Girls lacrosse / Scouting the Northwest suburbs
Coach: Charles Solomon
2018 record: 15-4 (5-0 MSL, 1st)
Top returning players: Seniors Sedona Falco (midfielder), Maddie Lunn (midfielder), juniors Lauren Conduitt (midfielder), Amelia Lunn (attack), Sara Kennefick (defense)
Key newcomers: Senior Julia Stegvik (attack), juniors Caitlin Daugherty (goalie), Livi Smith (attack), Kelly Speichinger (attack), Bethany Gammariello (defense)
Outlook: The Fillies have plenty of firepower returning in Lunn (70 goals, 24 assists), Conduitt (46 goals, 10 assists), Falco (40 goals, 25 assists) and Lunn (36 goals, 16 assists). Kennefick is back on defense after registering 13 interceptions and 19 take-aways last season. Conduitt earned all-state honorable mention and was joined on the all-MSL team by Falco, Amelia and Maddie Lunn. "We have upgraded talent on both sides of the field in most positions, while returning our starting midfield, top attacker and top defender," said Solomon. Solomon pointed out top scorer Amelia Lunn is surrounded by athletic and fast attackers in Stegvik, Smith, seniors Naomi Babka and Annabelle Smith, along with juniors Ella Wickstrom and Speichinger, not to mention the return of the starting midfield in Falco, Maddie Lunn and Conduitt. "We expect to increase our goals-per-game average as well as with this speed, be more tenacious and defend better on any opponent transitions," said Solomon. Senior Campbell Henry and Daugherty are competing for the starting goalie job, while the defense is led by Kennefick, along with junior Gammariello and seniors Jillian Vlasak, Grace Tilles, Anna Gomolski and Erica Blasius. "We expect our goals allowed average to drop and our caused turnovers, groundball controls and interceptions to increase," said Solomon. The coach noted the team's minimum goal each year is to win the conference. "We believe we have our strongest team in the last three seasons and expect to win conference for the third straight year," said Solomon. "We were disappointed in the sectional championship with our second-half letdown, but we have upgraded our talent or experience at almost every position and we are designed and built for a longer playoff run."
Coach: Eric Jacobsen
2018 record: 10-13 (2-3 MSL, 3rd)
Top returning players: Seniors Emily Weishaar (defense), Hannah Shulman (midfielder-attack), Betsy Riley (attack), Abbey DiSalvo (attack)
Outlook: The Cougars return all-MSL performers in Shulman and DiSalvo. "We are looking forward to see who will emerge to replace Cassandra Jones' scoring," said Jacobsen, of the now Illinois Wesleyan freshman, who Jacobsen noted is doing "very well" there. "We could use multiple combinations of individuals for scoring." Jacobsen added a veteran defense will be a team strength. "They will be protecting sophomore goalie Abby Alcantara, who has improved tremendously," he said. Jacobsen said the team is always working on its chemistry and communication "as all good teams do." Jacobsen pegs Barrington as the perennial MSL favorite, "with Eric Gdowski's Hoffman Hawks as the dark horse contender," he said.
Coach: Keith Sorensen
2018 record: 4-16 (0-5 MSL)
Top returning players: Seniors Alex Buckingham (attack), Mia Fiore (attack), Kate Goodwin (midfield, attack)
Key newcomers: Juniors Meilin Bagel (defense, goalie), Katie Souden, sophomore Hannah Lang
Outlook: Buckingham scored 40 goals a year ago, while Fiore is switching to attack after scoring 20 goals from her defensive position last year. Goodwin is back after a season-long injury last year. Bagel, an all-state hockey player, will split time between defense and goalie. She's committed to Ohio Northern. Souden is a former soccer player that Sorensen labels an excellent all-around athlete. Lang has plenty of club lacrosse experience, while Grace Miller will continue her career at Concordia University. "The core of our team has played together for three years and we're expecting the girls to come together quicker this year and get off to a faster start," said Sorensen. "We are faster, we are learning to communicate better and we are more attentive to the smaller details of each play." Offensively, Sorensen likes the amount of talented shooters he has, while on defense the expectation is tall, strong and fast players in that unit will keep scorers out of the center. "We expect to cut down on shots from close range and once we force the other team out of the middle we will have a much better chance at forcing turnovers," said Sorensen. The coach added getting back to .500 is a key goal, along with getting a higher playoff seed and winning a first-round playoff game. "We need to improve our communication on the field, both verbal and nonverbal," said Sorensen. "On attack we need to communicate the play and then get everyone to be in the right place at the right time. On defense, we need to communicate about who we are covering, who will slide and who will crash."
Coach: Eric Gdowski (3rd season)
2018 record: 9/11 (1-4 MSL, 5th)
Top returning players: Seniors Kate Mongold (midfielder), Angela Zhou (defense), Jocelyn Lawrence (attack), Maha Hussain (attack), Alina Dekirmenjian (attack), juniors Chiara Hurd (midfielder), Charlee Campos (midfielder)
Key newcomers: Seniors Daisy Cruz (defense), Annette Pena (defense), Khushy Shkeel (defense), Jenny Santos (defense), juniors Ayushi Patel (attack), Hannah Trousdale (defense), sophomore Liz Guerrero (goalie), freshman Treasa Rustay (defense)
Outlook: Mongold is headed to Northern Michigan to play lacrosse, while Lawrence is off to Clarke University. "The strength of our team will be our senior leadership," said Gdowski, who is assisted by Maria Henry. "This is the most seniors we have had in our program's history. Most of them have varsity experience and understand what it takes to be successful in our conference." With that experience, Gdowski expects a faster offense, "because they know the offense, which hopefully translates into more scoring opportunities," he said. Gdowski said new goalie Guerrero, a sophomore, has looked strong in the offseason and during the first week of practice. "On defense we need to be able to communicate nonstop," he said. "We have a good mix of seniors along with juniors and a freshman who will get playing time. As long as we all work together, we will have a solid group." Gdowski has been pushing one of the program's big sayings of "trust the process." "If we do that, we will open some eyes not only in our conference, but in the state as well," he said. "Our goal for the season is to improve our conference record. Our girls worked extremely hard in the offseason and have put us in a spot where we can compete in the conference race. We think we are the favorite in the conference, but understand that it will take working as a family in order to do that."
