Girls soccer: Round Lake keeps on winning
Round Lake's girls soccer program has reached new heights over the last couple of years. The Panthers set a school record for victories a year ago with 11 wins.
On Tuesday, the Panthers bypassed that mark with their 12th victory as they got past Grayslake Central.
They were in the running for the Northern Lake County Conference championship with Wauconda and Grayslake North until they lost to Wauconda on Thursday.
But on Saturday morning, Round Lake added to school history with another win as the Panthers downed Lake Forest Academy 6-1 in a nonconference matchup in Lake Forest.
Round Lake won despite being without standout Dana Devera, who sat out with an injured ankle.
The Panthers increased their record to 13-3-1, a feat they've accomplished despite having to play all their games this season on the road due to the rebuilding of their sports facility to turf.
Alexandria Wawrzyniak had her first hat trick this season and a couple of assists. Teammate Evelyn Hierzer also scored a hat trick while Leslie Lopez and Karla Gomez each had assists.
Wawrzyniak (12 goals, 20 assists) has been a big part of the success of the Panthers for four years and has seen the growth and improvement of the team, which has been has been turning heads in the area and even at Round Lake High School.
"Even at school, the teachers and the kids at our school," Wawrzyniak said. "They treat us like we're the boys program now. When we played Wauconda it was like playing for the championship. Everyone was supporting us including the boys saying 'good luck in your game.'
"We've had a lot of improvement this year. We've been in every conference game and keep improving."
Round Lake's growth started a few years back. A number of the Panthers have been with the team for three to four years.
"This has been the best group I've had since I've been the coach," Round Lake coach Josue Jimenez said. "What we have seen in the program, is this a big group and they deserve everything they have done so far. Being able to be in that atmosphere against Wauconda, what it's like to go for conference against Wauconda. Just happy for my seniors to be a part of that. They are the ones what started this program."
With the experienced players, the Panthers have been able to take the next steps on the field with their work ethic and being competitive with other schools in the area.
"I'm finally able to see it with the possession," Jimenez said. "Now being able to open up and wanting the ball. Just the mental game too. We've had a lot of times being done with the first goal. Other years, we would drop with that. This year we want more, in the second halves, we seem to always be better."
Just a couple of days ago, five senior players decided to all play together at the College of Lake County next fall. They are Jessica Arteaga, Stephanie Calderon, Claudia Hernandez, Giselle Raygoza and Wawrzyniak.
Round Lake has regular season games remaining against North Chicago (Tuesday) and a makeup at Highland Park (Friday). Then, the Panthers will open up the Class 3A state tournament against Hersey in the Palatine regional.