Girls soccer: Northwest all-area team
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Mia Calamari Barrington
This three-year starter joined attention-grabbing teammates such as Molly Pfeiffer and Jenna Szczesny with her ability to win the ball in the air and on the ground. Her knack for efficiently distributing the ball was vital for the MSL champs this spring, whose control of the midfield was due in part to her appetite for closing down opponents. "Mia was a tremendous asset for us in the middle with her ability to win nearly every 50-50 ball, then to facilitate play going the other way," says her coach, Ryan Strengren. The junior worked hard to come back from a ghastly ankle injury last season to become one of the premier dead-ball artists in the area. A two-time all-MSL choice and first-time all-area selection, she finished with 6 goals and a team-high 12 assists.
Leah Celarek Conant
An early season injury set this talented two-time all-area striker back a few weeks and also stunted the Cougars' attack for a bit. But once the sophomore returned, her ability helped spark a wonderful run for Conant, which gave Barrington quite a battle for the division title. "We turned into a different team offensively when Leah got back, and the great chemistry she formed with (XXXX O'Keeffe) was key to us breaking down defenses while her work rate up top created so much pressure on our opposing backs," said Conant coach Jason Franco. Quick, skillful and with lightning reactions in the box, this two-time all-MSL and all-sectional choice still was able to bag 13 goals (26 in two seasons) despite not being at full strength until the second half of the season.
Catherine Ernst Fremd
Ernst made a massive jump in her varsity career in just one season under coach Steve Keller, who was pleased to see the improvement first-hand. "Catherine was the most consistent player on our team this season. Her improvement was in every part of her game. She has good skills with a smart soccer sense, and she always give her best effort and is very tough and physical, often marking the opponent's top player." An imposing defender who is also strong in the air, this first time all-MSL and all-sectional veteran supplies crunching tackles and always brings a high work rate and desire to defend and succeed. With her near 4.0 GPA, Ernst will attend the University of Illinois next fall.
Lauren Gierman Hersey
The Huskies' midfield maestro set the attack in motion, whether positioned deep behind the her mates, in the center of the park, or, on occasion, pushed up top when coach Brad Abel was looking for offensive inspiration. "Lauren had a breakthrough season," Abel said. "She is classic playmaker and scorer and she put up the numbers to prove it: 16 goals (30 in her career) and 14 assists (33 career). Her field vision is second to none, and she is clearly one of the best in the state at set pieces." Shooting power, finesse on the ball, energy, quick thinking, and the will to win all are reasons this three-year starter earned all-state honors to go along with a second straight appearance on the all-area and all-MSL teams.
Skylar Groth Buffalo Grove
Part of a three-headed attacking monster along with the Zickert twins, the Bison captain provided plenty of fight and ingenuity in her club's attack. She proved to be one of the most complete midfielders in the area with her ability to play both sides of the ball at a high level. "Skylar is the heart and soul of our team and is a selfless player who always puts the team before herself," said Buffalo Grove coach Pat Dudle. "She's elusive, has tremendous field vision, a non-stop motor and a high soccer IQ." Others obviously agree with Dudle's assessment as the junior was named MSL East player of the year and later netted all-state honors, along with her first appointment to the all-area team. Groth finished with 8 goals and 6 assists this season.
Allie Ingham Buffalo Grove
The versatile first-time all-MSL and all-sectional pick provided terrific pace, energy and physical play. Ingham seemed comfortable whether in the role of penalty box poacher and finisher, or as a crafty facilitator (8 assists) for a team which came to depend on the junior in her first full year with the MSL East champs and fourth-place state finisher. "Allie is cool, confident and collected, and she makes players around her better," said coach Pat Dudle. "We routinely move her around in areas of the field where the staff feels she will get her opportunities to help, and she never lets us down." Strong in the air, with an explosive finish, her 15 goals were second on the team, many coming during important conference and postseason matches.
Jessica Kovach Buffalo Grove
The primary role for this first-time all-area and all-MSL sophomore was to maintain position and possession behind her midfield mates, and she did so with flair for the state medalist Bison with a businesslike, never-say-die attitude and a tactical IQ far above the norm. "Jessica did so many of the little things that added to bigger things -- victories," said coach Pat Dudle. With so much bite in the tackle, the Bison captain broke up the opposition with ease, frequently using passing skill to find a teammate in close or launch the attack upfield. A master at keeping possession in front of the back four defenders, Kovach took most of her team's corners, but also lended a hand in scoring (4 goals) and providing scoring chances (7 assists) for others.
