2021 Herald-News girls soccer preview capsules

SouthWest Suburban Conference

Lincoln-Way Central

Coach: Sean Fahey

Last season’s record: 17-7

Top returners: Jenni Andjelic, jr., D; Megan Hutchinson, sr. F

Key newcomers: Maddie Camaioni, sr., M; Sarah Borsellino, jr., F; Emma Olson, so., M/F; Grace Grundhofer, jr., D; Alexa Hadley, so., G

Worth noting: Fahey noted that with so many new faces playing together this season, there’s a diverse group from incoming freshmen to returning seniors who will have to work together for success.

“I’m very excited to see what this group is capable of this season,” he said.

Lincoln-Way East

Coach: Mike Murphy

Last season’s record: 10-12-2

Top returners: Kayleigh Hanlon, sr., M; Bianca Cahue, sr., D; Maggie Haverstrock, jr., D; Brianna Meehan, jr., D

Key newcomers:

Worth noting: Murphy said he’s leaning on his veterans to lead the squad with a mix of newcomers. Hanlon returns as a starter after recording four goals and five assists along with a defense anchored by Cahue, Haverstrock and Meehan in the team’s 2019 campaign.

“We should be competitive but have a lot of questions that need answers,” Murphy said.

Lincoln-Way West

Coach: Jeff Theiss

Last season’s record: 14-8-2

Top returners: Abby Wasowicz, sr. F; Amanda Yaeger, sr., D

Key newcomers: Adrianna Gudaitis, so., F; Morgan O’Neil so., M; Aubrey Shultz jr., F

Worth noting: The Warriors return multiple starters from their 2019 regional championship season to mix with what Theiss called some “hungry” newcomers.

He said, “Competition amongst position is currently producing an extremely competitive training environment, which is only going to benefit us as the season progresses.”

Lockport

Coach: Todd Elkei

Last season’s record: 14-3-5

Top returners: Emma Oster, sr., M; Abbey Janeczek, sr., D; Anna Domina, jr. F; Karolina Stasik, jr., F; Sarah Matuszek, jr. D; Danielle Sullich, jr., M; Katie Cavallo, jr., D

Key newcomers: Emma Rosales, sr., F; Hailey O’Sullivan, sr., D; Samantha Shafabidy, sr., D; Larisa Milenkovski, sr. D/GK; Allie Mateja, jr., F; Olivia Rivera, jr., M; Sarah Chelbek, jr., M; Bella Bozen, jr., GK

Worth noting: Elkei said he expects the Porters to compete for a SWSC Championship in its division. Four-year varsity starters Oster and Janeczek will lead the squad in competing for a regional championship.

“We have a versatile group that is inexperienced at the High School level but everyone plays club at a high level, so we are excited to see how we come together,” he said.

Southwest Prairie Conference

Joliet Central

Coach: Stephanie Phillips

Last season’s record: 4-15

Top returners: Alexia Ortiz, sr.; Daniela Rosiles, sr.; Nicole Aguirre, jr.

Key newcomers: Madison Schlismann, so.; Emma Schlismann, fr.; Johanna Reyes, fr.

Worth noting: Phillips lauded Ortiz and Rosiles for stepping up into leadership roles for the team. Aguirre is Joliet Central’s returning goalkeeper.

“We acknowledge that this past year has been rough due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we will continue to keep a positive mindset, and we are grateful that we get to play every day together as a team,” she said.

Minooka

Coach: Christopher Brolley

Last season’s record:

Top returners: Emily Galvan, sr., D; Libby Buss, jr., D; Marley Kobus, jr., M; Genevieve Bowyer, sr., F; Daisy Kleinfoffer, sr., GK; Sophie Valles, sr., M

Key newcomers: Hannah Johnstone, sr., M; Ella Rucka, so., M; Kate Lavezzi, so., F

Worth noting: Minooka won regional and sectional titles in 2019.

“This is going to be a fun year with a fun group. The past few months, they have shown the ability to adapt and fit all of this into one system of play. I expect us to compete with every team we play. You never know how you stack up against other schools in the area, but the fun job is piecing all of this together game by game. I’m very excited to see what we have and look forward to an awesome season,” Brolley said.

Plainfield Central

Coach: Kenneth Schoen

Last season’s record: 13-9-1

Top returners: Piper Woodall, jr. D; Molly Ruba, sr., M; Nora Rosenbaum, sr., D; Jessica Dybas, sr., F

Key newcomers: Kadin Parent, so., M; Kendal Freischlag, jr., D; Jenny Brooks, jr., D

Worth noting: Schoen said his team’s strength will be on defense with three juniors and a senior on the back line. Senior Cecilia Fitzgerald and junior Monica Hernandez are the teams goalkeepers and could make Plainfield Central difficult to score on.

