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updated: 5/15/2017 4:29 PM

Olson right at home as new Rolling Meadows soccer coach

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  • Sara Brunlieb was recently named most outstanding player in NCAA Division III regional play for Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

    Sara Brunlieb was recently named most outstanding player in NCAA Division III regional play for Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
    Submitted photo

 
 

Rolling Meadows didn't have to look far from home for its new boys soccer coach.

Not only has Brett Olson been in the program for the past seven years as the freshman coach, he also played at Rolling Meadows for the only two coaches in program history.

While serving primarily as a midfielder and defender for Meadows coaches Chuck Peterson and Peter Mikulak and earning all-area and all-conference status, Olson went on to play for two years at Benedictine University in Lisle where he was a Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference all-conference player.

"I certainly have always had the goal of being a head soccer coach," Olson said. "I always tried to be an extension of my coaches when I was on the field playing, and that has evolved into hopes of being a head coach."

He couldn't be more proud to take over at his alma mater.

"It's really a great honor for me taking over a program that I played in for four years in high school," he said. "I think it is even more special for me that there have only been two previous head boys soccer coaches, I was fortunate enough to play for both of them while I was here. A few alumni have also reached out and said they are excited that an alumnus is taking over the program, and that is great to hear that support from them."

Olson has been involved in soccer since kindergarten when his parents signed him up in a recreational program.

"I just really enjoyed the game right from the start," he said. "I was fortunate enough to have my father coach me for the first couple of years, and at such a young age it seemed like everyone was at least trying soccer out, so it was a great way to play with your friends."

Olson had an older cousin who lived in South Bend, Ind., that he looked up to.

"We would go watch his soccer games and tournaments," Olson said. "I would watch him and wanted to be like him because of how good he was. As I grew up, I had a great club coach in John Baruch with the Arlington Aces. I really enjoyed playing for him for my five years before high school. He had a great influence on me growing as a soccer player and a leader on the field."

Olson loves seeing versatility from his players.

"I like when they are able to play different spots depending on situations or opponents," he said. "I just ask my players to put up a battle no matter the score or time left in a match. I really like to spread the field out; allow for our guys in the middle of the pitch to be creative with the ball and distribute out wide to attack the defense from the wings."

He feels like he has come full circle taking over the program in which he played for previous coaches Peterson and Mikulak. He also played basketball and served as an assistant for current Mustangs coach Kevin Katovich.

"Both of my soccer coaches and our boys basketball coach (Katovich) really instilled an importance on relying on the veterans to help bring the younger guys along," Olson said. "Being up on varsity during my freshman and sophomore years, I had a lot of great juniors and seniors that provided excellent examples of what it took to be a successful varsity athlete. It's a message I've already relayed to the boys coming back next year and they're excited for what is ahead."

Meadows officials are excited about Olson taking order.

"The Rolling Meadows athletic department is excited to announce the hiring of Brett," said Rolling Meadows assistant principal Lisa DaRocha. "His enthusiasm, excitement and knowledge of soccer makes Brett a great candidate."

Baseball

Fontbonne University junior first baseman Ryan Schocker (Schaumburg) lifted a deep fly ball with the bases loaded that brought home the winning run to help the Griffins post a 6-5 win in their season finale against Webster University.

Schocker landed a first-team all-conference selection in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. He finished the season with a .377 batting average (tenth in the league) and 41 RBI (second behind the conference leader who drove in 42). Schocker collected 57 hits (fourth) and 12 doubles (sixth).

He was also one of the statistical leaders on the Fontbonne roster. His batting average was third. He led in RBI, tand was third in hits and second in doubles while owning a .510 slugging percentage which was fourth best.

To go along with 17 multihit games on the year, which included two 4-hit performances, Schocker drove in a season-high 5 runs on two occasions and 4 runs twice.

One of his 5 RBI games was highlighted by a grand slam home run against Spaulding University. He helped the Griffins earn coach Ryan Good his 200 career win at Fontbonne.

Softball

Wisconsin-Oshkosh senior Sara Brunlieb (Rolling Meadows) pitched seven full innings of relief to earn the 8-3 victory over nationally ranked LaCrosse in the championship of the Division III LaCrosse regional.

