Girls soccer: Northwest all-area team
Emma Aguilar SchaumburgSome players seem predetermined for the top, but for others the route is more circuitous. The Saxons' captain was asked her freshman year to be goalkeeper to help stabilize the position, only to rise up and become Greg Charvat's hardest-working field general in the middle of the park, a leader on and off the field and a positive role model for all throughout the program. "Emma was versatile, dangerous in the final third, creative, fearless and became our target player when our top scorer (Dana Kiszkowski) went down with a season ending injury," says Charvat. A first-time all-area, all-MSL and all-sectional choice. Will play at Aurora University after 8 goals and 7 assists this season, and 17 goals and 13 assists in her career.
Zoe Blomquist Elk GroveBoth Blomquist and teammate Emma Slattery proved to be key figures in the Grens' run to the program's first MSL East title since 2002. Blomquist, a four-year veteran of the program, led the effort for coach Dean Burrier Sanchis at midfield. "In the true spirit of the Grenadier, Zoe is elegant yet gritty in the way she played. She does everything on and off the field with diligence, discipline and class. She was the ship captain, a true leader as one who doesn't want the credit or the glory, always seeking the greater good." This first-time all-MSL choice and all-area two-sport star (basketball) will play next fall at the University of Findlay in Ohio. This National Honor Society member bagged 5 goals this season.
Amelia Bottcher St. ViatorAn injury sent this junior into the Lions' starting lineup in the backline, and the rest was history. "Amelia was a godsend to us, as she moved in alongside Sam (DeJulio) and together they became a tremendous center-back combination who were not flashy, but made all the plays to be a part of a historic defense," said coach Mike Taylor. The Lions became the first team in the history of the ESCC to concede nary a goal in league play. Bottcher is aggressive in her willingness to attack the ball and win it back in determined style and this, along with her steady play, led to first-time all-conference and all-area honors.
Laura Burkhardt HerseyThe development of this team MVP this season turned the junior into a lethal striker thanks to first-class speed on the ball. "We gave Laura the green light to dribble and take players on, and with her explosive speed, great vision, ball control and a great outside shot, she was a big reason for our last season success," said her coach, Darren Llewellyn. This all-MSL, all-sectional and all-area first timer bagged 8 goals this season, giving her 21 along with 14 assists in her career.
Marta Cholewa FremdThe best center-backs have both a high soccer IQ and the ability to fuse timing and anticipation to win back possessions. This describes Cholewa -- but there's so much more to her game. "Marta has excellent touch, is a cerebral player and makes the game look easy," says Fremd coach Steve Keller. "She epitomizes the many attributes of a leader, displaying good sportsmanship in success and failure, is a role model for her teammates, and just a quality human being who lives the by the tenets the Fremd soccer program hopes to represent." Twice named all-MSL and all-area, she also is a first-time all-sectional pick and earned a spot on the all-tournament team at the prestigious Naperville Invite. Those honors join her various distinctions such as National Honor Society, High Honor Roll, Yearbook Editor, BPA State qualifier, and the Golden Rose Award winner at St. Theresa Church in Palatine for her volunteer work there. Cholewa will attend Grand Valley State next fall.
Sarah Clancy PalatineIt had already been established during her superb four-year career that this three-time all-area midfielder possesses a work rate second to none. But in her senior season, this box-to-box machine was asked to do more than ever from her midfield spot after teammate Kacie Filian suffered a season-ending injury at the end of the Pirates' basketball season. "Sarah is a complete player in all phases of the game -- skillful, quick, fearless in the tackle, the list just goes on and on," says Palatine coach Willie Filian. "She is a perfect example of what we're proud to call the Palatine High School brand of soccer, and a player who plays each and every game at 110 percent." This four-time all-MSL choiced and Pirates team captain played everywhere for Filian through her career, she earned all-sectional honors twice, while scoring 34 goals and providing 31 career assists. The catalyst in the Pirates' first regional title in six years this spring will play next season at Indiana State.
