Girls soccer notes: Wheaton North enjoys memorable weekend at Tournament of Champions in Iowa

Downers Grove North making strides, Glenbard East on hot streak

Wheaton Northgoalkeeper Zoey Bohmer dives to stop the shot by St. Charles North’s Laney Stark in a girls soccer game in Wheaton in April 2024.

Kids will remember big goals, great saves and huge team wins. But, they’re just as likely, if not more, to remember the laughter in hotel rooms, pasta parties and other social activities from all the team bonding adventures off the field during the course of a high school season.

There’s little doubt the Wheaton North girls soccer team will never forget last week as the team spent Thursday and Friday in Bettendorf, Iowa winning a pair of games in the Tournament of Champions and then rushed home and celebrated prom on Saturday.

“Ironically, I had the same conversation with the girls and on Thursday I ran into some college teammates at the hotel,” Falcons coach Tim McEvilly said. “We weren’t talking as much about soccer as the off the field experiences.”

Wheaton North (11-2-1, 2-0-1) remains the only undefeated team in DuKane Conference play although a big match at St. Charles East (13-3-3, 2-1) was scheduled for Tuesday night.

“We’re playing well, getting lots of contributions,” McEvilly. “Jane (Rogers) and Talia (Kaempf) are scoring goals but a lot of others are playing significant roles so we have a good balance.”

Through 14 games, the Falcons have been held to a single goal or less just three times. They’ve now won five straight after being shut out for the only time this season during a 2-0 loss to Lockport in the title game of the Porter Cup on April 11.

Making strides at Downers Grove North

A new coach, a young team and a scheduled loaded with top-notch opponents has certainly made for an interesting season so far for Downers Grove North (8-9-1) which will look to improve to .500 with a victory against Oak Park and River Forest on Tuesday.

“The biggest thing this year is with a new coach comes new expectations and a new schedule as well with many games,” Trojans first-year coach Martin Manzke said. “If you look at our losses, six or seven have come against Top 25 teams. So we’ve had some really good competition prepping us for the post-season.”

Freshman Campbell Thulin went from being an impact player on the hardwood in her first high school season to being a player who captures your attention on the pitch as the 5-foot-10 lefty has been a huge addition.

“You can’t write enough good things to say about her,” Manzke said. “We had to move her to center mid because she wasn’t getting the ball. When she’s involved big things happen.”

Senior Addison Liszka continues to be a veteran leader while moving from defensive mid to center defense.

“She’s so solid for the back line,” Manzke said. “The defense wasn’t connecting so we moved her and she’s been tough with six or seven shutouts.”

Junior Lexi Keown also has seen her role adjusted as she was an offensive midfielder until the Trojans needed her at defensive midfielder.

“She’s constantly going, a workhorse,” Manzke said. “She’s able to do a lot along with her leadership. She is so commanding in controlling the pace.”

Senior Karly Harkness has shaken off injuries to return to the field using her talents to help the attack.

“She has ice water in her veins and commands the offensive line,” Manzke said. “She’s a cross country runner who has gotten back into soccer and jelled well with the team. She creates plays to get us on the board.”

Rams remain focused

Glenbard East is unbeaten (4-0-1) in its last five games as it prepares for its final four games of the regular season, which includes conference games against Fenton on Tuesday, Glenbard South on Thursday and Bartlett next Tuesday. The Rams also have Glenbard West this Saturday as they battle for this year’s Glenbard Cup.

“The kids are doing great,” Rams coach Athena Toliopoulous said. “We’ve found our goal scoring and are working really hard to compete for the top of conference. Hopefully we can win the rest of the way and finish strong.”

The Rams (7-4-4, 4-1-1) tied South Elgin (12-6-1, 5-0-1) in a scoreless game last Saturday.

“We’ve had multiple goal scorers so we have multiple kids involved in scoring and defensively my keeper (senior) Christian Chiero has had some big games. She had seven saves against South Elgin.”

A true artist

Montini junior Annalee DeFeo is creative on and off of the soccer field.

DeFeo, who leads the Broncos with nine assists and also has six goals, was named Bronco Artist of the Month for January at her Lombard school. Her artwork also was selected as the winner of Montini’s Christmas Card design contest last year and her digital design was sent to the entire Montini school community.

Bits and pieces

Benet (11-3-1) beat Oswego, Naperville Central, Lyons and St. Charles East to advance to Monday’s championship game in the Ed Watson Naperville Invitational. The Redwings saw their bid to win the tournament for the first time end with a 1-0 loss to New Trier (14-2-3) which became the all-time winningest team with its sixth title. Benet goalkeeper Kate Grubish had nine saves.

Morton (10-6) has won six straight. The Mustangs picked up another conference win last Tuesday, beating Addison Trail, 2-1. They finished the week with victories over Pewaukee (Wisc.) and Pekin.

35-0. That’s how much Lemont (12-3) has outscored its last seven opponents to improve to 12-3. Lemont certainly responded in a big way after a 5-1 loss to Wheaton North in the Porter Cup semifinals on April 9.

Downers Grove North (8-9-1) has won a game 8-0 this spring and also lost an 8-0 game.

Glenbard South (8-7) snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-0 win over East Aurora on Monday. Senior Lauren Price (12 goals, 7 assists), junior Brooklynn Moore (11 goals, 3 assists) and freshman Kaitlin Erickson (5 goals, 4 assists) are leading the attack.

Chris Walker

Chris Walker is a contributor to Shaw Local