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Sports

Girls Soccer: Previewing Glenbard East, Glenbard South, Glenbard West, Montini, St. Francis, Timothy Christian, Wheaton Academy and Wheaton Warrenville South

Glenbard East's Amy Chiero advances the ball during a game against visiting Downers Grove North on April 9.
Glenbard East's Amy Chiero advances the ball during a game against visiting Downers Grove North on April 9.

The girls soccer season gets underway in the next week. Here are previews from Matt Le Cren.

GLENBARD EAST RAMS

Coach: Kent Overbey

2019 record: 19-4-2

Top players

Elaine Wesling, sr., F

Sarah Liljestrand, so., F

Maia Zatarski, so., M

Summer Garcia, sr., D

Kendall Crackel, jr., D

Molly Galvin, sr., D

Lisa Stranski, sr., GK

Zoe Romano, so., GK

Outlook: The Rams return eight starters, which should ensure their recent tradition of excellence continues. They did lose 48 goals to graduation, but have plenty of offensive talent returning in all-conference picks Wesling, Liljestrand and Zatarski. Wesling had 12 goals and 13 assists last year. Liljestrand added three goals and 14 assists. Zatarski chipped in seven goals and four assists.

“We’ll look for Elaine Wesling and Sarah Liljestrand to handle the bulk of the work up top, with newcomer Jasmine Dhamers (a freshman forward) making an impact as well,” Overbey said. “Zatarski can score from anywhere, and sophomore Natalie Borcean will direct the midfield from her defensive center mid spot. Borcean is big, physical and technical. We’ll rely on her to win balls coming through the middle and screen the defense.”

All-conference honoree Garcia leads a defense that includes three-sport athletes Crackel and Galvin. Stranski and Romano split time in the net, sharing 16 shutouts.

GLENBARD SOUTH RAIDERS

Coach: Kevin Berner

2019 record: 12-9-1

Top players

Emily Villasenor, sr., GK

Erin Haslett, sr., F

Kate Gavin, sr., F

Abby Showalter, sr., M

Mikaley Evans, jr., M

Kelly Lupa, sr., D

Molly Moutvic, sr., D

Madeline Sebahar, so., M

Outlook: The Raiders have experience and strength up the middle. Lewis-bound Villasenor and Haslett, a Grinnell recruit, were all-conference last season. Showalter will play in college at Wooster, and Kate Gavin is headed to Concordia. Senior defenders Sofia Stuart and Sofia Godinez are top newcomers along with freshman defender Madelyn Weber and freshman midfielder Abigail Bermann.

“We are returning quite a few starters,” Berner said. “We are a team capable of some offensive streaks. Erin Haslett is a special player up top that has the ability to take over a game. Abby Showalter is a stable center midfielder, and Molly Moutvic has anchored the center back for years. This will be the fourth straight season the three of them have been playing in the middle of the field.”

GLENBARD WEST HILLTOPPERS

Coach: Adam Szyszko

2019 record: 8-9-3

Top players

Megan Mullens, jr., M

Annie Cleaver, sr., D

Ellie Tarczon, jr. D

Brianna Hernandez, jr., M

Outlook: Sophomores Maggie McDonnell, Kendall Walch, Jennifer Fox and Claire Kostolansky, all midfielders, are among the newcomers.

“(There are) lots of unknowns as we have a solid group of underclassmen who will have to step up and contribute right away,” Szyszko said.

MONTINI BRONCOS

Coach: Kate Perry

2019 record: 9-7-1

Top players

Sawyer White, so., F

Mary Crotty, sr., D

Shea Smith, sr., M

Alivia Gianatasio, jr., M

Jillian Snukst, jr., M

Hannah Ruddy, sr., M

Mackenzie Parente, so., D

Franca Finch, jr., GK

Outlook: White, who played on Montini’s basketball team that finished third in the state, Crotty and Smith were all-conference selections last year. They are among 10 returning starters. Freshmen midfielders Jillian Parrilli and Ashley Harrington are the top newcomers.

“We have a lot of experienced returners who we will look to lean on to help incorporate the freshmen into the mix,” Perry said. “We have many different skill levels so it will be critical to find the right balance. We have a group that has improved every practice thus far. There is still a lot of work to be done but I am excited to see what we can accomplish.”

