Girls soccer: Dual goalies working well for undefeated St. Charles East

  • Jessica Stepien is part of a St. Charles East team that entered Thursday with a 9-0 record and has outscored its opponents 53-1.

    Jessica Stepien is part of a St. Charles East team that entered Thursday with a 9-0 record and has outscored its opponents 53-1. Photo by Sarah Minor

Updated 5/6/2021 9:03 PM

Sometimes two is better than one.

In the case of St. Charles East girls soccer team, two goalies is the ideal method for success.


This spring, St. Charles East coach Vince DiNuzzo figured why bother with a competition when he can play both of his goalies.

So far, the unorthodox approach is working to perfection -- or near perfection. The Saints (9-0) remained unbeaten after Tuesday's 6-0 win over Batavia. Junior Sofia Iori and sophomore Grace Stehman have combined to allow one goal this season. Iori plays the first half of games, then Stehman handles the final 40 minutes.

"Right now, we're still in position to see them in training," DiNuzzo said. "We've not seen these kids truly tested. Both are very talented and we will continue to split them until their play reflects otherwise. I do feel bad for the kids because there's not a lot of film for them. Both of them have to improve their ability on the ball with feet and distribution.

"But they've been great, for two key saves. Going forward, we want to make sure our younger kids get quality minutes and develop them. The key for us is to stay healthy. We have a lot of depth at lot of positions."

The Saints have been dominant in DuKane Conference game, winning their six league games by a 33-1 margin. Wheaton Warrenville South remains the lone conference team to score a goal against the Saints. The Saints defeated Bartlett, Kaneland and Fremd in their three nonconference games. Overall, the Saints have outscored their opponents 53-1.

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DiNuzzo noted the play of his experienced defenders -- Jessica Stepien, Lindsey Rzeszutko, Megan Stout and Anna Champine -- as a key factor for the Saints allowing just one goal.

"I think we're pleased with our effort defensively as a group, just the way we press and organize when one of our lines breaks," DiNuzzo said. "We have to just have to improve on our ability to be more patient and effective in the final third. There's goals to be made."

Junior midfielder Yazmin Martinez is an integral player flying under the radar for the Saints this spring, especially with Illinois recruit Ashley Stellon grabbing most of the attention from opposing teams. He

"Yazmin's ability to facilitate and attack and her defensive awareness and precision are really good," he said. "She's not a big kid, but she plays huge and is scrappy."


DiNuzzo said his team is focused on Thursday's game against Wheaton North and upcoming games against St. Charles North and Wheaton Warrenville South. The Saints ended a six-year series losing streak against the North Stars with a 3-0 win on Saturday.

"The Wheaton North (game) is a big game," he said. "I'm excited to see how we match up with their pace up top and our defenders with Julia Simon. The early rankings have put a target on our backs and we will get the back of everyone we play."

Kaneland atop Interstate Eight:

Kaneland recorded an impressive 10-0 win over Ottawa on Tuesday to remain atop the Interstate Eight Conference standings.

The Knights (5-3, 2-0) have played a tough schedule, defeating DeKalb and Plainfield Central and suffering losses to undefeated St. Charles East, Benet and Geneva. The Knights have remaining nonconference games against Oswego East, Batavia, Burlington Central, Rosary and Hinckley-Big Rock.

Kaneland coach Scott Parillo said his team is on track to achieve many of its goals.

"Our goals are to improve every day, win conference, stay competitive against our nonconference schedule," Parillo said. "But the most important goal is to have fun. It's been a long time since we've had high school girls soccer."

Parillo said senior midfielder Taylor Carlson, senior defenders Emma Hedlund and Rachel Franck, sophomore midfielder Brigid Gannon, freshman defender Emily Kunzer and junior midfielder Katie Kurz have been some of his main contributors.

"Taylor is a great talent with a high soccer IQ, and Emma provides great leadership in the back because she's fast and tough," he said. "Rachel is fast and tough and Brigid is quick and very tough with a great shot. Emily has really stepped up as a freshman and Katie has a knack to stop the attack."

Anderson a rising player:

Geneva senior midfielder Kelly Anderson was among a large group of players listed by Chicagoland Soccer as players to watch in the 2021 season. Anderson is one of four seniors on Geneva's roster, with Faith Stellick, Angela Peri and Ysabel Spohn.

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