Samantha DeJulio St. ViatorDeJulio turned out to be the missing piece in the Lions' newly rebuilt backline which set conference records on its way to a second-place Class 2A trophy last weekend. "What a great addition Sam was to our team, as well to our defense," said Taylor. "She is a terrific athletic, who reads the game really well, and the rapport she developed with (goalie Anna Johnston) was a key reason for us earning nearly 20 shutouts on the season and advancing into the state tournament." DeJulio's composed nature on the ball is the first thing that stands out, along with good positioning, tackling excellence and her communication with Johnston and her back-line mates. The junior earned her first all-conference and all-area postseason honors in soccer after earning an honorable mention in basketball.
Faith Fitzsimmons ProspectThis three-year starter set the tone for the Knights' thanks to the strength of her distribution, ability to out-dribble opponents and a passion to defend not normally seen from such a strong attacking player. "Faith was one of our team leaders who made a great leap forward from a year ago to command the center of the park, and be the key piece to our possession," says Propsect coach Tom Froats. "Her amazing leap in play to such a consistent, high level, plus terrific leadership on and off the field, makes her one we will sorely miss." Fitzsimmons had two game-winners among the 5 she scored this spring. An all-MSL and all-sectional choice, this National Honor Society and Class Board member will be at Illinois in the fall.
Miranda Glennon ConantThis two-year starter relished her role as an all-action, box-to-box midfielder who frequently operated as a disciplined deep-lying midfielder to break up play with interceptions and tackles. Just as often, she helped start the offense from that same spot, then joined the attack as well. "Miranda had a breakout year -- she added toughness and ball winning to her pace and skill set to become our do-everything player in the middle of the park," says Conant coach Jason Franco. "She will be sorely missed." The Grand Valley State-bound Cougars captain came up with a big goal or two along the way, including a brilliant game-winner to beat Batavia for regional crown. A two-time all-MSL pick and a first-time all-area choice.
Michayla Herr BarringtonEvery team in the MSL would have been improved by the presence of the Fillies' co-captain, who moves so swifly and quickly that at times it appears there are two of her on the pitch. "There's no doubt in my mind that Michayla is one of the top center-mids in the state," says coach Ryan Stengren, who counted on both Herr and Samantha Schmitz to lead a young team through their wild state tournament repeat ride. "We asked her to do more than ever due to our inexperience this season, and she did that and more for us." The three-year starter, and two-time all-MSL and all-sectional standout could see the entire field, and in a flash exploit it to her team's advantage. The Wisconsin-bound Herr stepped up to bag a game-winner in the state semifinals, then folllowed with the helper on Ashley Prell's key equalizer in state final.
Delaney Hoye ConantHoye combined strong positional awareness with speed and the ability to surge forward in the Cougars' attack. Her seamless integration into coach Jason Franco's starting lineup coincided with the strong finish by the MSL West runners-up and regional champs. "Delaney reads the game beautifully and had an outstanding games as our everyday center-back," says Franco. "She's a great 1v1 defender and makes quick and smart decisions on the ball, and we feel this is only the beginning for her." An all-MSL choice, Hoye also earned an all-sectional honorable mention.
Anna Johnston St. ViatorThe Lions likely would not have reached the Class 2A state final if not for this three-year star, who joins her counterpart from Barrington (Samantha Schmitz) as a co-captain of the all-area team. "We had a terrific bunch of players, many of them stepping up to give us great effort and heart along the way, but we had just one superstar, and that was Anna," says coach Mike Taylor. Among her accolades, Johnston was named ESCC Goalkeeper of the Year. "She kept us in games when we needed her to with goal-saving stops, commanded the box both in the air and with her feet to direct our attack, and was such a presence back there that at times I feel as though she intimidated opponents who looked to put something on frame. To me, she was the best 2A keeper in the state this year, and deserving of all honors she has received this season." Johnston will play at New Hampshire next fall, taking with her 40 career shutouts, 19 of them this spring.
Kendra Lee Buffalo GroveThis Bison sophomore has been a constant from the very beginning when coach Pat Dudle penciled her into the starting lineup. "Kendra had a fantastic freshman year, but this season her improved communication, organizing skills and distribution has helped make our back line even stronger," says Dudle. "She is not only class on the field, she is everything you want in a student-athlete." Lee combines top-shelf tackling and interceptions and also has the ability to muscle opponents off the ball in addition to providing quality free kick service. Was an all-MSL basketball choice and followed up with the same honor in soccer.
