oral Roberts) are all Division I signees. Sherman is out for the season with an ACL injury. Rivera had 5 goals and 9 assists last year, while Dennison had 5 goals and 7 assists. Grady had 2 goals and 3 assists. "We have a great mix of experience and youth this season," said Cappello, whose team graduated 13 seniors from last year's team. "We have some holes that need to be filled. The underclassmen are very capable of filling these roles. It is just going to take some experience. We are bringing back a solid core that should keep us very competitive. The combination of experience and youth should create a solid team."
Coach: Ken Hall
2012 finish: 2-14-2, 0-4-2 UEC River
Top returning players: Senior Stephanie Leon (D), junior Jaci Bridgers (MF-F), sophomores Ana Leon (D), Mia Gill (D)
Key newcomers: Seniors Christina Reyes (CMF), Liza Moreno (OMF), sophomore Bernice Gomez, freshmen Sandy Maldonado (F), Samantha Moreno (CMF)
Outlook: Hall said an increase in athleticism will be a big help this season. "We are going to be a lot more athletic and I think we have more talent," he said. "Our team speed is going to be better and our skill is better. We will be able to compete better this year. We can teach soccer skills, but if they are athletic we can play with formations and do different things with them." Hall also is impressed with the team's general makeup. "They are very coachable girls and they like each other," he said. "They are very cohesive and they all hang out together. They like playing soccer together and I think that's a big plus."
South Elgin Storm
Coach: Tiffany Disher
2012 finish: 9-9-1, 1-5 UEC Valley
Top returning players: Seniors Andrea Walsh, Katy Santelli, Natalie Castro, Janette Salas, juniors Caitlan Lange, Anna Tracy, sophomores Veronika Noyszewski, Alyssa Shipon, Jourdan Vaulkner
Outlook: Disher said the team's strengths are its ability to pass and read each other on the field. Walsh and Castro are four-year starters. "We are fortunate to have two of our four-year varsity starters be our team captains this year," said Disher. "These young women have done a fabulous job bringing the team together both on and off the field. Their strong leadership will help us reach our team goals." Disher said the team has set out to move up in the conference, record an overall record above .500, score more goals than it gives up and try and win a regional title.
Coach: Matt Polovin
2012 finish: 9-12-3, 2-4 UEC River
Top returning players: Seniors Sharice Ellenwood (D), Kim Jimenez (F), junior Hannah McGlone (D), sophomores Tawny Carroll (F), Natalie Guindon (GK)
Key newcomers: Sophomores Rosa Miranda (D), Lauren Schiferl (D), Ilma Skrgic (OMF), freshmen Noemi Carillo (MF), Stephanie Corona, Christina Corona
Outlook: Carroll started as a freshman and had 10 goals and 7 assists last year. "She has gotten stronger and faster over the offseason," said Polovin. "She will be tough to handle by defenders on any team we play. Ellenwood is a four-year varsity starter. "Sharice has added more strength to her body and will take on more of leadership role this year," said Polovin. Jimenez also is a four-year starter. "With Kim and Tawny playing up together there is a tremendous amount of speed, work ethic and either of them being able to get behind defenders and finish regularly," said Polovin. Jimenez led the team in scoring last year with 15 goals and 9 assists. McGlone, who stands 6-2, is a three-year varsity starter and also a strong basketball player. "Hannah is an all-around tremendous athlete," said Polovin. "She uses her jumping ability and shielding efforts to hold the ball and get it out of danger. She is lethal in the air on corners and free-kick situations." Spike rounds out the list of four-year starters. "Briana comes in with a chip on her shoulder since she was counted on to mark the other team's best forward," the coach said. "She wants the same job this season and will do even more to make sure goal-scoring chances are few and far between." Streamwood returns 7 starters, including Guindon in goal. "Our goals are simple: listen, learn and play hard and smart every practice and especially in games," said Polovin. "We would also like to win the two tournaments we are in for more confidence."
St. Edward Green Wave
Coach: Tim Brieger (18th season)
2012 finish: 19-8-2, 5-4 Suburban Christian Conference
Top returning players: Seniors Rena Ranallo (D), Kim Smith (MF), juniors Corey Lepoudre (MF), Monica Ramirez (MF), Emily Witt (D), Allison Kruk (F), sophomores Megan Kearney (MF-D), Chelsea Gnan (F), Kathleen Duffy (D), Casey Gredzieleski (D), Paige Dykstra (GK).
Outlook: St. Edward, which advanced to the Class 1A supersectionals last year, is poised for another big season with a tremendously talented group of returning players. Kruk set the program record for most goals in a season with 19 last year. Gnan set the freshman record for most goals scored with 16 and the program record for assists with 15. Duffy played in every minute of every game for the Wave last season. St. Edward also set a program mark a year ago with 75 goals scored. "We're very excited about this group," said Brieger. "This group of juniors has started pretty much every game since they have got here. The two sophomores started every game and the seniors have started since they were sophomores. This is a group of girls that wants to build on last year. We have lot of experience."
Westminster Christian Warriors
Coach: Erik Schwartz
2012 finish: 4-8-2, 1-3-1 (Northeastern Athletic)
Top returning players: Senior Helen Berntson (D), junior Liz Meschewskie (MF-F), sophomore Whitney Woodhouse (D)
Outlook: Last year was Westminster's return to girls soccer after having no team in 2011. "The girls were very new to the sport," said Schwartz. "Last year was successful in terms of personal growth." Meschewskie was an all-conference pick last year after recording 10 goals and 5 assists. "Our program is still gaining traction as we move into our second year since not having a team," said Schwartz. "We expect better outcomes in the win column as our players have gained a year of experience. We are still a young team, but the players have shown they are willing to work hard and learn the game."
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