Amanda Kelly Schaumburg
This three-year starting sweeper and two-sport star (she also excels in basketball) continued a tradition of back line excellence from the minute she stepped into coach Greg Charvat's lineup. "Amanda is a great athletic talent with tremendous fitness who is also very competitive, and if you combine all of that of that with her leadership skills, you have one unbelievable player," says Charvat. Could have easily shined at midifeld based on her high work rate and soccer IQ, and ability to go box-to-box for 80 minutes. A two-time all-MSL pick and first time all-sectional and all-area choice, the Saxons captain scored 1,000 points during her basketball career and will continue to play at Illinois Wesleyan next fall. Kelly finished with 3 goals and 5 assists this season.
Hannah Luedtke Barrington
In just her second season with the Fillies, the sophomore was a first choice all-state keeper from her 23-team section. Under the tutelage of assistant coach Brian Allen, this all-MSL, all-area first-timer has already taken on many of characteristics of her coach, showing terrific composure, quick decision-making skill and positional savvy usually reserved for those more experienced than her. "Hannah has come so far, so quickly, in every part of her game, but her ceiling is so high because she works hard and is a great student of the game and her position," said Barrington coach Ryan Stengren. Athletic, tactically aware and capable of bailing out her side with highlight film saves when called upon, Luedtke finished with a 0.28 goal-against and 15 shutouts.
Chloe Luthringshausen St. Viator
This nimble speed-burner was a highly proficent striker, with an eye for the goal during her four seasons with coach Mike Taylor, as evidenced by her 31 career goals. "As Chloe went, so did our attack, and when she was on, she was nearly unstoppable," said Taylor. "She could light up our offense and our opponent, and her ability to beat people, get to the endline and give a great ball to her teammates was something she did better than just about anyone else." The co-player of the year in the East Suburban Catholic Conference this spring, Luthringshausen finishes her prep career with two all-ESCC awards to go along with her first all-area, and all-sectional postseason honors. Will attend UCLA next fall.
Ashley McConnell Fremd
The other half of the Vikings' midfield engine when paired with teammate Michelle Mottonen, this two-year starter earned her first all-MSL and all-area honors with heads-up support play, unselfish distribution, air superiority and a high work rate to give coach Steve Keller the ideal all-around player to patrol the center of the park. "Ashley was our most gifted athlete," Keller said. "She excelled as a ball-winner, and with her speed and quickness she would track down the opponent from anywhere, while generating an attack on her own by penetrating and unbalancing the defense." The 4.0 student-athlete was also a 1,000-point scorer on the basketball court for the MSL West champs, and will continue to play next season at Illinois.
Emily Morin Barrington
Charged with bonding new-look defensive group this spring, the three-year starter and two-time all-MSL pick embraced the role, even when she when on the sidelines for two-plus weeks to an injury. "Emily's role as a leader along the back is something you almost take for granted, because she does it so well and without any fanfare, but she leads by example with a high rate, and in a very classy way," says Stengren of the four-year veteran, who served as captain this spring. Efficient, territorially dominant and honest in her commitment and application as the center back of a stingy Fillies defense, this first-time all-area honoree will attend Michigan Tech next fall.
Michelle Mottonen Fremd
After taking a year off to hone her skills away from high school, this two-time all-area selection came back to provide a calming presence for her team and became one of the most feared opponents around over the last three weeks of the season. "Michelle was our best technical player and could find teammates with precise passes to allow us to possess, or create much of our offense by taking on players in 1 v 1 situations," said coach Steve Keller. Featured primarily as a midfielder, the two-time all-MSL senior proved to be a creative scoring threat, as her 9 goals (17 in her career) prove. Mottonen finished with 19 assists as a sophomore during Fremd's fourth-place state finish in 2011. She will continue to play next fall at Texas Christian University.
Emily Novak Prospect
One of the best surprises of the season, this first-time all-area junior tripled her goal production from a year ago, many coming in spectacular fashion on free kick opportunities. That's a clear strength according to her coach, Tom Froats. "Emily is one of the best and accurate ball strikers that I've ever coached, and she is the epitome of a striker-finisher. She is so focused and has tremendous work rate, which gets better as the game goes on, and can play, technically, at a very high level, with the elite players in the MSL." With her exciting brand of offensive midfield play, the all-MSL standout scored 13 goals and had 5 assists this spring to help her club earn its highest sectional seed during Froats' 11 years in charge.
Erin Renee Murphy St. Viator
The heart and soul of the Lions this spring, the four-veteran was one of the few holdovers from the 2010 state runner-up team. The Iowa-bound midfielder was a master at breaking up opponents' attacks, and she was clever enough -- and skilled enough -- to manuever herself out of tight situations and playing the ball safely to a teammate. "She was the glue of our midfield and for our team, especially in the early going when our young backline was still trying to find its way," said coach Mike Taylor. The 80-minute warrior proved a force in the Lions' set-piece and dead-ball chances, and was second on the team with 8 assists. The Lions' captain earned all-East Suburban Catholic Conference and all-sectional honors.
