Girls soccer: 5 standout stats from the 2023 season in DeKalb County

Kaneland's Mallory Nitsche (right) celebrates with Brigid Gannon after Nitsche scored her second goal of the day  Friday, April 28, 2023, during their game at Sycamore High School.

DeKalb surged late, Kaneland broke through in the postseason and Indian Creek had its most successful season.

Throw in some record-setting performances and there were a lot of highlights in the 2023 girls soccer season.

Here’s a look at five numbers that explain the 2023 season.

DeKalb's Addison Elshoff heads the ball past Guilford's Berkeley Stenstrom during their game Monday, April 10, 2023, at DeKalb High School.


The DeKalb girls soccer team hadn’t won a regional semifinal since 2017. That changed this year when the Barbs marched into the Class 3A Huntley Regional and knocked off Hononegah 2-1.

In the final, the Barbs hung with the host school for a half but fell 5-0 in their first regional final appearance in six years. They also knocked off rival Sycamore 1-0.

Senior Lindsey Barigel had the lone goal against the Spartans, finishing the year with 14 goals to power the offense. Freshman Beth Meeks had a big year in goal for the Barbs (6-12-1).

“I think this has been a great season for the school and for our team,” DeKalb coach Nicole Fleming said after the loss to the Red Raiders. “We’ve gone farther than we’ve gone in quite some time. So we’re pretty excited about that. We’re looking forward to developing some players, getting some players in here and keeping the program moving forward.”

Kaneland's Mallory Nitsche (right) celebrates after scoring her second goal of the day with Brigid Gannon Friday, April 28, 2023, during their game at Sycamore High School.


Kaneland had a long drought of their own, having not won a regional since 2015, despite reaching the regional final in every year of that streak.

This year, buoyed by another strong season in the Interstate 8, which they swept the regular season and tournament championships, the Knights finally broke through. They knocked off St. Francis 2-1 before falling to Benet in a sectional semi, their longest run since reaching a sectional final eight years ago.

Leading scorer Brigid Gannon [more below] and Emily Kunzer were named co-MVPs of the I-8. Kunzer finished with 18 goals and 12 assists this season, and will be back for her senior season next year. The Knights also got big offensive contributions from junior Jade Shrader (12 goals, 10 assists).

Indian Creek's Jolee Larson and Alleman's Carson Wendt go after the ball during their Class 1A sectional final game Friday, May 19, 2023, at Hinckley-Big Rock High School.


It was a tough spring for the Chronicle-area Class 1A and 2A baseball, softball and soccer teams. The teams combined to win only nine postseason games across four schools in three sports. And factor out regional play-in games, Indian Creek, Hiawatha, Genoa-Kingston and Hinckley-Big Rock combined to win four games across three sports.

Three of those wins belonged to the Timberwolves’ soccer program, which won a regional for only the third time in program history, falling to Alleman 7-1.

The team finished 17-2-1 this year, five more wins than the previous high in school history.

“I knew with the senior leadership and experience that we were going to have a better season than last year,” Timberwolves coach Scott McClure said after the loss to Alleman. “I thought that we’d do well, but at the beginning of the season the thought of getting to a sectional championship was an awesome thing to dream about. I’m super proud of these girls. They fought hard all season and just kept putting it together and improving throughout the season, and the leadership continued all the way through.”

In addition to big contributions from Emma Turner, Molly Feithlich was a rock in goal for the Timberwolves, posting five shutouts and earning team MVP honors. Jolee Larson controlled the offense with four goals and seven assists, and that was while running track for IC during the spring as well.

Hinckley-Big Rock-Somonauk's Josie Rader (left) and Indian Creek's Emma Turner race after the ball during their game Monday, April 3, 2023, at Hinckley-Big Rock High School.


Turner was a big factor in the success of the Timberwolves this year. The senior striker scored 29 goals to break the school record.

Turner was the leading scorer all three years she played – COVID-19 mitigations wiped out her freshman year – as the Timberwolves improved from five wins in 2021 to 17 this year.

She finished with 62 in her career, a school record as well.

Sycamore's Faith Schroeder (left) and Kaneland's Brigid Gannon go after the ball Friday, April 28, 2023, during their game at Sycamore High School.


Gannon scored 30 goals this year to help power the Knights’ offense. It’s the third most goals scored in school history.

She also had 11 assists to cap a career that included winning the Chronicle’s player of the year award last year.

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