Stephanie Mazurek ConantAfter displaying powerful running and shooting skills paired with remarkable control in tight spaces, this three-time all-area pick earned a spot on the all-state team this season. "Her strength and pace cannot be stopped by one defender, in my opinion -- Stephanie is one of the toughest forwards to deal with in the state," says coach Jason Franco, who saw Mazurek thrive even against the Cougars' tough nonconference schedule. Skillful, direct and blessed with a predator's instinct, it was no surprise to see the junior more than double her scoring total from a year ago, jumping from 9 to 22. The MSL West co-Player of the Year nabbed her third all-MSL and all-area honors and her second all-sectional selection. She has 38 goals and 23 assists in her Cougars career thus far.
Payton McDonnell St. Viator
An immediate factor three years ago when she first started playing for St. Viator, McDonnell had a breakout junior season on both sides of the ball this spring to earn her first spot on the all-area team, to go along with all-sectional honors. "This is what we expected, only it took her a little while to come into her own," said coach Mike Taylor. "And now that she's here, she has become a top-flight player who can run our attack, score and defend with confidence." Thrice named all-conference, McDonnell was the link between the attack and defense, often providing ball-splitting passes to her teammates up top yet also disrupting opposing playmakers when required. She scored three straight game-winners in the postseason, including a brilliant free kick in the state semifinal to send Lions into the final for the first time since 2005.
Brinley McVeigh St. ViatorAfter two years away plying her trade at the Eclipse Soccer Club, this first-time all-area forward returned to become the go-to scorer for the ESCC champs, and her late-season scoring streak fueled the Lions' run to its 2A state runner-up trophy. "We were searching all season for that player who could strike fear in the final third and provide that one last piece to our team," said coach Mike Taylor. "And once we moved Brinley from the middle to up top, everything fell into place for us." McVeigh did finish exceptionally strong, bagging 17 of her 19 goals this spring in her last 10 games. Strong, tall and a physical presence wherever deployed, this first-time all-conference and all-area forward was a terrific long-range passer who always looked comfortable on the ball and was deadly in set-piece situations. McVeigh will attend Illinois next fall.
Juliana Moreno BarringtonAfter serving a kind of apprenticeship under her former all-area teammates, Moreno stepped to the fore this season and handled the important role as the Fillies' center-back. The result was the kind of unflustered and intelligent performance that has long been the hallmark of the Fillies' defensive tradition. "Juliana reads the game so well at this level -- her tackling is clean, sharp and accurate and she is surprisingly strong in the air for her size," says coach Ryan Stengren. Just a sophomore, Moreno was key in quickly rebuilding a back line which ended up conceding just 15 goals in 24 games. She had great success at digging possessions away from opponents in and around the box, using what Stengren calls dynamic speed. A first time all-MSL and all-area choice.
Ashley Prell BarringtonPrell's breakout junior season followed a terrific sophomore year in which she was a key figure in the Fillies' 2A state championship run. This three-year standout earned a place on the all-state team following her 21-goal, 11-assist spring, which included her brilliant equalizer in the state final against New Trier. "Ashley is one of the most dynamic attacking players in the state, and her performance this season, and especially in the postseason when she was playing with a badly sprained ankle, validates how special a player she is," says coach Ryan Stengren. "Her hard work and dedication turned her into a classic forward who could finish in a variety of ways." Prell pairs blistering speed and skills together with a tactical awareness that makes her a joy to watch. She has amassed 36 goals and 19 assists over the last two seasons, both of which led to all-conference and all-area recognition.
Madi Rosen BarringtonThis two-year starter is at her best on the overlap, regularly curling precision crosses into the box or to the back post. "Madi is so good when coming forward -- she's sneaky quick, is sharp in her tackling and can play physical when she needs to," says her coach, Ryan Stengren. "She's easily one of the best left-sided defenders around. She dealt with hamstring issues all season long yet still played at an elite level. She will be one of the best in the state next year." Comfort and precision with the left foot are valuable commodities, and this three-year veteran possesses both in addition to being a first-class dead-ball provider. That led to 10 assists, most coming from corners, for this first-time all-MSL and all-sectional choice in her junior year.
