Girls soccer: Northwest all-area team
Missy Adrian FremdNatural confidence gained from being a part of three state trophies earned on the hardcourt helped make this two-sport star into a top-flight forward for coach Steve Keller. "Missy became a leader on the field this year while imposing her will on our opponents," said Keller. "She played numerous positions as each game required different things from a well-rounded player such as her. It was a joy watching her think the game, while creating offense for her team." Good instinctive positional game, and surprising burst of speed allowed this two-year starter to get into threatening positions regularly. The co-athlete of the year at Fremd will play basketball next year at Bradley. Had 18 goals and 9 assists in her career and for the first time earned all-area, all-MSL and all-sectional honors at forward.
Jackie Batliner BarringtonTo fully understand the level the all-area team co-captain reached, you have to realize that even playing with a severe ankle sprain since supersectionals, this two-time all-state defender was a 100-minute marvel. "Jackie flat-out is the best defender in the state," said Barrington coach Ryan Stengren. "She is so unique in that she can get up and down the field with pace, speed and purpose, then turn around and shut down the best of what the opponents can offer. She can do everything at a very high level, but with her, it's all about hard work and the team before anything else, and that's what makes her so special." This four-year starter and three-time all-area and all-MSL standout will play next fall at DePaul University. The two-time MSL West player of the year collected 18 goals and 18 assists in her career.
Anna Brodjian BarringtonA quick return from off-season surgery to repair a torn ACL saw this two-time all-area performer make an immediate statement with a goal in her first game back before going on to bag countless game-winners and key goals all throughout the Fillies' state championship season. "Anna worked so hard to come back from her ACL, and really didn't play a lot of minutes during the first two weeks back," said coach Ryan Stengren. "But her presence up top for us alongside Ashley Prell helped make us more complete in our attack." Capable of playing anywhere across the attackling line, her surprising strength and crafty, clever work on the ball meant Brodjian was able to handle herself quite well against even the best of back-lines in the state. A trademark of this two-time all-MSL senior was her work rate, both at tracking back to disposses but also when initially in a high-press situation - essential traits for a top-level striker. Had 17 goals, 5 assists and will play at Western Michigan next season.
Marta Cholewa FremdUntil a season-ending ACL injury sidelined this two-year starter, Cholewa was a part of the best set of center-backs in the area along with MSL champion Barrington. "Even after suffering her injury, Marta kept a positive attitude and continued to help her team from the bench," said coach Steve Keller. "Her support, smile and instruction influenced her teammates more than she will ever know. And when healthy, she was a gifted played who was able to display her skills anywhere on the field while showing soccer instincts you can never teach." This classy first-time all-area and all-MSL junior was a voracious tackler, ball-winner, and 1v1 defender who had the skill to distribute and create out of the back.
Sarah Clancy PalatineThis two-time all-area junior brings a work rate second to none, and alongside her teammate Kacie Filian gives coach Willie Filian one of the best midfield duos around. "Sarah is a relentless worker from box to box and is also one of the most rugged technicians we've ever had at Palatine," said Filian, "and despite being fouled numerous times, Sarah never comes off the field." Cunning and crafty with superb dribbling ability and a low center of gravity, her close control, acceleration and link-up skills help the Pirates' attack tick. Bagged four game-winners -- all in 1-0 results -- for Palatine this spring. This three-time all-MSL choice and team captain finished with 7 goals and 6 assists.
Gina D'Orazio SchaumburgA high work rate, along with an incredible work ethic, distinguished this two-time all-MSL senior. "Gina is a great team captain and field general who has been the backbone of our team and program ever since coming aboard," says Saxons coach Greg Charvat. Comfortable on the ball, with the ability to go box to box with pace and purpose, D'Orazio also displayed great distribution skills to go with great dead-ball acumen. In addition to winning MSL all-academic honors, she earned the Seal of Biliteracy, awarded to a student who is fluent in both Spanish and English. Will major in journalism and minor in Spanish next fall at Ball State. Finished with 6 goals and 6 assists in her career.
Kacie Filian PalatineAlong with teammate Sarah Clancy, this three-year starter and two-time all-area junior logged more minutes (and miles) than anyone else on the Pirates' roster. "Kacie was our most effective and dominant player this season, and her ability to win tackles and nearly every aerial challenge allowed us as a team to keep opponents in their own end for long stretches," said coach Willie Filian. The aggressive style and determination to get the ball back when her team lost it was a joy to watch, and this co-captain's talents were a big part of why it was so difficult to play against the Pirates. Another 80-minute, box-to-box player, Filian scored 4 goals and assisted on 7 others this season to push her two-years totals to 17 and 13.
