NORTHLAKE – Willowbrook’s girls soccer team is on the young side, so with the Warriors expecting to get a pair of starters back from injury, it’s potentially a boon for the team.
Starting goalkeeper Alexis Jones and center forward and captain Melissa Rader are just returning to training with the team and working their way back into the varsity lineup. The Warriors are hoping to become more consistent upon their return, but still have managed a winning record in their absence.
“The younger ones have done a good job,” coach Victor Marquez said. “The freshmen that moved up last year and are now sophomores have done a very good job. We have a couple freshmen starting right now that are helping us out.”
In Tuesday’s 5-3 win on the road against Leyden, the Warriors started four sophomores and two freshmen. When Jones returns, that will make five starting sophomores. The veterans of the team have been especially important with all of the younger contributors.
Lauren Carroll has commanded the defense as the team’s sweeper. Fellow senior Tiffany Brinkman is a key central midfielder. Junior Jessica Budig is a dangerous midfielder that contributes to the attack regularly. All three scored in the win against Leyden.
“Overall we have a lot of teamwork,” Marquez said. “Certain games more players are more visible than others.”
The Warriors entered Thursday’s match against Glenbard East with a 9-7-1 record and a 2-1 mark in the West Suburban Gold. From April 11 to April 24, the Warriors won five straight matches and didn’t surrender a goal. The last two of those matches were a part of the Niles West Tournament.
After beating Rockford Lutheran, 5-0, and Maine West, 2-0, at the tournament, the Warriors fell to the hosts, 5-3, and tournament champion Glenbard East, 7-0.
Against Leyden, the Warriors scored first via a goal from sophomore Alyssa Spada.
The Eagles tied the match early in the second half before goals from Budig, Brinkman and Sumeya Mchabcheb made it 4-1. Carroll later converted a penalty kick.
“At 4-1 it should have been settled, but they bounced back,” Marquez said. “I think it was an atypical game, but at the end of the day we will take the 5-3 for sure.”