Defense and goalkeeping have been major reasons for Crystal Lake Central’s success this season.
The Fox Valley Conference champions inserted new centerbacks Shaylee Gough and Chelsea Iles into the lineup at the beginning of the season with sophomore goalkeeper Addison Cleary, which has led to the strongest defensive front in the conference.
“They meshed right away, especially our two centerbacks, Shaylee and Chelsea, were able to get on the same page quickly,” Crystal Lake Central coach Sarah Fack said. “This is their first season playing together back there, and our outside backs, whoever has played in there, has filled in nicely too, so they communicate well.”
The Tigers have given up 10 goals, an average 0.71 goals a match, all season with one match to go in the regular season. Crystal Lake Central has scored 52 goals this season.
Fack credited the strong play in net from Cleary and the bond Gough and Iles have created as a reason for not only the low amount of goals the Tigers have given up but also the success the team has had all season in moving the ball quickly up the field.
“It was having to build that chemistry,” Fack said. “Obviously, they know each other from school and stuff, but it was a lot of people new on the team coming in and figuring out some different things. So as the season has progressed they’ve grown closer as a team, and it’s shown on the field, too.”
Jacobs’ Anita Lewis signs with King University
Anita Lewis knew she couldn’t stop playing soccer when she graduated high school after playing the sport her whole life.
The Jacobs senior signed her letter of intent May 4 to play at NCAA Division II King University in Bristol Tenn.
“I didn’t know if I could give something up that big,” Lewis said. “It’s super exciting and important.”
Lewis has played soccer all four years at Jacobs and wanted to find a school where she felt she could build close relationships. She looked at schools like Carson-Newman University in Tennessee and Lewis University in Romeoville, but once she got to campus at King she felt close with the coaches and players.
“You know when you just feel comfortable and it just feels right,” Lewis said. “That’s how it felt at King. It was all super supportive.”
Lewis is excited to keep soccer in her life but isn’t ready to say goodbye to her high school teammates.
“I can’t wait to finish high school as a whole and leave, but I love my high school team right now,” Lewis said. “They’re like the best team the last four years I’ve been at Jacobs.”
McHenry earns learning lesson
McHenry assistant Mitch Stengel thought the Warriors’ 7-1 loss to Crystal Lake Central on Thursday was more of an anomaly than something to be worried about, but there still are some learning lessons from the FVC loss.
“The response has to be together, not apart,” Stengel said. “There were times when we just fell apart. We didn’t play like a team, like we know that we can. As a coach, it’s deflating to know your potential and not meeting that.”
Stengel thought Crystal Lake Central did a good job exploiting the Warriors through the midfield, which he knows McHenry can use as a learning lesson heading into the postseason. The Warriors open the postseason Wednesday against Harlem.
“I fully expect us to take what we learned today and build on it and learn from it so we can go out and win a regional,” Stengel said.
Valuable moments for Prairie Ridge
Prairie Ridge showed fight when it tied its match against Crystal Lake Central on Tuesday in the first half, but the Tigers also showed the Wolves the plays a team needs to make in order to win a conference title.
Crystal Lake Central pressured the ball more and forced P-R to make mistakes, which led to four second-half goals for the Tigers.
Wolves coach Justin Brown knows matches like the one Tuesday can be tough, but he also told his players that it can be used as something that can help the program get better for the postseason and next season.
“We just always have to be ready,” Brown said. “You can’t let up at all. Just be ready to play. When we let our guard up a little bit, that’s when they attacked and we got punished for it.”