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.
Hinsdale Central Red Devils
Coach: Michael Smith
2013 record: 18-4-3, second in Class 3A
Alison Cerny sr. M
Lily Chetosky sr. D
Katy Coseglia so. GK
Riley Glenn sr. GK
Christa Kuhlman sr. D
Meghan Schick sr. M
Erin Smith jr. D
Outlook: The Red Devils do lose several seniors who helped lead them to the state championship game last year, yet they are still well-equipped for another successful playoff run.
Alison Cerny (11 goals, 10 assists) and Meghan Schick (nine goals, seven assists) return to the midfield, where they provide scoring punch and solid defense. The defense sees Lily Chetosky (four-year varsity), Christa Kuhlman (three-year varsity) and Erin Smith (three-year varsity starter) return in front of a pair of seasoned goal keepers.
“What this group provides is a nice balance, and at the same time a lot of them were part of that experience we shared last year,” head coach Michael Smith said.
Riley Glenn is a four-year varsity keeper who tallied 14 shutouts last season. Sophomore Katy Coseglia spelled Glenn last season and the duo will share time in net this season. With so much returning talent, the primary goal this season is clear.
“The girls are passionate about going back to the state finals, “Smith said. “Last year at this time, there were whispers about it and now were are openly discussing it. They know there are goals to meet before that, but I’m glad they have that confidence that they are a quality team with quality players.”
Casey May, last year’s leading scorer with 16 goals, has departed, but Smith believes Cerny, Schick and sophomore Emily LaRocque can maintain the scoring punch this spring. Smith lauded his team’s depth, saying that all 20 field players are capable of starting at any given time. That kind of manpower should come in handy against a tough schedule that will see every opponent giving 100 percent against the Red Devils, whose success last season will be a measuring stick for many programs.
Hinsdale South Hornets
Coach: Pat Wolf
2013 record: 11-10, regional champions
Elisabetta Bifero sr. D
Kelly Flemm jr. M
Cassie Jensen sr. M/F
Jessica Koziol sr. M/F
Mary Claire Ladd sr. D
Sarah Leganski jr. M
Ali Lokanc sr. M
Maggie Nicosia sr. F
Outlook: There’s no denying the fact the Hornets will miss a senior class that included defenders Brenda Maugeri and Colleen McPherson, experienced goal keeper Vanessa Niestrom, midfielders Kerry Just and Jessica Mutters, and forward Julie Vezzani.
But South also has enough returning talent to contend the West Suburban Gold conference title and to defend the regional title it won last spring.
“We have lots of senior leadership,” head coach Pat Wolf said. “All the seniors have two or three years varsity experience, and many of younger players had varsity time last year, as well.”
Juniors Kelly Flemm and Sarah Leganski were mainstays on varsity last spring and join a large senior group that gets a boost from Sarah Warren joining the squad. Replacing Niestrom in net will be a challenge, but returning defenders Elisabetta Bifero and Mary Claire Ladd should help make life easier for the new net minder.
The Hornets hope to challenge Downers Grove South for the WSG title. Last year they were third with a 4-2 mark. By the time the postseason rolls around they should be battle tested as the schedule includes Montini (a regional champ last year), Lincoln-Way Central, Hinsdale Central, York, Downers Grove North and Lemont.
Downers Grove South Mustangs
Coach: Abby Anderson
2013 record: 13-9-1
Jamie Furio sr. GK
Lori Niehaus sr. D
Ava Porlier jr. D/M
Autumn Rasmussen so. F
Emily Wauer sr. F
Stephanie Zurales sr. F
Outlook: In Abby Anderson’s first year as coach last spring, the Mustangs won conference, posted a winning record and played in the regional championship game. More of the same is expected this season.
“We look to leave off from last year’s goals that we accomplished,” Anderson said.
Last year’s leading scorer, Nicole Janowiak, has graduated, but Anderson said one of South’s biggest strengths this year will be speed at the top of the attack. Autumn Rasmussen (10 goals, three assists), Stephanie Zurales (eight goals, six assists) and Emily Wauer (five goals, four assists) all showed the ability to find the back of the net last season.
Jamie Furio played the majority of time in the net last season and returns there. Lori Niehaus and versatile playmaker Ava Porlier are also back to bolster the defense. Senior leadership is another strength that Anderson has already identified.
“We have a strong senior class with a lot of great leaders,” Anderson said. “We should have a pretty solid team dynamic, but we are definitely a different team than last year.
“A lot of girls have stepped into roles during the summer and off season – in the weight room, in off-season workouts, and playing outside of school. There are a lot of younger players who will compete for varsity spots and starting spots.”