Girls soccer: Scouting Lake County
NORTHERN LAKE COUNTY
Coach: Marni Polakow (sixth season, 52-47-13)
Last season: 10-7-5, lost to St. Viator in Class 2A regional semifinal
Top players lost: Courtney Coleman (UMASS-Lowell), Lauren Slack, Kayla Vasquez
Top returning players: Karly Monaco Jr. D. (Iowa), Rachel Moore Jr. F, Ella Roberts Jr. MF, Monica Wilhelm Jr. GK, Megan Helgesen Sr. MF
Newcomers: Sam Champney Fr. D, Briana Galan Fr. F, Makayla Holway Fr. F, Kacey Meltzer Fr. D, Sarah Smith Fr. MF
Other players: Gracie Bouker Sr. D, Rebekah Cartlidge Sr. MF/F, Tessa Furlong Sr. MF, Christina Michaels Sr. MF, Danielle Brose Jr. MF, Morgan Keefer Jr. MF/F, Rachel Moore Jr. MF/F, Ella Roberts Jr. MF, Gabby Michaels So. D
Outlook: The Sequoits have been on the young side the last couple of years, but they boast experience this season. Included is all-area/all-conference junior goalkeeper Monica Wilhelm, who has made a verbal commitment to Iowa, and all-conference junior defender Karly Monaco. Senior Megan Helgesen and junior Rachel Moore were all-conference honorable mention selections last year. "We're returning a lot of talent, and many of them are finally upperclassmen," said coach Marni Polakow, whose Sequoits graduated 25-goal-scorer Courtney Coleman. "Our goals for this season are to compete for a conference and regional championships. If we commit to playing team soccer and defending as a unit, we will be successful and accomplish our goals this season."
Coach: Michael Kennedy (13th season, 64-114-19)
Last season: 2-18-2, lost to Crystal Lake South in Class 3A regional semifinal
Top players lost: Brett Aichholzer, Riley Riggs, Kaitlin Valenziano, Kate Vandervest, Kelli Varney
Top returning players: Brianne Barnes Sr. MF, Brittany Kolle Sr. F, Emily Miles Sr. F (Wisconsin Lutheran College), Hazel Moreno Sr. D, Sophia Richards Sr. MF, Madelynn Westoff Sr. D, Savannah Barnes Jr. MF, Samantha Kaye Jr. D, Rachel Ramirez Jr. D, Lexi Werve Jr. GK (Lenoir/Rhyne-NC), Grace Bujan So. D, Tiara Soeder So. MF
Newcomers: Jessivel Uribe Sr. F, Megan Munsterman Jr. F, Isabela Villareal So. MF, Melissa Valdovinos So. F, Brooke Barnes Fr. D/MF, Savanna Hoffen Fr. D
Outlook: Staying healthy and getting off to a great start are goals for the Bulldogs. Expectations are high thanks to a young group with a great deal of talent. The Bulldogs return a pair of all-conference players in Brianne Barnes and Sophia Richards. "It's a great group of girls who like to compete and have fun," coach Michael Kennedy said. "There are a lot of new faces so we will need to have the group bond together sooner than later. Hopefully, we don't have all the injuries that we had last year. Last season was a roller coaster with all the injuries and juggling the lineup every game. We have a lot of leaders on this team, and I'm looking to see the girls progress throughout the season. We just need to stay healthy, have fun, win some games and learn life lessons along the way."
Coach: Bethany Martin (fourth season, 29-21-9)
Last season: 8-7-5, lost to Lakes in Class 2A regional semifinal
Top players lost: Quin Garbett, Kaitlyn Wilson
Top returning players: Aly Hamrick Sr. D, Joslynn Smith Sr. MF/F, Maura Fitzgerald So. F, Grace Hermann So. MF, Katie Pearson So. GK
Newcomers: Mali Chiodi So. D, Hannah Kolb Fr. MF/F, Madeline Mussay Fr. MF/F, Alyssa Ruffalo Fr. MF/F, Emma Stopka Fr. D
Other players: Corrine Larson Sr. M (Westminister College), Stephany Madrid Sr. MF, Hannah Theer Sr. D, Emily Bez Jr. D, Meghan Kube Jr. D
Outlook: The Rams have four freshmen and four sophomores on their 15-player roster, but the team has talent. "Although we're young this year, we have a lot of quality on the team," coach Bethany Martin said. "I'm having a great time working with this group of players and have high expectations for them. They are a group of hardworking girls with great attitudes and a drive to compete. In order to be successful this year we need to start scoring goals. I want the girls to be competitive in every game we play in and find a way to finish chances in close games."
