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Strong start gives Willowbrook soccer a boost

BRIDGEVIEW – Willowbrook’s girls soccer team got off to such a strong start to the season that they even surprised their own coach a bit.

The Warriors took fourth out of 32 teams at the Windy City Classic and earned a trip to Toyota Park for Saturday’s third place game against Fenwick. The Friars beat Willowbrook 2-0, but after winning the first three matches of the season and taking eventual champion Lincoln-Way North to overtime in the semifinal, the Warriors have a strong start to build on the rest of the season.

“I think that it is important for them to experience something like that,” coach Victor Marquez said. “I’m sure they will be talking about it forever. Hopefully next year we can come back again and play in the [title] game.”

The Warriors surrendered a goal in each half to Fenwick. The Friars, which were third in Class 2A last season, capped it off with a breakaway goal in the second half, despite Willowbrook having most of the possession while pressing for the equalizing goal.

“Overall, the girls did very well,” Marquez said. “It’s just good preparation for the season more than anything.”

Last year the Warriors showed improvement by going 4-2 in the West Suburban Gold and did so with six freshmen on the team. Four of those are starting this season as sophomores.

“We have a young team,” Marquez said. “I didn’t expect this to happen that quick, but now we need to maintain it and keep healthy more than anything.”

The Warriors played their home opener Thursday against Bolingbrook and also have home nonconference games against Streamwood and Downers Grove North ahead of the conference opener at Hinsdale South on April 10.

Senior captain Lauren Carroll was among the key players for Willowbrook during the Windy City Classic.

“Last year, we didn’t lose anybody so we had a rebuilding year,” Carroll said. “We kind of expected to start off good [this season]. We’re looking to win conference. Last year we were second.”

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