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All-academic Hinsdale South alumna works to rebuild Northwestern soccer

Junior captain Jackie Alyinovich anchors defense as Wildcats look to improve

EVANSTON – As an academic All-Big Ten soccer player, there aren’t many lessons Jackie Alyinovich has yet to learn.

But the Northwestern junior did pick up on one fact as she trained this summer to get ready for the 2013 season. Working out both on her own and with her teammates, she discovered group activities came much easier.

“I think it’s easier with your teammates because you have some support,” she said. “It was nice to work with the team.”

Alyinovich and many of her teammates stayed on campus to take summer classes, and when they weren’t in the classroom they spent their time doing soccer-related activities — running, working out and scrimmaging with some of the Wildcats’ men’s players that also stayed on campus. All that hard work had a purpose.

“We definitely are looking forward to getting back onto the field and rebuilding our program and making it stronger,” Alyinovich said.

After going 7-10-2 last year and 2-16-1 during Alyinovich’s freshman season of 2011, the Wildcats want to turn things around. Minus her first two seasons at Northwestern, Alyinovich has known nothing but success on the soccer field. A full-time club player with Eclipse Select throughout high school, she won State Cup championships with Eclipse in 2009 and 2010.

When the season kicks off against DePaul on Aug. 14, Alyinovich and her teammates will try to find the winning touch with the aim of turning things around.

“We’re trying to get our program back to the place where we’re winning more games and we’re seen as a competitive team that other teams are afraid to play because we’re going to challenge you,” she said. “I definitely think everyone has been working hard to accomplish that.”

Alyinovich will play a big part in the Wildcats’ success this season. So far in her college career, she has played in 38 games with 37 starts. Last fall, she logged 1,710 minutes, playing every minute of the season with the exception of 45 against Indiana. She once again figures to be a key defender, and she has the added duty of being a team captain, the only junior captain on the team. As a major voice on the team this season, there is one message she wants to get across.

“No matter what day it is or what drill you’re doing, you have to get the most out of practice,” she said.

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