Lots of seniors. Lots of team chemistry.
That's the case so far, anyway, for Libertyville's girls soccer team.
Senior Katie McAuliffe fed classmate Gen Kapecki for the game's only goal, and the Wildcats netted a 1-0 shutout of host Highland Park in a nonconference match Saturday.
"We're playing well because we have a lot of seniors this year," McAuliffe said. "We have a lot of good team chemistry. Our possession and passing are coming together."
Libertyville is off to a 4-1 start, but coach Scott Schinto knows his team is far from a finished product.
"We did OK," he said. "I think there's a lot of things we still have to work on. We haven't been outside (due to the weather) and have practiced like four hours on the season.
"For what we're doing early in the season, I'm pleased, but we have a long way to go. Our girls play well together and that's half the battle. Now we have to work on tactics and get better."
McAuliffe set up the game winner in the 46th minute, drawing a couple of defenders before slipping a pass from the end line back to Kapecki.
"We've been working on that in practice lately, where the outside mid or forward takes it to the line and crosses it over to the other player," said McAuliffe, who had 8 goals and 5 assists. "We just ran that play and made it happen."
Elaine Sundberg made 5 stops and earned a clean sheet in goal for the Wildcats.
Highland Park fell to 5-3-1.
"Libertyville gave us some good challenges in this game," Giants coach Kate Straka said. "Their physicality and their play, we haven't seen that this year.
"I believe their goal came from their ability to push us off the ball. They were quicker and got an inch ahead of us for a goal. They play to their discipline. That's a tribute to their coach and their system."