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home : sports : sports   April 29, 2016

3/29/2014 1:33:00 AM
Prep girls soccer preview

Jared Bell
NewsTribune Sports Writer

The area’s girls soccer scene is ready for the next step.

After the 2013 season saw plenty of change for area players and teams, this year’s landscape is a lot more familiar as many local teams welcome back key players and have high hopes.

However, a few programs are rebuilding, while La Salle-Peru is fielding a varsity team for the first time.

Below is the 2014 girls soccer preview:

La Salle-Peru Lady Cavaliers
Coach: Ryan Duffy
IHSA classification: 2A
Season outlook: After being an intramural program the last two years, the Lady Cavaliers are taking the next step and are now a full-fledged varsity program.

“Being our first season going against true varsity competition, my goal is I want to say after every game that I can see a lot of progress,” Duffy said. “What we’re looking for right now is are we playing the game the right way and are we finding those small victories?”

L-P plans to run a one-forward offense led by junior striker Jenna Breit, while senior Lauren Strehl will lead the backline on defense.

In the midfield, the Lady Cavs will feature senior Caitlin Washkowiak, sophomore Anna Smith and freshman McKayla Urbanowski.

The other positions are still up for grabs and could change depending on how Duffy’s team best fits together.

One of the biggest keys, Duffy says, is the offense.

“Last year, we played six or seven games and defensively we were solid, but we weren’t scoring,” Duffy said. “Hopefully, as the season progresses, our scoring chances and our goals go up.

“I’m also hoping that we find ourselves in a lot of games at the end. We’re playing to win every game, but it’s so much more important to me that during 80 minutes of soccer that we’re ready to play with the other team and that we do the best we can.”
Hall Lady Red Devils
Coach: Darcy Earley
IHSA classification: 1A
Season outlook: In their fourth varsity season, the Lady Red Devils will look to improve and continue the progress of the program, which is now in its second year under Earley.

“A lot of the girls are so much further along this year than when we started last year,” Earley said. “They have better ballhandling, which they spent time on improving over the summer after I asked them to work on it. It’s nice to see them possess the ball better with the defense on them than they did last season.”

The team, which has just 13 players, changed its base formation in an effort to increase scoring.

“We hope that if we can possess the ball better and have more patience on the offensive end that more goals will come,” Earley said. “I put a hefty goal on them of trying to get 20 shots on goal per game. There were times last year where we didn’t have any shots on goal, so if we can do that it’d be great and a huge help to our defense.”

Up front, the Lady Red Devils return senior forward Vanessa Olivares and sophomore forward Alicyn Olson, while offensive-minded midfielder Hope Connor also will look to attack the net in an effort to help take pressure off senior goalkeeper Brittany Gonzalez.

“Overall, the girls have really done well,” Earley said. “We’re trying to make them a nice, cohesive group.”

Mendota Lady Trojans
Coach: Chawn Huffaker
IHSA classification: 1A
Season outlook: After rebuilding last year under a new coach, the Lady Trojans are looking for big things this season.

Despite having just three seniors on the roster, MHS returns nine starters from last year’s squad.

With the wealth of experience back, the team is aiming to win their second regional in three years.

“First and foremost, the girls want to win the regional,” said Huffaker, the second-year girls coach who led the MHS boys soccer team to a regional title in the fall. “They believe in themselves and they believe in each other so there’s no reason why we can’t put together something quality this year.”

Up front, the Mendota offense will be led by a three-forward attack of junior twins Ally and Abby Bromenschenkel as well as sophomore Sydney Saylor when healthy.
In the midfield, the Lady Trojans will feature senior Alex Matheson as well as junior Morgan Phillips and sophomore Yulissa Correa.

In the back, the entire MHS defense returns as seniors Jasmin Arteaga and Monica Leonard are back as well as junior Kim Piskie and sophomore Mari O’Donnell.

Junior Griselda Maldonado will switch positions and take over in goal.