Mackenzie Filian PalatineA season-long battle with a knee injury kept the Pirates' co-captain from being 100 percent healthy, but she still led by example as the field general for her father and head coach. "This season Mackenzie led the team with her grit, desire and tenacity, while closing out her four-year career as our leading overall scorer during that time frame," says Willie Filian. Uniquely skilled at holding the ball up and providing off-the-ball movement made her key in Palatine's attack. Strong in the air with an uncanny ability to get on the end of set pieces, she finishes with 21 career goals to go along with 21 assists. A three-time all-MSL, two-time all-area and all-sectional choice, she will attend Iowa State next fall.
Anna Johnston St. ViatorThrust immediately into a starting role as a freshman when Mike Taylor handed over the gloves to this two-time all-East Suburban Catholic Conference keeper, Johnston's impact on the Lions this season after playing club soccer last season was sensational. "When Rory (Dames) won his three state titles in early 2000, he had incredible talent, but he never had a keeper like Anna, who, as far as I'm concerned is the best who has come through here without a doubt," says Taylor. "With her touch, she acts as a keeper/sweeper for us in the back, while her presence, awareness and shot-blocking ability are second to none." Johnston has 22 career shutouts after recording 8 this spring, and this first-time all-sectional and all-area keeper has already committed to play at New Hampshire in the fall of 2018. Johnston was named ESCC goalkeeper of the year.
Kayla Keck BarringtonA three-year starter, Keck was clearly one of the most well-rounded central defenders out there. She seemed to get even better in the postseason, including a marvelous 100 minutes of play in the state final, which included a cool, calm conversion in shootout. "Her soccer IQ is off the charts, as is her interception and tackling percentage, both of which are second to none," said coach Ryan Stengren. "Kayla is part of a defensive unit which allowed one goal in the MSL over the last two years, and just 6 this season." The SMU-bound senior has a real command of things in the air, making her a key weapon in set-piece chances, witnessed by the 12 goals she bagged ove the past two years. What adds to Keck's game is terrific speed. That acceleration leads to regained possessions, and she's skilled at linking with the midfielders, helping the Fillies' attack to flourish out of the back. A two-time all-area and all-MSL choice.
Courtney Lee Buffalo GroveA three-year veteran, this two-time all-MSL and first-time all-area selection was a driving force, along with teammate Georgette Topalis, for a super young Bison club which still captured its second consecutive MSL East title. "Courtney had a quiet demeanor, but her effort spoke volumes. She led by example, and her high energy and great work rate was contagious to our team," says BG coach Pat Dudle. Positionally, Lee always seemed to be in the right areas of the field and used her deep-lying midfielder role to good effect, spraying both short and long passes while showing pace, agility and a nonstop motor to provide endless running from box-to-box. Will play next fall at Carthage College in Wisconsin.
Julia Leonard FremdA missing piece of the puzzle dropped into place when Leonard (along with Katie Kiolbasa) returned from spending a couple of years in club soccer to give coach Steve Keller exactly what he needed. "Julia came back to us for her senior year and left an imprint on the program," Keller said. "She epitomizes what an athlete can accomplish through her intense work ethic, leadership, sportsmanship and grit, and she is a coach's dream, as she displays all the qualities that make coaching rewarding and fun." A true box-to-box, 80-minute performer, among her many attributes was her passing ability, tremendous connection percentage, unselfishness, first-rate defending and an unmatched soccer IQ. Truly a fun player to watch. Will compete next fall at Butler University. Finishes with 17 goals, 6 assists, an all-state honor and a two-time all-MSL selection.
Emily Mazurek ConantFor a second consecutive year, this two-time all-area and all-MSL choice went through an injury-filled season yet still led the Cougars with 10 goals and 11 assists. "If not for a few significant ankle injuries, Emily would have been a 20-goal scorer for us," said Conant coach Jason Franco of this four-year starter who wound up third all-time in goals scored with 46. Fast and powerful, the Conant captain relied on pace and instinctive finishing to make her mark as an out-and-out striker and target player. Also finished with 32 assists, confirming her knack for linking play, while also a highly capable defender when called upon. Will attend Iowa State next fall.
Stephanie Mazurek ConantAlready a two-time all-area, all-sectional and all-MSL selection, this super soph is a flexible midfielder who can play directly behind the forwards, to the left or right of them or even up top when the club requires some instant offense. "In my opinion, Steph is one of the most gifted young players in the state, and one that combines speed and power to turn the corner on even the most athletic defenders," says coach Jason Franco. "This season she developed a nose for scoring big goals for us, usually bursting out of the attacking-mid." Marvelous with either foot, and dynamic going forward, Mazurek bagged 9 goals this season (along with 9 assists) to give her a two-year total of 16 and 15.
