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Girls soccer preview: York, IC look to continue recent success

York's Jaime Kovatchis tracks the ball during a game last season. Kovatchis is a three-year varsity player who will be relied upon this season as the Dukes lost a large senior class from last year.
York's Jaime Kovatchis tracks the ball during a game last season. Kovatchis is a three-year varsity player who will be relied upon this season as the Dukes lost a large senior class from last year.

With a little luck of the Irish, girls soccer teams across the state will be kicking off the season on March 17, the first day games can be played. Here’s the outlook for area teams as the season gets underway.

York Dukes

Coach: Don Vana

2013 record: 13-5-2

Top players:

Anne DiCanio sr. GK

Catherine Kent sr. M

Alyssa Kovatchis jr. F

Jamie Kovatchis jr. D

Annalisa Lappo jr. M

Outlook: The Dukes lost nine seniors, most of them key starters, but still have a lot of talent.

York doesn’t have a lot of seniors on this squad, but it’s quality over quantity. Three of the Dukes’ four seniors will continue their careers in college. Senior midfielder Catherine Kent is headed to play for Loyola. She was on the varsity team as a sophomore, but chose to play club last year. Senior goalkeeper Anne DiCanio, who was behind four-year starter AnnaBell Lansdowne, takes over between the posts and will take part in UIC’s inaugural season in the fall. In addition, senior forward Kylie Bowman is committed to Trinity.

Bowman and junior Alyssa Kovatchis will likely need to carry the scoring load. Kovatchis led the team in goals last season.

Junior Annalisa Lappo and Jamie Kovatchis are also third-year varsity players like Alyssa Kovatchis. Other returners on the roster include juniors Emily Mueller, Kate Leonard, Elizabeth Shockey and Audrey Barber.

“It’s going to be a learning experience for us,” new coach Don Vana said.

Two sophomores, Madison Casey and Ellen Foley, and freshmen Jenna Dvorak and Elizabeth Kowalski join the team as newcomers. Junior Emily Whitcomb also figures to be a quality player with solid club experience.

“Our expectations are to be competitive,” Vana said. “It’s not an easy conference by any means.”

Defending champion Hinsdale Central and Lyons Township figure to be elite teams this year in the West Suburban Silver.

IC Catholic Knights

Coach: Tod Privett

2013 record: 14-10, sectional champs

Top players:

Hannah Hartnett jr. F

Domonique Lotz jr. M

Erin Maloney jr. D

Bailey McCann jr. GK

Grace Vitek sr. M/F

Outlook: After winning the second sectional in school history last season, the Knights are hoping to see more success with a drastically different team.

Standouts K.C. Morris and Angela Toritto carried the team in the Class 1A postseason last year. Toritto, who was a second-team All-American for College of DuPage in the fall, will be an assistant coach for the team. Now second-year coach Tod Privett has to retool without those stars.

The Knights have eight returners, but just one senior in Grace Vitek. Vitek’s sister, Gretchen, is a junior returner. Grace starred for the basketball team and is coming out for soccer this spring.

“She’s going to be one of our difference makers,” Privett said. “She’s an experienced and talented soccer player so we’re expecting big things from her.”

All-conference defender Erin Maloney also started on the basketball team that just took fourth in Class 2A.

Maloney, midfielder Domonique Lotz, forward Hannah Hartnett and goalkeeper Bailey McCann are key returners.

Freshman Tessa Langan could be the standout among 10 underclassmen on the roster. Kaitlyn Grady also will be important to the Knights. IC has five freshmen and five sophomores on the roster.

Junior Lauren Foit and sophomores Maeve Gillette, Emma Hendricks and Camile Castillo are also returners. Privett mentioned the importance of getting leadership and contributions from his returners due to the youth on the team.

“Our goals are to get back to at least where we were last year, which is obviously no small feat getting to the elite eight,” Privett said. “If these kids can jell and show the same sort of fight as last year you never know.”

The Knights will be playing on the new turf field at Plunkett Park this season, though they only have six scheduled home games during the regular season.

Timothy Christian Trojans

Coach: Jon Hamelinck

Top players:

Mackenzie Bone sr.

Sarah Dirkse sr.

Alexis Hoogendoorn sr.

Annika Zeilstra sr.

Outlook: The Trojans haven’t won a regional since 2009, but came close last year after losing to IC Catholic on penalty kicks in a 1A regional final.

Timothy, which opens the season against Willows Academy on March 22, lost six seniors from last year’s team, including all-conference players Kaylie Pries and Sara Hodges.

TC’s non-conference schedule includes a game at IC Catholic on March 27 and a match against Nazareth on April 8. The Trojans will also host their own tournament throughout the season on three different Saturdays.

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