“Last year was kind of nice because I was able to teach the system,” Huffaker said. “This year, they’ve gone right at it and know what to do.”

DePue Lady Giants
Coach: Tim Stevens
IHSA classification: 1A
Season outlook: The Lady Giants will look to improve and develop in the program’s second year of varsity competition.

This year’s squad features 14 players but is without a senior as it features four juniors, seven sophomores and three freshmen.

“We only have 14 girls, but they are excited to play,” Stevens said. “We just need to gain more experience.”

DePue — which has eight players back from last season — has beefed up its schedule as the Lady Giants will play in 18 game as well as two tournaments.

Junior Angelico Moreno is one of the returning players this season and is expected to play all over the field.

Sophomore Marisol Rios also is back but she will move from a forward to a midfielder, while junior forward Lindsey Werkau returns as well.

“The goal that I want to accomplish this season is just to try to play competitively,” Stevens said. “Last year, we had a tendency to just kind of watch the game happen and not be into it mentally, so I want the team to become more aware, more focused and more aggressive.”

Ottawa Lady Pirates
Coach: Holly Hall
IHSA classification: 2A
Season outlook: After the program’s most successful season last spring, the Lady Pirates will have to reload in the program’s fourth year.

“We do have some girls returning this year who started for us last year, but it will be a much different feeling this season because we do have a newer team,” Hall said. “The team that was out last year was the original team that went to the school board their freshmen year and got our program started. This team is the first team to get to play all four years, and that’s a big step for them.”

While depleted, Ottawa’s roster is far from bare.

The group of returnees is led by senior striker Emma O’Dell, a NewsTribune All-Area selection last spring who was second on the team with 13 goals and also had eight assists.

Senior Nayeli Bedolla or junior Maria Camacho could also see time up front as an attacking midfielder.

In the midfield, the Lady Pirates return junior center midfielder Cambria Threadgill and senior Megan Cameron.

Junior Jada Pifer will play as an outside midfielder, while senior Peyton Auter will play as the other outside midfielder.

In the backline, the Lady Pirates will have to rebuild.

Sophomore Amanda Leppert will be the sweeper, junior Alexis Schott will be the stopper, while freshmen Luisa Bedolla and Emeralda Cruz will both start.

Senior Katie Pubentz will start in goal.

“With this group, I’m looking to have another competitive season,” Hall said. “Last year, we were above .500, which is a goal that we always want to have. We just want to keep progressing in our skills, our spacing and our understanding of how the game is played.”

Princeton Tigresses
Coach: Ed Young
IHSA classification: 1A
Season outlook: After the Tigresses rebuilt last season, Princeton returns seven starters and 12 total players from a squad that lost in the regional final.

After falling short of winning its third straight regional, PHS is aiming to get back to its postseason success.

“Every year is a different dynamic,” Young said. “We are returning a pretty substantial amount of players who have playing experience, and we only graduated three. Having that playing experience should help, but we’re still young. We still have a lot to learn, but I like where we’re at right now.”

Princeton returns senior forward Michelle Kelly, a NewsTribune All-Area pick who scored 20 goals last season — second most in the area — and accounted for 80 percent of the Tigresses’ offense in Princeton’s one-forward attack.

PHS also returns senior all-area goalkeeper Kelly Schmidt, who had seven shutouts and 86 saves last season.

In the midfield, Princeton returns sophomore Eliza Young — Ed Young’s daughter — as well as junior Keyenna Altizer, who could also play as a forward.

Also in the midfield are juniors Maria Vitale and Kim Schlesinger as well as freshman Sarah Murray and Jenna Grimmer.

The Tigresses must rebuild their defense, which lost two of their four starters.

Juniors Kallie Albrecht and Ellie Bonucci both return, while senior Liz Stites will move from the midfield to defense. Young is considering three other players to fill the fourth spot on defense.

“We just have to find our rhythm through the back and our stability through the middle so that we can look to feed Michelle the ball and create opportunities for her to take on defenders one on one,” Ed Young said.

Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.

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