Coach: Oscar Flores (1st season)
2018 record: 4-1 MSL
Top returning player: Senior Carlyn Bratt (midfielder)
Key newcomer: Freshman Jane Spencer (midfield)
Outlook: Bratt is one of the Pirates' key returners, along with Lily Thalhammer, who has committed to Davenport University in Michigan. Flores, in his first season, is looking forward to freshman Spencer joining the starting group in the midfield. "We are a young team with substantial speed and our fair share of talent to develop," he said. "We are looking to make gains defensively and in the midfield with young, athletic players who are ready for the challenge." Flores said the team's veterans and newcomers are working together to form a strong midfield and fast attack. "I am excited about the level of speed we have put together in the offense and plan to exploit this potential," he said. Flores labels the Pirates' defense as smart and agile, "that is up to the challenge and has shown the potential to be incredibly adaptive to situations they are faced with," he said. Keys to a successful season for Palatine include exploiting its intelligence and speed, Flores noted. "Needless to say, execution is key, but we must play to our strengths," he said. "We are tasked with the development of a young team and are meshing the newcomers with six girls who are coming back. Through the leadership of Carlyn, Audrey Birk and Madeline Birk this challenge is not really a question anymore." Flores sees his team in the thick of the MSL race again. "This is a year we are approaching with optimism, but not blind to the challenges we face," he said. "We have often been a contender for the conference race, having won it several times and the goal is to win it because it is very realistic. I've heard some good things coming out of the programs at Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg and Fremd, and with our perennial challenges at Barrington and Conant, nothing is certain and everything is going to be hard-fought."
Coach: Jake Hughes (5th season)
2018 record: 10-8 (2-3 MSL, 4th)
Top returning players: Seniors Audrey Warner (midfield), Emily Lazarevic (attack), sophomore Daniela Rodriguez (defense)
Key newcomers: Senior Kaila Alvarez (defense) juniors Alison Summins (goalie), Seanna Mean (midfield), Leilani Plaza (defense), Nora Phillips (defense), sophomores Stephanie Coombs (midfield), Emma Raupp (midfield), Sydney Centeno (midfield), Linnea Cheng (defense), Hena Koeberl (midfield), CeCe Patron (defense)
Outlook: Warner scored 44 goals to go with 15 assists and 67 draw controls last season. She's a two-time all-MSL pick, while Lazarevic had 30 goals and 15 assists, while Rodriguez had 12 forced turnovers on defense as a freshman. "Athleticism is one thing this team has an abundance of," said Hughes. "What we lack in experience with 10 new players on the varsity, I am confident we will make up for with our speed and ability to make big plays on both sides of the ball. It has been encouraging in our early-season practices to watch these younger girls compete and make plays that you normally wouldn't see from second-year players. The athleticism also gives us a lot of flexibility with our lineup, having girls that we can plug in at a lot of different positions." Hughes explained most of his returning varsity players will be on the offensive side of the ball, including Monica Rogalski, Lindsey Carpenter and Brittney Parks, along with Lazarevic. "They will make up what should be a sure-handed group to lead us on the offensive side of the ball," he said. "Those four along with Audrey accounted for more than 50 percent of our scoring from a year ago. With another year of experience, we are anticipating even higher production out of this group of senior leaders." Summins takes over in goal this season. "We have a lot of confidence in her because she served as our JV goalie the past two seasons and is ready to make the jump to varsity," said Hughes, who added the defense will rely on Rodriguez's experience, as well as basketball players Hena Koeberl and Emma Raupp. "Though young, we are excited about what these girls and the rest of our defensive players can accomplish this year." Hughes sees a tighter MSL race. "The parody within the MSL has grown a lot over the years," he said. "Any given year, a different team can rise to the top. I anticipate Barrington will be the favorites coming in as returning MSL champions with a lot of experience, but I don't think anybody can be counted out. It should be another exciting year of MSL girls' lacrosse. As always, our goals are to be conference champions and to advance to the sectional title game. Both are attainable and both have alluded us since the beginning of the program at Schaumburg. Based on our first week of practice, this team is starting to see how good they can be and from a coaching standpoint it is exciting to watch."
Coach: Suzanne Rich
2018 record: 14-3 (5-0 East Suburban Catholic, 1st)
Top returning players: Seniors Kaylee Liberty (midfield), Pearl Mueller (midfield), junior Olivia Moorman (attack), sophomores Sophia DeMunno (midfield), Lizzie Rymarcsuk (goalie)
Outlook: Rymarcsuk was an all-state honorable-mention selection goal. She was joined on the all-conference team by DeMunno, Moorman and Liberty. DeMunno scored 56 goals to go with 12 assists, 81 groundballs, 48 caused turnovers, 45 draw controls and eight interceptions. "We lost a lot of seniors from last year and most were defensive players," said Rich. "We are rebuilding our defense with some great younger players led by our goalie Lizzie Rymarcsuk. Our offense is very strong with a lot of returning players from last year." Saint Viator has its eyes on another ESCC title this year. "Our goal is to win our conference," said Rich. "We have a tough scheduled this year and we are looking forward to being challenged as a team."