Molly Salerno Hoffman EstatesWith deceptive speed coming off the left wing, Salerno had a powerful and accurate shot to help complement her speed. That fantastic pace enabled her to be fierce in the counter, and as a result this four-year veteran earned first time all-MSL and all-sectional honors to go along with her considerable non-soccer achievements: MSL All-Academic, as well a second IHSA Academic Award. "Molly is a true ambassador of our program," said coach Jeff Bird. "She always is the first to step up to represent us, whether it was at incoming freshman events or as a spotlight athlete in Comcast Sports programs." The Hawks' scoring leader the past two seasons finished with 17 goals in her career, including 3 game-winners, to go with 16 assists. The Student Council treasurer nicknamed 'Miss Consistency' by Bird will attend Illinois State next fall to to pursue a degree in education, specializing in science.
Samantha Schmitz BarringtonEven before her performance in the state finals, Schmitz was a clear choice to co-captain this year's all-area team. But once again, she shone on the state's biggest stage, coming up with a second great goalkeeping performance in shootout against New Trier to help Barrington repeat as state champs. "Hands down, Sam is the best keeper in the state," says coach Ryan Stengren. "Her statistics aside, which are incredible, she is an amazing shot-blocker, fearless in close, unflappable in PK chances. She directs in the back like no other and is an incredible team leader along with Michayla Herr, and a major reason for our success this year." Schmitz frequently makes it look thanks to great positional awareness, but she also can make breathtaking acrobatic saves when called upon. This four-year varsity veteran is a two-time all-MSL and all-area selection who finished with a staggering 46 career shutouts. Schmitz will play next fall in the Ivy League, at Harvard.
Sara Sheridan Rolling MeadowsAn ankle injury left this three-year starter at less than 100 percent healthy in the Mustangs' near-upset of top-four seed St. Charles East in the playoffs, but Mike Drenth always received more than 100 percent effort from his first-time all-area midfielder. "We ran everything through Sara -- she could distribute, create, score . . . she could do it all, plus defend as well," Drenth said. With free reign to drift around the pitch, this box-to-box senior captain conjured up chances for others on her way to finishing with 30 assists and 17 goals in her high school career. Sheridan will take her all-MSL and all-sectional honors to North Central College next fall to continue playing after earning Academic All-Conference and Robert J. Hannon Senior Leadership Awards.
Helen Siavelis ProspectThe development of Knights' watertight defense can be directly linked to this unyielding junior, who plays with style and smarts each time out. "Her hard work and committment to personal improvement and team play have led to a tremendous amount of growth for our back line and overall team defense," says coach Tom Froats, who oversaw the stingiest defense in program history this spring. Siavelis, a first-time all-MSL and all-area choice, is strong in the tackle and in 1v1 challenges, yet stays composed on the ball when playing out of the back. Played nearly every minute of all 22 matches this season.
Emma Slattery (Elk Grove, Sr, D)
This four-year star caught the attention of conference coaches when they named her MSL East Player of the Year following a magnificent final season for the Grens. She also earned a second all-MSL honor to go with an Art Guild Scholarship award from the village of Arlington Heights. "Emma always finds a way to have a positive impact on every game. She was extremely reliable and was monumental to the 7 shutouts and 0.57 goals against average the team recorded," said coach Dean Burrier Sanchis. Quick and strong yet elegant on the ball, this Elk Grove captain enjoyed aerial superiority and a terrific positional sense, while providing piercing free kick service. Also a two-year varsity volleyball player, Slattery received an art scholarship to Illinois State.
Shawna Stokes ProspectWhen Stokes' standout teammate Ashley Welk went down with a season-ending injury, coach Tom Froats asked more of his two-time all-area choice. "Shawna is arguably one of our best overall players," Froats said. "We asked her to play both sides of the ball in the midfield, which required great work rate. But because she's one of our most fierce and toughest defenders, she was able to do all that we asked and more." Dynamic and dangerous with the ball, this two-time all-MSL senior was able to exploit opponents in 1v1 chances, helping her finish with 24 goals and 7 assists at Prospect. A member of both Knights Way and LINK, Stokes will attend Illinois State.