Coach: Adam DeCaluwe (11th season)
Last season: 15-6-3, lost to Prairie Ridge in Class 2A regional final
Top players lost: Rachel Getzinger, Ashleigh Hansen (Northern Michigan University), Meghan McCue (Roosevelt University), Gillian Mueller, Kelly O'Brien, Abigail Rice, Corryn Smith (College of Lake County)
Top returning players: Cammy Cowperwaite Sr. MF/F, Tania Garcia Sr. D, Iman Hamilton Sr. MF, Sr. D, Morgan Lyon Sr. D, Sr. MF/F Sydney Paez Sr. MF (Northern Arizona University), Lauren Davis Jr. MF/F, Rosie O'Malley Jr. D, Maddie Wilkenson Jr. MF, McKenna Brooks So. MF/F, Katelyn Dameron So. D, Emily Dunne So. MF/F, Jordyn Gerdes So. MF/F, Lauren Hansen So. MF
Newcomers: Kelly Petrillo Sr. D, Sophia Deligiannis Sr. D, Sarah Rauch Jr. MF, Ariana Gotshall Fr. MF/F, Emma Hochstein Fr. D, Maddie Kubas Fr. D/MF, Nicole Lacke Fr. MF.
Outlook: The Knights have a number of talented returning players, including all-area selections Sydney Paez (Northern Arizona), Lauren Davis and Morgan Lyon. The Northern Arizona-bound Paez was named all-state. Davis scored 19 goals in also earning all-sectional honors last year. Paez (10 goals) and Lyon are two-time all-area choices. The Knights could be a team to watch in the new Northern Lake County Conference. "We're excited for the season ahead as we are returning a good group of players who are ready to lead the young players that have joined us this season," coach Adam DeCaluwe said. "We're looking forward to competing in our new conference, while also getting to see some teams that we have never seen before. With several key players returning in important areas of the field, we're looking to be disciplined, organized and committed to the what the team needs in everything we do."
Coach: Kevin Kullby (12th season, 138-98-18)
Last season: 10-8-3, lost to Lake Forest in Class 2A regional final
Top players lost: Jenna Binkley, Courtney Geske, Nicole Nitti (Carthage)
Top returning players: Izzy Quaranta Sr. D, Jacque Pettigrew Sr. D, Bella Pighini Sr. MF/F (Western Carolina), Lindsay Smith Sr. MF, Alyssa Bombicino Jr. MF
Other players: Kaitlyn Baertsch Sr. F, Molly Bakrins Sr. GK, Lindsey Krumpula Sr. MF, Elizabeth Tovar Sr. MF, Savannah Sikora Sr. F, Sarah Bradbury Jr. D, Calista Haas Jr. D, Payton Landy Jr. GK, Rylie Matchett Jr. F, McKenna Maxson Jr. F, Casey Moczynski Jr. F, Hannah Morway Jr. D, Mikaela Pacourek Jr. F, Daniella Adams So. D, Conway Faith So. MF, Simone Lippman So. F
Outlook: The Eagles could be flying high this season. They'll be led by Western Carolina recruit Bella Pighini and fellow seniors Izzy Quaranta, Jacque Pettigrew and Lindsay Smith. Pighini, Quaranta, Smith, Pettigrew (honorable mention) and Alyssa Bombicino (honorable mention) all made the all-conference team last spring. "We have experience and we have good players," coach Kevin Kullby said. "But are we good enough to compete with the best of (Class) 2A? That remains to be seen. Certainly, we should be in a position to win the new NLCC. But to get out of the regional, we have to get a top-four seed, which means we have to get wins in the area, wins against 3A opponents."
Coach: Josue Jimenez (third season, 14-23-1)
Last season: 8-11-1, lost to Cary-Grove in Class 3A regional semifinal
Top players lost: Michelle Hernandez, Evelyn Torres, Yuritzet Villa
Top returning players: Jasmine Cruz Sr. MF, Alex Wawrzyniak So. MF
Newcomers: Jessica Arteaga So. D, Claudia Hernandez So. F, Daisy Lemus So. D, Giselle Raygoza So. GK. Dana Devera Fr. F
Other players: Eleane Flores Sr. F, Fatima Gomez Sr. D, Michelle Paz Sr. MF, Marijose Ruiz Sr. D, Bianca Cordova Jr. D, Daniella Guzman Jr. F, Selena Vazquez Jr. D, Susana Albor So. MF, Leslie Gamboa So. D, Katherine Najera So. MF, Ciqual Rodriguez So. F, Tays Rodriguez So. MF, Citalli Suarez So. MF
Outlook: The Panthers won just eight games last season but return sophomore midfielder Alex Wawrzyniak, who earned all-area and all-conference honors last year. Senior midfielder Jasmine Cruz was honorable mention all-conference. "We will be a very young team," coach Josue Jimenez said. "We need to be more offensive, and I believe that we can improve on this with the players that we have. Possession of the ball is going to be crucial in order for us to create opportunities. I expect our confidence level to be higher because the girls saw that last year, and it was a good year for us. I believe the program has been improving. More of my athletes are playing in the off-season, which is helping us a lot. Our goal is to improve on our record from last year and improve with results in our new conference."