“We have a talented team that has an opportunity to experience good success,” he said.

Plainfield East

Coach: Cosimo Patano

Last season’s record: 11-8-1

Top returners: Emily Haughian; Ana Horejs

Key newcomers: Claire Astudillo; Marin Flynn; Anna Jenkins; Keli Coughlin

Worth noting: Plainfield East placed fourth in the conference in 2019 and Patano said he expects his team to be in the mix this season.

“I expect our team to be competitive this season,” he said. “We hope to have success but need to stay healthy.”

Plainfield North

Coach: Kathleen Monterosso

Last season’s record: 11-5-2

Top returners: Georgia Liapis, sr. M; Jessica Steward, sr., M

Key newcomers: Lauren Murgala, fr.; Dani Auble, jr.; Hannah Bukowski, so.; Ally Kroll, sr.

Worth noting: Monterosso lauded Liapis and Steward as “true role models” for their program who want to “make their mark” after losing last season.

“I expect that we will be very competitive, we have many versatile players and a lot of depth which will allow us to compete on a weekly basis,” she said. “Since we did not have a season last year, the girls have been anxiously waiting to start the season, create new traditions and leave it all on the field.”

Plainfield South

Coach: Alfonso Lopez

Last season’s record: 18-4

Top returners: Alyssa Grigg, sr. F/M; Abbey Slivka, sr. GK

Key newcomers: Addison Grigg, so., F/M; Mason Hillery, so., GK; Mackenzie Whitmire, so., D

Worth noting: Plainfield South has two returning All-Conference seniors in Grigg and Slivka. Grigg netted 14 goals and 5 assists and Slivka recorded 10 shutouts as the team’s keeper.

Lopez said this season would be a rebuilding year for the program after losing 13 seniors last year.

“We have a great group of girls who are excited for the season and are looking to continue the Cougar tradition and build on the success of the past few years,” he said.

Romeoville

Coach: Daniel Rush (interim)

Last season’s record: 6-14

Top returners: Jennifer Perez-Ruiz, D; Yamilet Perez-Ruiz, M; Delaney Patterson, M; Dori Quintana, D

Key newcomers: Claire Astudillo; Marin Flynn; Anna Jenkins; Keli Coughlin

Worth noting: The Spartans are returning talent on defense. Interim head coach Daniel Rush will take over leading Romeoville this season.

“I expect us to work hard and be competitive,” he said.

GCAC

Joliet Catholic

Coach: Oscar Valdez

Last season’s record: 18-3

Top returners: Breanna Ciemny, Morgan Furmaniak, Emma Gruber, Abby Pasternak

Key newcomers: N/A

Worth noting: The Angels finished fourth in the Class 2A State Tournament with a number of underclassmen contributing. They make up the core of this year’s team which already is off to a fast start with a win at the Pepsi Shootout.

Illinois Central Eight

Coal City

Coach: Todd Painter

Last season’s record: 9-6-2

Top returners: Meghan Onsen, D; Addey Connor, D

Key newcomers: Cara Planeta, so., F; Azra Malovski, so., F

Worth noting: Coal City is looking to build on its third place finish in the Central Eight Conference in 2019. The team scored more than twice as many goals as it allowed during that season.

Wilmington

Coach: Travis Ivanoff

Last season’s record: 4-9-1

Top returners: Rachel Wandless, sr., GK/M; Abby Rampa, jr. F; Payton Koopman, sr., M

Key newcomers: Alexa Clark, so., M; Ella Banas, fr. M

Worth noting: Ivanoff said the Wildcats have talent at each level of the pitch but the team’s strength starts with Wandless in goal. He wants the team to improve on maintaining its possession in the opposing half.

“We have many players on the team with great talent for their age, but there are some holes as we look to fill other players into those spots and fine tune their skills to be a vital contributing factor to put more wins on the board,” he said.

Interstate 8

Morris

Coach: Steve Rain

Last season’s record: 5-11

Top returners: Katherine Halcomb, jr., GK; Mackenzie Welch, sr., D; Taylor Krause, sr., D; Mckenna Montgomery, sr., D; Yareldi Aguilera, sr., D; Payton Kjellesvik, jr., M; Lauren Shear, jr., M; Adriana Plascencia, jr., M; Karrina Riley, sr., M; Fran Cummings, sr., M; Payton Lewis, sr., M; Emily Marino, sr., F

Key newcomers: Ella McDonnell, fr., D/M; Abby Henson, so. D; Emma Aldrich, so., M

Worth noting: Morris returns a team full of experience, which Rain said he expects to compete this season.

“Expectations are to finish with a winning record and win Regionals,” he said.

Editor’s note: Some area schools declined to provide information about their programs.

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., he joined The Herald-News in 2017 and mostly covers Will County government, politics, education and more. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree from Northwestern University.