She scattered 7 hits and gave up just 1 run while recording 1 strikeout and issuing 1 walk en route to being named the most outstanding player in the regional.

It was the Titans' second softball regional championship and first since 1988.

With a 14-5 record, Brunlieb is the second winningest pitcher in UWO history with 59 career wins, surpassing Nila Gruenewald (1982-1985).

She is one of only nine active pitchers in Division III softball to have 50-plus wins.

She holds a 59-20 career record with 4 saves. She has pitched 504 innings, striking out 331, walking 95, allowing 169 earned runs for a career ERA of 2.36.

This season, Brunlieb ranks second in the WIAC in strikeouts, third in wins, fifth in innings pitched, eighth in ERA and tenth in opponent average (. 260).

She has been named first team all conference for the third consecutive year and nominated for the third consecutive year for Pitcher of the Year, an honor she was awarded in 2015.

Brunlieb is the 2017 Phyllis Roney Coaches Award Recipient. This award honors a female student-athlete at UW-Oshkosh who displays outstanding leadership, character, courage and sportsmanship. The award winner must achieve academic and athletic success, be a role model to others and provide service to the community.

Oshkosh took third this year in conference and broke into the top 25 in Division 3 ratings a few times.

What a catch

Illinois junior second baseman Leigh Farina's sliding catch of a pop foul made ESPN's Sports Center's Top 10 plays on Friday night. It closed the door on the Illini's win over Penn State in the Big Tournament game.

The Illini lost a heartbreaker on Sunday to top-seeded Minnesota 6-5 with a walk-off homer in the bottom of the seventh. Minnesota won the championship and is 53-3. The Illini and Washington are the only teams to beat Minnesota.

Farina was a second-team Big Ten all-conference selection.

"I am so proud of Nicole Evans, Breanna Wonderly and Leigh Farina," said Illini coach Tyra Perry of her all-conference players. "The Big Ten is one of the toughest conferences in the country and it is an honor to have three deserving players recognized from Illinois."

A breakout star in Big Ten play, Farina started all but one game at second base and ranked third on the team in batting average (. 309), while also contributing 17 hits, including 3 doubles and a triple, to go along with 9 runs and 10 RBI. Defensively, Farina ranked in a tie for fifth with nine double plays turned and was 15th with 46 assists in conference action. In overall play, the Big Ten Player of the Week (April 17th) ranked in a tie for fourth in triples (3), eighth in assists (106), tied for ninth in sacrifice flies (3) and tied for 12th in double plays (11).

Football

Wheeling multisport standout John Kappel has committed to Augustana. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound wide receiver, linebacker and safety was a four-year letter winner and Daily Herald all-area player for former Wheeling coach Brent Pearlman.

A Mid-Suburban League all-conference selection as a senior, Kappel caught 44 passes for 746 yards, averaging 17.0 yards per reception for Wheeling's Class 6A playoff qualifier.

As a junior, he helped lead the Wildcats to a Mid-Suburban League title, earning all-area honorable mention.

Kappel was also a four-year varsity player in coach Mike O'Keefe's basketball program and lettered once each in track and baseball for coaches Mike Kamedula and Jason Wieder, respectively.

He is planning on a business administration major at Augustana.

Men's lacrosse

Schaumburg's Matthew Eaker has committed to North Central University in Naperville.

Men's track and field

University of Illinois' Dave Kendziera (Prospect) won the 400-meter hurdles (50.88) in the Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Penn State. He also finished second in the 110-meter hurdles.

Women's track and field

Barrington senior Giavanna Schwager has committed to Augustana after serving as a team captain for coach Jody Gitelis' Fillies this year.

Schwager, who competed in throws at Barrington, posted bests of 33-9½ in the shot put and 105-7 in the discus. She also won the program's 'Most Improved' award.

Schwager also participated in basketball at Barrington, winning 'Most Improved' honors as a freshman.

A member of the National Chinese Honor Society, she is planning on majors in biology and psychology at Augustana.

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