Coach: Beau Shogren (second season, 14-3-2)
Last season: 14-3-2, lost to Lake Forest in Class 2A sectional semifinal
Top players lost: Emma Lewandowski (tennis), Ally Magiera (St. Norbert), Haley Meyer, Marissa Miller, Brittany Stepanian (Carroll)
Top returning players: Aimee Berg Sr. D, Erica Miller Sr. MF (University of Dubuque), Natalie Thompson Sr. MF, Olivia Kuch So. D, Rachel DeNovo Jr. MF, Annalyse Maze Jr. D, Jillian Rejczyk Jr. GK, Kayla Wisniewski Jr. F, Abigail McHugh So. MF
Newcomers: Kayla Llewellyn So. MF, Megan Sinnott So. F, Savannah Johnson Fr. D, Morgan Lung Fr. MF
Other players: Katie Flammini Sr. F, Josie Karg Sr. F, Leah Leoni Sr. MF, Briana Vargas Sr. F, Gabi Reyes Jr. D
Outlook: The Bulldogs had one of their best seasons in school history last year and return 13 players. The group includes two-time all-area junior forward Kayla Wisniewski, who had 22 goals and 10 assists last season. Wauconda won the North Suburban Prairie Division title last year, and the returning players also include all-NSC selections Erica Miller, Aimee Berg and Oliva Kuch and honorable mention all-NSC choices Rachel DeNovo, Abigail McHugh and Natalie Thompson. "The expectations are high," coach Beau Shogren said. "We're definitely looking to repeat our success and then see how much farther we can go (in the state tournament). In order to do that, a lot of good things need to happen. We have some returning players and some fresh faces that need to play together and build chemistry. If we continue to play for each other and for our school, along with staying healthy, we can go far in the state tournament."
Coach: Michael Castronova (sixth season, 69-27-10)
Last season: 12-5-3, lost to Fremd in Class 3A regional semifinal
Top players lost: Madeline Blasko, Devon Kennedy, Jasmine Mirabelli, Abi Mulderink, Natalie Paparone, Emily Udelhoven
Top returning players: Tara Frank Sr. D, Madison Hart Sr. GK, Rebecca Kubin Sr. F (Murray State), Erin Neeson Sr. MF, Kyra Ripoli Sr. F (North Central), Siena Robertson Sr. D, Kristin Brousseau Jr. F, Samantha Hartman Jr. MF, Morgan Long So. MF, Mackenzie Parchment So. D
Newcomers: Mikayla McCreary Sr. MF, Claire Jones Jr. GK, Saffire Selof Jr. MF, Anna Biergans So. D, Callie Kleinke So. D, Rachel Krueger So. F, Maddie Piggott, Abi Willock So. D
Outlook: The Bears return seven seniors who gained valuable experience last year. All-Area senior forward Rebecca Kubin had 11 goals and 9 assists last season, and she and classmate Siena Robertson earned all-conference honors. Senior midfielder Erin Neeson was named honorable mention all-NSC. The Bears also have some younger players ready to contribute. "We have a good mix of returning players and newcomers," coach Michael Castronova said. "We'll have a competitive team that includes many experienced players and younger players who are ready to play. If we can come together as the season goes along, we can be a dangerous team."