ST. FRANCIS SPARTANS

Coach: Jim Winslow

2019 record: 9-7-2

Top players

Ava Hensley, sr., M

Emily Thill, sr., M

Katherine Lemke, jr., D

Adriana Rotondi, sr., F

Anna Moran, sr., D

Isabel DeFeo, sr., M

Outlook: The Spartans lack the big-name Division I scorers of recent years, but the Wisconsin-Whitewater bound Thill and DeFeo, a North Central recruit who returns from injury, provide leadership along with Hensley, another college prospect who is uncommitted.

“This senior group has been through the battles and ready to take the helm of the program,” Winslow said. “We do have a lot of new faces that will need to step up and contribute. (The early schedule) is brutal and then we will see how it goes from there.”

TIMOTHY CHRISTIAN TROJANS

Coach: Jon Hamelinck

2019 record: 11-4-1

Top players

Emma Carter, jr., M

Angela Burke, jr. GK

Jana Kunz, sr., D

Elena Munk, sr., D

Ella Vandermolen, so., M

Sophia Biscan, so., D

Outlook: The Trojans graduated only two players so hopes are high. The big group of returning players is reinforced by a solid freshman class that includes midfielders Maddie Drye, Mili Martens and Angie Tornabene and defender Marta Veenstra, as well as sophomore midfielder Corinne Myket.

“We hope to pick up where we left off last spring,” Hamelinck said. “We have a strong group of freshmen this year that have good technical ability and will just need to learn the ropes in terms of how to play against bigger, stronger opponents than they’re used to.

"We have some decent balance and depth so we’ll need to score and defend by committee. We’re excited about the personnel we can field on any given day and the flexibility it gives us with formations and tactics.”

WHEATON ACADEMY WARRIORS

Coach: Maria Selvaggio

2019 record: 13-10

Top players

Amy Alexander, jr. M

Emma Goebel, sr., M

Kelly Bickhart, jr., M/D

Olivia Crane, jr., D

Outlook: First-year coach Selvaggio, a Wheaton Academy alum who was an assistant under longtime former coach Jeff Brooke, inherits a young team with few proven varsity players outside of Alexander and Goebel, who were all-conference performers last spring. Alexander also earned all-sectional honors. Goebel has committed to Taylor.

Bickart is a transfer from Westminster Christian, and Crane sat out last year after transferring from South Elgin. Sophomore Sydney Abbot is ready to make her high school debut after missing her freshman season with a torn ACL.

“We lost some amazing leaders and soccer players in last year’s graduating seniors, but many girls have stepped up to fill their shoes this year,” Selvaggio said. “We have some really talented soccer players on our team this season. Our defense and midfield has some really gifted athletes and soccer players with noticeable skill and confidence.

"Emma Goebel and Amy Alexander in our midfield will be an amazing duo. They have a very mature understanding of the game, and have the skill and drive to make this season a special one. Kelly Bickhart either in the midfield or back line will bring poise and distribution throughout the field.”

The Warriors graduated their top two scorers so the big question mark is the offense.

“Juniors Kelsey Bowling and Sarah VanderKlok on the wing have speed and strength, and are really tough to defend when they get forward and create for us,” Selvaggio said. “And junior goalkeeper Julia Liposky will bring confidence and skill for us in goal.

“We are excited about some young players who are hungry and speedy, and have confidence girls will step up and make this an exciting season.”

WHEATON WARRENVILLE SOUTH TIGERS

Coach: Guy Callipari

2019 record: 15-5-2

Top players

Abby Becker, sr., D

Sam Buol, sr., D

Cam Tirkildsen, sr., M

Sara Berardi, sr., D

Ellie Farrel, so., M

Becca Hauenstein, jr.. M

Outlook: The list of starters who graduated is long and the list of returnees is short, so Callipari, who has 375 career wins, enters his 24th season at the helm with plenty of question marks. Buol and Berardi are the only name players who have seen significant playing time.

“The Tigers graduated nine starters from 2019, so many are asking the obvious question – how will you be in 2020,” Callipari said. “The answer is (we will find out) somewhere in the first five games of the campaign when roles are learned and accepted. The goal production will need to come from a concerted effort from the front five and our defensive posture will seek four or five new faces. Excitement remains high. The possibilities are wide open if we entertain a work-hard attitude on both sides of the ball.”

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