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Girls Soccer: Previewing Lyons Township, Morton, Nazareth, Riverside-Brookfield and Fenwick

Lyons Township High School's Bella Lestina (right) races to the ball playing Oak Park River Forest in a 3A regional soccer final in Western Springs on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Bill Ackerman for Shaw Media
Lyons Township High School's Bella Lestina (right) races to the ball playing Oak Park River Forest in a 3A regional soccer final in Western Springs on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Bill Ackerman for Shaw Media

The girls soccer season begins this week, as teams begin their quest toward the state finals at North Central College in Naperville. Here is a preview of area teams:


Coach: Rob Watson

2017 record: 8-7-1

Top Players

Name   Year    Pos.

Lauren Stibich             sr.        MF

Lauren Miller              sr.        D

Kaylie Fredian            sr.        MF

Morgan Hosty             sr.        F

Annisa Nourse            jr.         MF

Outlook:The Friars felt they underachieved last season and are determined that it won’t happen again. The talent level is there, led by Illinois recruit Stibich, who was all-state last year. Stibich, Miller, Fredian and Hosty, who tallied 17 goals, all earned all-conference honors.

Midfielder Regan Hultquist and defender Margaux Shearer are juniors to watch.

“We want to drastically improve on our disappointing 2017 campaign,” Watson said. “We have high expectations and goals set for ourselves. However, all of our focus is on improving the team each day. We have the talent.”


Coach: Bill Lanspeary

2017 record: 16-5-1

Top Players

Name   Year     Pos.

Catherine Johnson        sr.        D

Kaelan Lee       sr.        D

Eileen Murphy jr.         M

Bella Lestina    sr.        F

Elsa McMahon sr.        M

Elizabeth Hall  sr.        M

Outlook: The Lions went 6-0 in winning the West Suburban Silver last season and return six seniors that will attempt to repeat that feat. Loyola-bound Lestina leads the attack, while all-stater Murphy, McMahon, Hall and Meara Hilling form a solid midfield. Johnson was all-conference last year and Lee is a great all-around athlete who also started for the basketball team. Senior Maggie Gilchrist could see action all over the field.

“Honestly, you never really know going into the season, but we look like we could be dangerous in the attack,” Lanspeary said. “I think our midfield is very good and our back line should be solid as well. We’ve got two very tough tournaments to test us and help make us better along the way.”


Coach: Jim Bageanis

2017 record: 16-5

Top Players

Name   Year     Pos.

Stephanie Hernandez    sr.        F

Jackie Murillo  jr.         MF

Jessica Franco  jr.         MF

Jennifer Gonzalez         sr.        D

Jackie Velasquez          sr.        D

Outlook: The Mustangs lost their starting goalkeeper, Dayanna Gonzalez, to a torn ACL suffered during volleyball season. That was a big blow, but Bageanis hopes the defense will still be solid thanks to Gonzalez, who will play sweeper, and Velasquez, the top marking back. Sophomores Melanie Carranza and Medelin Loza are the top newcomers.

“We are a young team once again,” Bageanis said. “We have some good individually skilled players and we hope to solidify our defense. I hope we can start to jell over the next several weeks. I feel we can be competitive in conference play once we get to know each other better on the field.”


Coach: John Nikchevich

2017 record: 20-4-2

Top Players

Name   Year    Pos.

Gigi Areola     sr.        F

Maddie Mazur             sr.        D/MF

Holly Skrip      so.        D

Julia Olander   so.        F

Sophia Cullotta           jr.         F

Outlook: This is a program that has won 10 regional championships in the past 12 seasons, so the expectations remain high even for a young team that Nikchevich said needs to find their identity and rhythm.

“We have the same goals every year, for each group to leave their mark on the program,” Nikchevich said. “We want to be better than the team before us and to be better every game.”

The Roadrunners have the personnel to do that. Cullotta, Olander and sophomore midfielder Amanda DeCesare played on Nazareth’s girls basketball team that reached the Class 3A state championship game. All three have good offensive skills. Mazur and Skrip are leaders on defense, while sophomore Grace Heery and freshman Adriana Berruti could make an impact in the middle.


Coach: Ivek Halic

2017 record: 11-7-1

Top Players

Name   Year     Pos.

Allie Kucera     sr.        F

Emily Graham  sr.        GK

Vanessa Fragoso          sr.        MF

Taylor Jurgens so.        D

Mazzy Marcucci           so.        MF

Grace Larson    so.        F

Evie Roth         so.        D

Outlook: This is a team that could make some noise in Class 2A. The return of Kucera, who played club last season after setting scoring records her first two years for the Bulldogs, is a huge boost to the offense. She will take pressure off the promising Larson, who scored nine goals as a freshman and Fragoso, a St. Xavier recruit who had three goals and eight assists.

But the strength of the team will be defense. The Purdue-bound Graham recorded eight shutouts and 161 saves last season and the back line returns Jurgens and Roth.

“We are looking more confident and composed with the ball,” Halic said. “I am pleased with the work ethic from the players after the first week of practices. The players are really enjoying the team dynamics as we continue to put forth the hard work.”

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