St. Edward girls soccer coach Tim Brieger pulled his best P.J. White this past weekend as far as traveling is concern.
Back in November White, St. Edward's Athletic Director and head boys basketball coach, had the uncanny task of coaching in two different places on the same day -- helping Batavia win its first state football championship as an assistant coach in DeKalb, then catching a ride to Elgin to coach his Green Wave basketball team to a Westminster Christian tournament championship the same night.
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Brieger was in Champaign coaching the Green Wave in the Urbana Invite Saturday but had to come back to the Marriott Hotel in Hoffman Estates for the St. Edward Tidal Wave banquet, where he accepted the Gregory the Great Award for Excellence in Education, which is in dedication to Catholic education and values.
"Yeah, they gave me an award," said Brieger, who was forced to miss the Wave's 2-0 loss to Geneseo in the championship. "But I think there's so many other people I work with who should have won it. P.J. alone should have won it four times before I got it.
"P.J. and I are now in competition to see who can travel ridiculous amounts of miles for as many things in a single day. We went down Friday morning, played at 6 p.m. We played at 10:15 a.m., Saturday, the championship at 1:45 p.m., stayed for intros and the first 15 minutes of the first half. At 2 p.m. called my wife and said I was coming home, flew up I-57, drove straight to the Marriott, got to the hotel at 4:40 p.m. -- I was flying. Made it for the 5:30 Tidal Wave auction."
The weekend didn't stop there, as Brieger had to coach all three of his kids' soccer games and be at his mom's for dinner on Sunday.
"I think I fell asleep walking up the stairs when we got home," Brieger said. "There was a huge IHSA football event that P.J. was actually at. And between that, a high school event-mock United Nations or something, all the hotels were booked to the point where we needed 12 or 15 rooms for all the family and kids so we had to stay in Danville. We had to get down there and then drive back to Champaign, back to Danville. Then Danville back to Champaign."
Even though the Wave (7-2) lost in Champaign, they sealed a successful week. Allison Kruk scored her 51st career goal, which broke the all-time St. Edward girls record for goals scored. She'll try to eclipse assistant coach Chris Holze's all-time mark of 63 at St. Edward and Kruk has much time to do it.
"It's not like we've watered down the schedule, she's done it against hard competition," Brieger said. "We played St. Thomas More and the second we kicked it off they were like, 'there she is, find her!' They were yelling all over the field, 'number 11! '"
Even though the offense behind Kruk, Chelsea Gnan and Monica Ramirez is in good hands, the Wave has allowed just 6 goals in 9 games this season.
"One thing lost in the shuffle is our defense and our goalie," said Brieger. "We have five shutouts and we've given up six goals, four goals in the back. The most shots (goalkeeper Paige Dykstra) faced in a game is five. Kathleen Duffy, Emily Witt, Casey Gredzieleski and Paige in goal, they don't get the recognition. They don't get the publicity, people don't really know their names but they are fantastic back there. They allow us to do so much more."
Making due: Bartlett found itself on tennis courts practicing in the snow on Monday.
"They weren't thrilled coming outside, we're playing in the snow on the tennis court," Hawks' coach Ben Beary said. "We have to make due with whatever we can, it's going to be the best practice of the year, I guarantee it. We'll see how it turns out."
But 2014 has turned out to be a 180 compared to the 11-game losing streak the Hawks ended on in 2013. Insert Beary, a returning Kendra Videckis and a supporting cast of characters and you have Bartlett at 6-2-1 this season, fresh off a 2-0 win against Hoffman Estates Thursday.
"They don't take anything for granted," Beary said. "They've committed. They've showed up everyday trying to get a little bit better each day and we've been reaping the rewards of that."
That includes Videckis, who scored and assisted in the win against Hoffman and had 2 goals and an assist in a 5-1 win against East Aurora last week.
"We've seen her take large steps back toward where her potential could be," Beary said. "In the last few matches, she's managed to contribute on the score sheet in the goals and assists, couple games in a row now. So she's looking more like herself everyday and that's a good sign for us."
But Beary also added there's been some unsung heroes, including Josie Dombrowski, Shannon Brohan and Jenna Noesen, who Beary says, "as far as our success goes and the girls that aren't getting credit because they don't find the stat sheet, those three definitely deserve it. "
Bartlett starts a three-game stretch at Millennium Field today against Downers Grove South, Wednesday against Neuqua Valley and Thursday versus Elgin.
Streak over: South Elgin (7-1, 2-1) ended its best start in school history with an Upstate Eight Valley loss to Metea Valley on Thursday, but coach Tiffany Disher says the Storm's morale wasn't defeated.
"I think their morale is high," Disher said. "The good part about the loss is I think that now they understand what we have to work on. The girls are really motivated to get better, and they came out hard for their practices following."
One other thing the loss did was helped build their conference even more. It's a different team in recent years because according to Disher, the team gets along and has from the get-go.
"Everyone gets along, starting on such a good note has them all interested on soccer," said Disher. "They've taken it upon themselves to go out and watch other teams we're going to play and come back with scouting reports. They seem so much more into soccer this year than in years past."
One thing teams may be focused on is Savanah Uveges and the Storm's offense, but defender Veronica Noyszewski has really stepped up in the back, which helped South Elgin to 5 consecutive shutouts in the 7-win span, another South Elgin girls soccer record.
PepsiCo challenge: The No. 6 seed in the tournament, Huntley (8-2) poses a serious threat on its side of the bracket. The Red Raiders will have to get past Lake Zurich tonight at home, but any team according to coach Kris Grabner is considered dangerous.
"From a tournament standpoint, we're seeded ahead of some programs that have been some powerhouses for as long as I can remember," Grabner said. "The thing about this year is that it's the best depth I've ever seen. I think not being seeded means a whole lot. The depth of the tournament, anybody in those first round games, anyone could have won. Going into the next round, it's going to be a tough game."
To go through the Huntley defense will be difficult. Goalkeeper Jessica Galason has 8 shutouts on the season. It's not a coincidence that Huntley is 8-2 in the process.
"A lot of that is not just Galason, but a team defense," said Grabner. "We've got good defenders in front of her but I don't mean the three or four backs we play with, we've got midfielders that defend really hard and take time and space away and we're not giving up too many opportunities to people. That would be the biggest thing and then Jessica comes up big when we need her to."
Taryn Jakubowski has made quite the duo with Kaitlin Constantino over the last two games. Jakubowski notched game-winners in a 2-0 win against Oak Park-River Forest to start the PepsiCo Showdown and in a 1-0 win against Crystal Lake Central. Constantino assisted on 2 of her 3 goals last week.
"(Constantino) can distribute the ball from anywhere, whether it's hitting the crosses from wide, or finding our forward in the positions, she just brings endless effort," said Grabner. "Taryn, she has been outstanding all year, when she's scoring she's scoring. But at the end of the day, she's more than happy to pass the ball to someone else and give them the opportunity to score.
"It's a nice combination. (Jakubowski) is highly, highly technical. I know her record is 5,000 juggles without dropping the ball. And that's just amazing with the amount of focus you have to have to be able to do that for that long of time."
•Harvest Christian defeated Elgin Academy 5-1 in a nonconference, snow-filled win Monday. Ellie Burzlaff and Morgan Lockwood had 2 goals each for the Lions (3-1). Lockwood added 2 assists and 2 saves in net while starting goalkeeper Sydney Doby made 6 saves.
•Huntley volleyball standout Erin Lyman, who led the Red Raiders in kills and to a regional championship, committed Monday to Philadelphia University, an NCAA Division II school. Lyman was also accepted into the university's honors pre-law program, where she will receive a full academic/athletic scholarship in the process.