Although featured as the Knights' defensive midfielder during her freshman year and in the early going this spring, the all-MSL, all-sectional sophomore was moved to the backline after a season-ending ACL injury to a teammate. It didn't take long for this first-time all-area performer to show why she plays this position with her club team. "Nobody plays defense with more heart, desire and intensity, and she is the player we assign to shut down the opponent's best player because of all those skills," said coach Tom Froats. A model player, who is tactically aware, and strong on the ball, Pettenuzzo appears ready to go to the next level next level in 2014.
Aimee Pierce Barrington
Always known as a quick, resourceful, and pacy outside midfielder during her first three seasons, an injury to teammate Emily Morin necessitated the move of this four-year veteran to the back line. Pierce never missed a beat, helping the Fillies stay stingy defensively down the stretch -- Barrington allowed just 1 goal in the month of May. "Aimee was the principal reason for our win in the sectional final over Boylan, as she effectively shut down their 47-goal scorer, Abby Reed,"said Stengren. "Aimee provides all the intangibles needed to have a successful program, and it's her always-positive attitude that we will miss." Pierce netted 6 goals and 11 assists during the past two seasons, earning all-MSL and all-area honors. She will attend Iowa State next fall.
Molly Pfeiffer Barrington
"What else can you say about Molly that hasn't been said?" asks her coach, Ryan Stengren. "You could begin by saying she is just a great teammate, because she is. Then you can continue by listing all the things she does, with and without the ball . . . the great games she has played during her four years . . . all of the postseason honors . . . and how much she has meant to our program." The Marquette-bound Fillies captain reached a level of play few attain, witnessed by her third appearance on the all-state team and followed by all-Midwest honors a week later. The Player-of-the-Year in the MSL West finished with 49 goals in her standout career after scoring 11 and assisting on 12 more this spring.
Jenna Szczesny Barrington
In a breakthrough season for the MSL champs, the Fillies striker led her team with 25 goals and appeared to get better and more dangerous with each passing game. "It's nice to see a player who worked so hard enjoy the payoff of all that extra time, and Jenna is the classic case for that," said coach Ryan Stengren. Off-season work fine-tuned the technique of the all-MSL and all-sectional standout, and made her capable of both calm and spectacular finishes. Blessed with superb speed and a howitzer of a shot, the sophomore is a hard worker who can also link play beautifully with teammates, which explains her 8 assists this spring. Her athleticism allows her to win the air war and score timely goals, such as the two she struck in the supersectionals to send her club to the state finals. Szczesny also had both goals in Barrington's third-place game triumph.
Emily Wary Elk Grove
Dan Klaus can't say enough about this four-year starter, who played just about every position and every minute for the Grens' coach during her four seasons at Elk Grove. "Emily was a defender for us during her first three seasons, and she was a key figure in setting a program record for shutouts (29) during that time," said Klaus. "But this year, she has literally played everywhere for us, because it's all about the team, and not herself. She plays the game just a little bit faster and harder than everyone else, and she gave our opponents headaches with her toughness, aggressive and relentless play." The all-action senior is fearless in the tackle, whether on the ground or in the air. Wary also could score, finished with 4 this season, including game-winners against Palatine and Schaumburg. Earned all-MSL honors in 2012, and a well deserved spot on the 2013 all-area team this spring
Drew Wentzel Conant
Truly a do-it-all defender, Wentzel's sound technique, tactical know-how and ability to strike a first-rate dead-ball made her truly one of the best at her position in the area. "Drew had a tremendous season," said coach Jason Franco. "She reads the game as well as anybody, tackles, distributes well, can find the back of the net on free kicks, and was key figure in our 13 shutouts (and 14 goals allowed) with two new faces on our back line." The two-time all-MSL, and all-sectional selection buried the game-winning free kick to give BG its first loss of the year in a regular-season finale, but it's her spirit, leadership and will to win which set her apart from all others. Wentzel also managed to contribute 3 goals and 2 assists.
Casey Weyhrich Hersey
A three-year standout, Weyhrich always seemed comfortable in whatever role coach Brad Abel had for her, whether as a scorer, a willing runner into the channels or distibutor from the middle of the park, or even as a roving midfielder who can play both centrally and out wide. "Casey was the leader of our team, and it will be that which we will miss most when she graduates," Abel said of the two-time all-MSL team captain, who also earned all-MSL and all-area honors during the girls basketball season. "She will leave behind a legacy that is right up there with the best that I've coached." Weyhrich had 15 goals this season, giving the Carroll College (Wis.)-bound all-academic standout 33 in her career, to go along with 20 assists.
