Wheaton Warrenville South freshman defender Bri Stransky might be in store for a position change.
Stransky was moved to striker for the Tigers in their two games at the BodyArmor Sports Series last weekend. She played a portion of both games at striker, away from her customary defender spot.
The results were memorable for Stransky and the Tigers, who won both games.
Breaking open a scoreless game against Fenwick on Sunday morning, Stransky scored two goals in less than 45 seconds to lift Wheaton Warrenville South to a 2-1 victory. With that win in the prestigious tournament, the Tigers advanced to the championship April 24 at Lyons.
Before Sunday, Stransky had not scored a goal in her varsity career.
“I’m a center defender, so I had never scored,” Stransky said. “I honestly don’t even remember my first goal. It was really fun. I probably haven’t scored since last season. It’s really cool to score two goals. I got set up each time on my goals. This is a pretty special win for us.”
WW South coach Guy Callipari said Stransky energized the team with her aggressive play and being in the right place at the right time.
“You can see that Bri is kind of wiry around the ball and is very aggressive and she can strike the ball really well,” Callipari said. “That’s what also makes her a very good defender. In club [soccer] they decided to put her back there because they have some pretty good players up top, but we decided that we have a couple of injuries and Bri needs to play, so let’s put her back where she started. On Saturday, she played there a little bit as well. I wanted to give her a taste.
“She finished great. She’s around the ball a lot and has good instincts. She’s simple and doesn’t try to do too much. She puts it on frame and that worked for us today. It was fun to watch. We needed those goals. Fenwick is really good on the ball, especially possessing and building.”
Junior defender Ella McClatchy said the two-day tournament was a good starting point for the Tigers (3-2-1) to build toward a playoff run.
“We really saw our team dynamic come together,” McClatchy said. “We’ve really spent a lot of time on and off the field together. We really enjoy each other and playing together and that really showed on the field by connecting the ball. We’re able to read kind of what each other’s thinking and be flexible of that.”
Senior defender Olivia Vassios said the Tigers are motivated to make the most of their first full season since 2019.
“It’s really, really special, especially after not having a season as a sophomore and last year was kind of weird,” Vassios said. “Now to get to the championship is so special and to go out with a bang. We’ve had a busy week, so a lot of people got playing time. I think we can have a great season ahead of us. We’re just getting started, so it will be fun to see us get into a groove. We’ve spent a lot of quality time together outside of games and it helped us form a strong bond friendship and it has translated onto the field.”
After losing to Wheaton Academy in penalty kicks last week, Riverside-Brookfield coach Ivek Halic tried to stress the positives. The Bulldogs held the Warriors to one goal in 100 minutes, dealt with a nonstop driving rain in the second half and still nearly punched a goal through in the first overtime. Halic said his captains – Reagan Peschke, Amanda DiForti, Carmen Guerrero and Lena Lembcke – have helped the team adapt to an influx of new and younger players after losing several key players to graduation.
“The girls have adjusted well to new concepts, formations and playing with new teammates especially being a young team,” Halic said. “I’m very pleased with the work ethic within the team and the chemistry among all the players. Our team captains have done a great job at supporting their teammates on and off the field. Our captains have stepped up with their leadership for the first part of the season so far. Girls are working hard during practices with focus as we prepare for each and every game.”
Wheaton Academy update
Wheaton Academy coach Maria Selvaggio couldn’t help but note the irony of the scheduling quirk.
Last season, the Warriors, led by seven seniors including high-scoring midfielder Kelly Bickhart, suffered a 3-0 defeat to Belleville Althoff in a Class 1A state semifinal.
So who were the Warriors matched up against in their first game at the BodyArmor Sports Series on Saturday?
Yup, the Crusaders.
Two days after an emotional but exhausting late-night win over Riverside-Brookfield, the Warriors suffered a 5-0 loss to the Crusaders. On Sunday, the Warriors fell 4-2 to Jones College Prep at Olympic Park in Schaumburg. The Warriors (3-4-1) played 260 minutes of action in a four-day span.
“It’s been a long week and we’re physically drained and it was hard to match the energy after that 100-minute game and penalty kicks,” Selvaggio said. “Our energy felt a little flat and we made a couple of silly mistakes and went down a couple of goals and you could see us get deflated. This is unusual to get a second shot at them the next year. I think we have some things to work on, like our confidence and belief that we can win, even after giving up a goal.”