Ashley Prell BarringtonIt really could not have gone much better this spring for the sophomore who announced her progression from budding talent to full-blown big-time player in the space of 12 months. "Ashley was a project when she came to us, but the sky's the limit for her from here on out," said coach Ryan Stengren. "She became a prime time scorer for us, scoring big goals for us when we needed them, especially in the last half of the season, while giving us the type of high pressure on the ball which helped create chances for her teammates." Prell possesses great movement, technique and penalty box instinct, and added a clinical edge to her game to the tune of 15 goals, 8 assists for the first-time all-MSL, all-area selection.
Samantha Schmitz BarringtonTaking over a starting spot after former all-state keeper Hannah Luedtke, Schmitz quickly became a similarly dominant presence during her second full year in the Fillies' lineup. She's just completed a remarkable postseason, ending with 2 brilliant saves (one of them in shootout) to help the Fillies claim their first-ever state title ever. "Sam showed everyone at the state tournament what we see every day in training -- that she is an unbelievable shot-blocker who is capable of making a big save when it counts the most," said coach Ryan Stengren. "She leads from the back despite us having three seniors in front of her, and when you see how hard she works to get better, you would be amazed." Schmitz has cat-like reflexes, impressive control of the ball, and is fearless in one-on-one saves, but it's her composure which makes her among the very best. This first-time all-MSL, all-area and all-sectional junior collected a dazzling 21.5 shutouts, while recording a tidy 0.23 goals-against average.
Carolyn Soukup PalatineThe return of the Pirates' fourth co-captain from two years away playing club soccer for Sockers FC was key for coach Willie Filian's team, which stayed in the MSL West title hunt right into the final game of the regular season. "Carolyn began as our sweeper because of her experience and ability to organize, but it was her move into the middle which gave our attack a much needed offensive spark and bite. She was an outstanding addition to our team and program," says Filian. A high soccer IQ made nearly every touch effortless and productive. Soukup, a two-time all-MSL and first-time all-area pick, finished with 4 goals and 3 assists. She'll play next fall at Wisconsin-Parkside.
Sophia Spinell BarringtonThe championship season at Barrington was built upon an air-tight defense, superb goalkeeping, roster depth -- and its ability to create and score far more than the opposition. The Fillies finished with 99 goals in 29 games -- and Spinell had a hand in 43 of those goals. She finished with 17 goals and 26 assists, yet even that doesn't adequately sum up how important the four-year varsity standout and all-area team co-captain was to her team. "Each year Soph has gotten better, to the point where she is among the best, if not the best, at her position in the state," said coach Ryan Stengren. "She is a dynamic attacking player who can also defend with the best, while doing all the little things so well, and always with a high work rate." Very much a threat from wide areas, the Fillies' team MVP is quite capable of playing either flank with equal proficiency and first-rate technical ability, which allows for deep, driving runs into the other end. Just named an all-Midwest selection, Spinell will play at Miami (Ohio) next fall.
Julia Szylke FremdThis two-time all-area, all-MSL and all-sectional senior was easily one of the best and most well-rounded central defenders around. A physically imposing three-year varsity veteran, she had a real command in the air, as well as in the attack, in the Vikings' set piece opportunities. "Julia led a stingy defense (11 goals in 21 games) with her hustle, toughness and fight, but it was her tackling and ability to read the game that helped set her apart," said coach Steve Keller. "She is strong, skillful, and when needed, plays with a chip on her shoulder, and responds really well to coaching. She has left a mark on the program and will be sorely missed next season." Szylke competed in 57 games over three seasons and finished with 8 goals. She will play next fall at Harper College.
Kelsie Stone FremdAfter a remarkable 2016 season ended with this four-year starter earning all-state honors, the Drake University-bound keeper turned in yet another extraordinary final year for the Vikings. She repeated as an all-state choice, after preventing dozens of would-be goals from reaching the back of the net. "Kelsie developed into one of the best in the state, and easily the best here at Fremd," said coach Steve Keller, who has seen his fair share of great ones during his time in charge. "She has all the tools to succeed at the next level, and at times makes the position look easy when making big saves. She has improved her game in all facets, but more importantly, she has been a joy to coach, and is a wonderful young person." With impressive reflexes inside the box and a knack for airborne dominance, Stone finishes with 39 career shutouts. A captain for Fremd, she had a career-best 0.61 goal-again this season and amassed over 6,200 minutes played. Stone is a two-time all-MSL and all-area pick.
Haley Tausend BarringtonA three-year starter and two-time all-area choice, this senior was part of a record-breaking back line which conceded few opportunities during its run to a state championship this spring. Strong and accurate in the tackle, Tausend's positional excellence allowed her to make frequent interceptions before recycling possession to begin the next wave of the Fillies' attack. Simply put, this center-back evolved into one of the best around. "Haley was a rock in the back for us, an enforcer if you will, but she had such an amazing skill set for her size to help complement the rest of her teammates along the back," said coach Ryan Stengren. Tausend posed a threat in the air in every set-piece opportunity and used that same talent to be a dominant force with a 95 percent winning percentage. She will play next fall at Eastern Illinois after twice earning all-MSL and all-sectional honors.