Colleen Zickert Buffalo Grove
A technically proficient attacking player, this two-time all-MSL junior asserted herself in one of the best midfields around with a flair for both the sensational and the simply played ball, along with tactical nuances many are unable to grasp. "Colleen is very confident and composed on the ball, and can create space off the dribble to get a shot or an angle feed to a teammate," said coach Pat Dudle. With an unpredictable style that allowed this first-time all-area performer to pull things out of the hat at a moment's notice, her box-to-box play helped the Bison make program history, including winning the Pepsi Showdown. She finished with 8 goals and 9 assists this season.
Kelli Zickert Buffalo Grove
A lively mixture of mesmerizing dribbling, imaginative use of the ball and dead-eye finishing was all the more remarkable given how tightly marked the area's leading goal scorer was this spring. She finished with 31 goals after netting 15 the year before. "Kelli is one of the most technically sound players that I've seen," said coach Pat Dudle, "which makes her so effective in tight spaces, and allows her to break free to score or assist for others." While the two-time all-MSL, all-area junior gives away plenty in height and weight, she is proof that size isn't everything in this sport. Capable of unlocking the most resolute of defenses with her outlandish dribbling ability, the all-state standout can just as easily finish tap-ins or drill spectacular shots from outside the area. She also managed to provide assists on 11 goals this spring.
Player School Yr. Pos.
Mia Calamari Barrington Jr. MF
Leah Celarek Conant Soph. F
Catherine Ernst Fremd Sr. D
Lauren Gierman Hersey Jr. MF
Skylar Groth Buffalo Grove Jr. MF
Allie Ingham Buffalo Grove Jr. MF-F
Amanda Kelly Schaumburg Sr. D
Jessica Kovach Buffalo Grove Soph. MF
Hannah Luedtke Barrington Soph. GK
Chloe Luthringshausen St. Viator Sr. F
Ashley McConnell Fremd Sr. MF
Emily Morin Barrington Sr. D
Michele Mottonen Fremd Sr. MF/F
Erin Renee Murphy St. Viator Sr. MF
Emily Novak Prospect Jr. MF
Rosie Pettenuzzo Prospect Soph. MF-D
Aimee Pierce Barrington Sr. MF-D
*Molly Pfeiffer Barrington Sr. MF
Jenna Szczesny Barrington Soph. F
Emily Wary Elk Grove Sr. D-MF
Drew Wentzel Conant Jr. D
Casey Weyhrich Hersey Sr. F
Colleen Zickert Buffalo Grove Jr. MF
Kelli Zickert Buffalo Grove Jr. F
Haley Anderson (Conant, Soph., GK), Cindy Castillo (Wheeling, Sr., MF), Jackie Nailor (Hoffman Estates, Sr., MF), Kelly Naughton (Elk Grove, Sr., MF), Sarah O'Connor (Buffalo Grove, Soph., GK), Tressa Palcheck (Schaumburg, Sr., GK), Natalina Pena (Hoffman Estates, Jr., MF), Joanna Stanfa (Maine West, Soph., MF-F), Sarah Stram (Elk Grove, Sr., MF), Nikki Zaino (Elk Grove, Sr., F)
Alyssa Altosino (Conant, Sr., MF), Jessica Bachman (Palatine, Sr., D), Maddie Bennett (Christian Liberty Academy, Soph., MF), Bridget Burger (Maine West, Sr., D), Megan Brant (Hersey, Jr., D), Elena Cukurs (Prospect, Jr., D), Jenna Eakers (Schaumburg, Sr., F), Morgan Harris (Hersey, Jr., GK), Kayla Knauss (Hersey, Soph., D), Lauren Kohn (St. Viator, Fr., MF-F), Katie Lomas (Conant, Soph., D), Evelyn Lopez (Rolling Meadows, Sr., F), JayJay Lowery (Buffalo Grove, Sr., D), Bianca Madonia (Conant, Soph., F), Sara Magnuson (Hersey, Soph., D), Emily McTigue (Prospect, Sr., GK), Jennie Nailor (Hoffman Estates, Fr., D), Courtney Norenberg (Fremd, Sr., D), Jenny Ortega (Leyden, Soph., F), Jocelyn Potratz (Elk Grove, Jr., D), Morgan Radtke (Palatine, Jr., D), Kellie Reynolds (Palatine, Soph., F), Cynthia Salgado, Leyden, Sr., MF), Melissa Solorio (Elk Grove, Jr., GK), Ashley Torres (Leyden, Sr., F).
Selection and profiles by Mike Garofola
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