ELMHURST – It’s easier to notice flashy soccer players with impressive skill on the ball that are scoring goals.
It’s not always as easy to notice the defender that stops those players.
York senior defender Angela Guerino also might blend in if it weren’t for her powerful foot. Guerino often takes free kicks for the Dukes and isn’t shy about shooting from distance with thumping strikes.
She scored twice off free kicks against St. Ignatius early in the season and added another in a big win over Loyola at the Pepsi Showdown. Her ability to score and create opportunities in the box for her teammates is an extra element to her game that has helped York this season.
“I like taking them,” Guerino said of free kicks. “I always like helping the team out and getting us forward.”
In addition to taking set pieces, Guerino has been a stable rock at the center of the York defense. Guerino is in her third year on varsity and has become a leader at the back.
“We count on her to be the rock in our defense where she’s going to be marking one of their best players every single game,” York coach Chris Halupka said. “Fitness-wise you have to be up there because you’re marking a forward who is constantly moving and is counted on to score so you have to be playing with the highest level of concentration.”
Guerino, along with an 11-save performance from goalkeeper AnnaBell Lansdowne, helped the Dukes pick up their sixth shutout of the season in a scoreless draw against St. Charles North on Tuesday. The North Stars dominated possession and had far more shots on goal, but it was the kind of performance that showed off Guerino’s defensive mentality.
“I think we had the mindset at the end that we may not have been able to score, but we were sure not going to let them,” Guerino said.
York’s leading scorer, Alyssa Kovatchis, injured her knee against Hinsdale South on April 25. Senior Ellie Ordonez, another key player in the attack, left Tuesday’s game with a knee injury. The return of both players was unclear heading into Thursday’s crucial West Suburban Silver match against Hinsdale Central.
The shorthanded attack will put more pressure on Guerino and the rest of the defense. Rachel Ogdon, Lizzy Akre, Edith Flores and Jaime Kovatchis have helped form a solid unit.
“I’ve become pretty comfortable back there,” Guerino said. “We’re pretty set back there.”