Tina Teik BarringtonThis Fillies sophomore combined with her all-state teammate up top, Ashley Prell, to form one of the most dangerous duos in the area. And the bad news for Barrington's rivals is that both are back again next spring. "Tina is very good with her back to the goal, and with her technical game, and her speed on the ball can break down just about any defense to create chances for herself and others," says coach Ryan Stengren. Teik can orchestrate play from a deep position or handle the free role, and her grace under pressure led to two-year varsity totals of 11 goals and 10 assists. A first-time all-MSL, all-sectional and all-area forward this spring, her performance in the state series hints at an even brighter future.
Player School Yr. Pos.
Emma Aguilar Schaumburg Sr. MF
Zoe Blomquist Elk Grove Sr. MF
Amelia Bottcher St. Viator Jr. D
Laura Burkhardt Hersey Jr. F-MF
Marta Cholewa Fremd Sr. D
Sarah Clancy Palatine Sr. MF
Samantha DeJulio St. Viator Jr. D
Faith Fitzsimmons Prospect Sr. MF
Miranda Glennon Conant Sr. MF
Michayla Herr Barrington Sr. MF
Delaney Hoye Conant Soph. D
*Anna Johnston St. Viator Sr. GK
Kendra Lee Buffalo Grove Soph. D
Stephanie Mazurek Conant Jr. F
Payton McDonnell St. Viator Jr. MF
Brinley McVeigh St. Viator Sr. F
Juliana Moreno Barrington Soph. D
Ashley Prell Barrington Jr. F
Madi Rosen Barrington Jr. D
Molly Salerno Hoffman Estates Sr. MF
*Samantha Schmitz Barrington Sr. GK
Sara Sheridan Rolling Meadows Sr. MF
Helen Siavelis Prospect Jr. D
Emma Slattery Elk Grove Sr. D
Shawna Stokes Prospect Sr. F-MF
Tina Teik Barrington So. F
* -- All-area team co-captains
Special mentionChristine Batliner (Barrington, Jr., D), Lauren Burk (Fremd, Jr., D-MF), Taylor Cyr (Conant, Sr., GK), Sarah Magnoni (Maine West, Jr., D), Natalie Marfilius (Prospect, Sr., MF-D), Jennifer Norris (Fremd, Soph., GK), Allison Schaar (Schaumburg, Jr., MF), Ashley Welk (Prospect, Jr., MF).
Honorable mentionAva Bennett (Christian Liberty Academy, Fr., MF), Vanessa Bonilla (Hoffman Estates, Sr., MF), Alexa Davis (Rolling Meadows, Jr., MF-F), Becky Davis (Christian Liberty Academy, Sr., GK), Gabry Faraone (Maine West, Sr., GK), Macy Floro (Buffalo Grove, Soph., F), Anja Jacobsen (Palatine, Sr., MF), Alexa Joshi (Elk Grove, Fr., MF), Dana Kiszkowski (Schaumburg, Sr., F), Rachel Kandefer (Elk Grove, Sr., GK), Savannah Larsen (Buffalo Grove, Fr., D), Quintin Libit (Buffalo Grove, Fr., MF), Kathy Lopez (Hoffman Estates, Jr., F), Kate Mallek (Rolling Meadows, Jr., D), Ella Marzolf (Prospect, Jr., MF-F), Neida Ocampo (Conant, Soph., MF), Angelica Perez (Leyden, Sr, D), Christina Petrillo (St. Viator, Sr, D), Liliana Herrera-Reyes (Leyden, Jr., MF), Bridget Reynolds (Buffalo Grove, Fr., D), Nicole Sedlackek (Leyden, Sr., MF-D), Maeve Shumacher (St. Viator, Sr., MF), Melanie Simon (Palatine, Soph., D), Amanda Sitkowski (Elk Grove, Soph., F), Jessica Smeltzer (Conant, Jr., F), Jane Stefaniak (Hersey, Fr., D), Mackenzie Stein (Fremd, Soph., MF), Krista Thuer (Hersey, Sr., MF), Veronique Tolpygo (Christian Liberty Academy, Fr., F), Kari Webber (Wheeling, Jr., F), Emma Wilson (Hersey, Sr., MF).
Selections and profiles by Mike Garofola