Georgette Topalis Buffalo GroveShe personified her team with a style of play suited to her strengths: versatility in the final third, high work rate and tactical awareness, and the desire to lead by example. "You had to be impressed with her Georgette's fighting quality, which made her a winner, and was a major reason why our team went to the Soccer Bowl these last two years," said coach Pat Dudle. "She added to her game each and every year, and was a great role model for players that will follow here at Buffalo Grove." A two-time all-area choice and four-year varsity veteran, Topalis dictated rhythm and directed her team's offensive movements while showing an ability to go from one side of the field to another deftly, posing difficulties to any defensive scheme. A long list of postseason honors include: Two-time MSL East player of the year, two-time all-MSL, all-sectional and Female Bison Athlete of the year. A two-sport star (basketball), Topalis will play at Winona State next fall, taking with her 25 goals and 9 assists in her career.
Ashley Welk ProspectDuring her first full year in a full-time role, this sophomore impressed plenty of folks to earn first-time all-area honors, along with all-MSL and all-sectional acclaim. "Ashley is our most complete soccer player who embodies competitive spirit in order to be a dynamic player on both sides of the ball," said Prospect coach Tom Froats. "She is blessed with one of the highest soccer IQs that we've ever had in our program, and was the driving force on our team." Capable of playing at either flank in the attack with equal proficiency, the sophomore was very much a threat from wide areas, with admirable pace and technical ability.
Player School Yr. Pos.
Missy Adrian Fremd Sr. F
Jackie Batliner* Barrington Sr. D
Anna Brodjian Barrington Sr. F-MF
Marta Cholewa Fremd Jr. D
Sarah Clancy Palatine Jr. MF
Gina D'Orazio Schaumburg Sr. MF
Kacie Filian Palatine Jr. MF
Mackenzie Filian Palatine Sr. F
Anna Johnston St. Viator Jr. GK
Kayla Keck Barrington Sr. D
Courtney Lee Buffalo Grove Sr. MF
Julia Leonard Fremd Sr. MF
Emily Mazurek Conant Sr. F
Stephanie Mazurek Conant So. MF
Ashley Prell Barrington So. F
Samantha Schmitz Barrington Jr. GK
Carolyn Soukup Palatine Sr. MF
Sophia Spinell* Barrington Sr. MF
Julia Szylke Fremd Sr. D
Kelsie Stone Fremd Sr. GK
Haley Tausend Barrington Sr. D
Georgette Topalis Buffalo Grove Sr. MF-F
Ashley Welk Prospect So. MF
* -- all-area team co-captains
Special mentionElizabeth Dolce (Conant, Jr., D), Michayla Herr (Barrington, Sr., MF), Grace Kozurek (Hersey, Sr., MF-F), Ella Marzolf (Prospect, So., F-MF), Abigail Paolicchi (Schaumburg, Sr., D), Emily Sitkowski (Elk Grove, Fr, MF-F), Erin Smetana (Hersey, Sr., MF).
Honorable mentionDanielle Allaire (Buffalo Grove, Sr., D), Claire Callahan (Hersey, Sr., MF), Kathleen Celarek (Conant, Sr., D), Kaylin Feeley (Conant, Jr., MF), Jessica Felix (Maine West, So., MF), Emma Fister (Wheeling, Sr., D), Alyssa Floro (Buffalo Grove, Jr., MF), Vanessa Gallegos (Leyden, Sr., D), Anja Jacobsen (Palatine, Jr., D), Aby Kobler (Prospect, Sr., F), Kendra Lee (Buffalo Grove, Fr., D), Sarah Magnani (Maine West, So., D), Natalie Marfilius (Prospect, Jr., D), Payton McDonnell (St. Viator, So., MF), Maureen McGrath (St. Viator, Sr., D-MF), Ellie McCabe (Maine West, Sr., D), Ruth Mellos (Leyden, Sr., GK), Natalie Nagrant (Hoffman Estates, Sr., F), Katherine Perille (Rolling Meadows, Sr., MF), Christina Petrillo (St. Viator, Jr., MF-D), Claire Preissing (Rolling Meadows, Sr., MF), Al Schaar (Schaumburg, So., MF), Amanda Sitkowksi (Elk Grove, Jr., F-MF), Emma Slattery (Elk Grove, Jr., D), Shawna Stokes (Prospect, Jr., F), Nohely Suarez (Leyden, Sr., MF).
Selections and profiles by Mike Garofola