Coach: Kevin Thunholm (first season)
Last season: 14-2-2, lost to Barrington in Class 3A sectional final
Top players lost: Bridget Burnetti, Elle Daugerdas, Mary Graham, Elle Hauser, Jordan Hertzler, Julia Neiweem, Danielle Pacholski, Gabrielle Struick, Annie Thompson, Al Watson, Jackie Widmark
Top returning players: Morgan Verbeten Jr. D/MF/F, Kelsey Gaines Sr. D, Mary Kate Mieszala Sr. D/MF, Emily Olson Sr. D/MF, Maddie Olson Sr. MF/F (Eastern Michigan), Natalie Jaroch Sr. MF/F, Taylor Underwood Sr. MF
Newcomers: Kayleen Gillespie So. MF, Molly Hazen So. MF/F, Emma Holleinger So. MF, Alex Houser So. D, El Imm So. MF/F, Silysa Lamb So. D/MF, Bryn Miller So. D, Mary Murphy So. MF/F, Kendall Edwards Fr. GK
Other players: Allison Tong Jr. D, Makenna Yoor Jr. MF
Outlook: Kevin Thunholm takes over for hall-of-fame coach Andy Bitta, who stepped down because of health reasons. Bitta won state championships with LHS's girls and boys programs and leaves with nearly 800 victories. He had a 310-77-26 record with the girls. Thunholm, who played for Bitta, has been coaching at his alma mater for the last five years. He takes over a team that includes all-area defender Maddie Olson (6 goals, 6 assists last year), who signed with Eastern Michigan, and her twin Emily, Morgan Verbeten (honorable mention all-conference last year) and Taylor Underwood. The Wildcats graduated four all-conference players. "We're a very young, small team," Thunholm said. "We have lots of talent with a high level of experience. We need to jell as a team, be physical and use our speed and skill. We always have an eye on state, but it's one game at a time right now."
Coach: Ernie Billittier (sixth season)
Last season: 12-7-3, lost to Libertyville in Class 3A regional final
Top players lost: Janeece Ader (Alabama State), Quinn Galindo, Kelly Grove, Emily Hay, Alexis Malka (Carthage)
Top returning players: Kristi Chernesky Sr. MF, Leah Goldman Sr. F, Lexi Pawlowski Sr. GK, Hadlee Linane Jr. D, Molly Mishler Jr. D, Myah Strokosch Jr. F, Nicole Robb So. MF/F
Newcomers: Morgan Albertsen So. MF, Stephanie Griparis So. D, Kate Hay So. MF
Other players: Amanda Bogseth Sr. MF, Lexi Brown Sr. D, Rachel Hansen Sr. MF, Emily Ollendick Sr. MF, Stephanie Zieger Sr. GK, Jackie Tyma Jr. MF, Lauren Loding So. D
Outlook: Coach Ernie Billittier and wife Courtney welcomed their first child (Ernie IV) on St. Patrick's Day. Maybe it's just the start of lots of joy this spring for the Mustangs. The senior leaders include Kristi Chernesky, Leah Goldman and Lexi Pawlowski. Juniors Myah Strokosch and Molly Mischler (honorable mention) made the all-conference team last spring. "Our goals are always to win the conference and win a regional championship and see where it takes us," Billittier said. "We have a nice group of players who are working hard. We will approach the season one game at a time and make adjustments as the season leads up to the conference (schedule) and postseason."
Coach: Kevin Heffernan (fourth season)
Last season: 9-8-1, lost to Palatine in Class 3A regional semifinal
Top players lost: Daniela Adjunta, Mackenzie Connington, Maddy Ding, Jamie Granick, Aisling Grant, Sabrina Illian, Emma Jaeger, Maddie Kempf, Amanda Konopacki, Savannah Kruse, Jill Morgan Traci Morgan, Taylor Spula
Top returning players: Camryn Cadiz Sr. MF, Hannah Petrich Sr. GK, Charity Shaw Sr. D, Jill Steinbrink Sr. F, Cassie Farber Jr. D, Lauren Micek Jr. D, Brianna Van Zanten Jr. F, Hannah Lapeire So. MF
Newcomers: Page Copeland Fr. D, Kirsten Kendler Fr. F, Mathilde Wiest-Puchala Fr. D
Other players: Samantha Friedman Sr. D, Emma Murphy Jr. D, Ana Koruna Jr. F, Rebecca Riekki Jr. D, Zoey Friedman Jr. GK, Kristen Hill So. MF, Katherine Sakshaug So. MF, Jennifer Staten So. MF
Outlook: The Patriots won the North Suburban Conference championship last year but graduated 12 players. They won't necessarily be rebuilding, however. The team returns a trio of all-conference players in senior keeper Hannah Petrich, senior midfielder/forward Jill Steinbrink and junior forward/midfielder Brianna Van Zanten. Midfielder Camryn Cadiz and defender Charity Shaw also provide senior leadership. Sophomore midfielder Hannah Lapeire was an honorable mention all-conference selection last year. "We don't like the term rebuilding," coach Kevin Heffernan said. "Let's say we are resurfacing players with a good mix of returning players and new ones."
Coach: Ryan McCabe (sixth season, 59-43-12)
Last season: 14-9-2, lost to Libertyville in Class 3A sectional semifinal
Top players lost: Teagon Albert (club), Haley Brock, Jillian Hansen, Sangjuin Homewer (Grinnell)
Top returning players: Kaitlyn Chomko Sr. MF (Nova Southeastern), Lindsey Hardiman Sr. MF (Loyola), Natalie McNally Sr. D (Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis), Alliyah Parker Sr. F (Lipscomb), Alissa Ramsden Sr. M (Illinois State), Lindsay Ditmars Sr. D
Newcomers: Carly Baun Jr. MF, Kate Wehyrich Jr. D
Other players: Jessica Dietzen Sr. D, Baylie Mabbett Sr. D, Kayla Malaker Sr. MF, Becca Pineau Sr. F, Skylar Reilly Sr. GK, Ellen Szostak, Sr. F, Ayusha Ayalur Jr. F, Jamie Kwon Jr. D, Lydia Sundberg Jr. GK, Courtney Chomko So. MF, Maddie Gryzik So. D, Hannah Rawhoof So. D
Outlook: Returning all-conference players Alliyah Parker, Natilie McNall, Kaitlyn Chomko and Lindsay Ditmars are back to lead the Blue Devils. Parker is a three-time all-area selection who had 13 goals and 5 assists last season. McNally also earned all-area and all-sectional honors last year. "This is the most experienced and most talented team I have coached," coach Ryan McCabe said. "We need to treat each day as a challenge and do our best to play in the moment. I am sure winning conference and advancing deep into the state tournament is what all teams strive for. We are no different."
CENTRAL SUBURBAN NORTH
Coach: Mike McCaulou (second season)
Last season: 10-8, lost to Wauconda in Class 2A regional final
Top players lost: Maddie Farag, Erin Vandermerkrt
Top returning players: Sammie Biede Sr. MF, Becky Bahlmann Sr. F, Katie Burrows Sr. MF, Lindsey Brettman Jr. D, Piper Bedell So. D, Ziggy Jerzoski So. D, Alex Ludolph So. F, Julia Neary So. MF, Ryan Schofield So. MF
Newcomers: Lexi Harte Sr. F, Abby Kempf Fr. F, Marley Reback Fr. MF
Other players: Alex Napierkowski Sr. GK, Emma Pappano Sr. D, Rena Roos Sr. MF, Frances Ferolo Jr. D, Aleen Lim Jr. MF, Cassie Pappano So. GK, Madelyn Woodrow So. D
Outlook: The Cougars will compete in the Central Suburban League North Division for the first time. They'll be led by senior midfielder Becky Bahlmann, who last season had 9 goals and 6 assists in earning all-area, all-sectional and all-conference honors. The Cougars also welcome back all-conference players Sammie Biede, Alex Ludolph, Ziggy Jerzoski, Julia Neary and Lindsey Bretttman (honorable mention all-NSC). "We have a solid group of kids that are willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good of the collective team," coach Mike McCaulou said. "We'll be well-organized and disciplined. We have a very difficult schedule with 14 of our 17 games against (Class) 3A schools."
EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLIC
Coach: Ray Krawzak (second season)
Last season: 12-3-4, lost to Fremd in Class 3A regional final
Top players lost: Cate Halverson, Lisa Harwardt (Carroll), Erin Johnston (Marquette), Tina O'Block (Carroll)
Top returning players: Haley Miller Sr. D, Abby Potter Sr. MF, Angie Salvi Sr. MF (Vermont), Kathleen Graham Jr. F, Lily Sykes Jr. D
Newcomers: Maddie Splitt Sr. F, Olivia Salvi So. MF, Clara Thomas So. D, Skyler Thomas So. F
Other players: Rachel Bierman Sr. GK, Ali Cepon Sr. D, Maddie Cusack Sr. D, Shanon Murphy Sr. MF, Grace Nolan Sr. D, Abrianna Williams Sr. GK, Riley Harmon Jr. F, Emma Heinrich Jr. F, Molly Machala Jr. D, Gianna Sarallo Jr. F, Sophia Sarkis Jr. GK, Jen Cutro So. F
Outlook: The Corsairs have had plenty of success the last few years and it should continue this spring. Nine seniors should be complemented by a number of talented underclassmen. Vermont-bound/all-area midfielder Angie Salvi and all-area junior forward Kathleen Graham lead the way. Salvi, Graham, Haley Miller and Abby Potter all made the all-ESCC squad last season. Salvi is a three-time all-conference selection. The Corsairs went 4-1-2 in the ESCC last year, losing only to conference-champ Benet. "Our goal is, 'Win ESCC,' " coach Ray Krawzak said. "We want to do better in the playoffs this year. I think we have a good team with a lot of experienced players."