Waubonsie has talent for title run

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Aurora Central Catholic

Coach: Jennifer Sovacool-Smith (1st year)

Last year: 6-12-1 (2-7-0 SCC)

Outlook: From a won-loss perspective, the past few years haven’t been too impressive. But ACC has made positive strides with a first-round regional win in 2011 to playing for a title in 2012. Sovacool-Smith becomes the third coach in three seasons. A trio of standouts are back, starting with scoring leader Jordyn Sundberg (10 goals, 2 assists), defender Amanda Scarpitti (2 goals) and Shelby Danielson, who will leave the net to become a field presence. That’s possible with Briana Madarino stepping into goal, while two more freshmen in Megan Crabb and Kiley Bruss should launch into four-year careers.

Batavia

Coach: Mark Gianfrancesco (2nd year)

Last year: 11-8-3 (3-3-0 UEC River)

Outlook: Look for Gianfrancesco to have Batavia improve on last year’s record. Headlining the 13 returnees is a stellar senior trio in forward Anna Zeyen (7 goals, 3 assists), midfielder Shelby Stone (4 goals, 2 assists) and keeper Nikki Seiton (1.3 GAA). “We’ve got a ton of experience back with a group that received a lot of varsity playing time, but more importantly, the chemistry is very good and should be seen on the field,” Gianfrancesco said. Junior twins Emily (defender) and Kim (midfielder) Stanczak can be impact newcomers along with Megan McEachern, a freshman forward.

East Aurora

Coach: Javier Hernandez (1st year)

Last year: 5-12-0 (1-5-0 UEC Valley)

Outlook: Despite having to replace 15 seniors heading into the 2011 campaign, East Aurora went from 2-15 to 5-12 overall and from 0-6 to 1-5 in the UEC Valley Division. Can the still youthful Tomcats continue improving? Hernandez inherits that task and is optimistic. “I believe we can have a better season because the girls are very positive and spent the offseason conditioning at such a high intensity level,” he said. Senior Andrea Garcia looks to add to her junior totals (9 goals, 4 assists), while fellow senior Mariana Lopez anchors the defense and two-time All-UEC Valley junior Noella Reyes works in midfield. Newcomers expected to help the varsity are sophomore Alejandra Chapa, plus freshmen Maria Trejo and Bianca Esparza.

Geneva

Coach: Megan Owens (5th year)

Last year: 15-5-4 (5-0-1 UEC River)

Outlook: Among Geneva’s five graduated starters were Beacon-News 2012 Player of the Year Catherine Allon plus all-area pick Caitrin Griffin, so it’s no wonder Owens admits the Vikings have “some big shoes to fill. We have a lot new talent and are eager to see who will step up. We still hope to compete for a top spot in our conference.” Improvement is possible with IHSSCA All-Section 3 honoree Amanda Lulek (14 goals, 6 assists), a four-year starter, who can work with three-year starters Annie Waldoch and Hope Goodman. Newcomers expected to make an impact will be junior keeper Sam Hauser and sophomore forward Mary Landry.

Hinckley-Big Rock

Coach: Paul Taeuber (7th year)

Last year: 13-8-3

Outlook: The Royals graduated Kaitlin Phillips, a multi-sport athlete who tallied 41 goals (seven matchwinners) last year, but the cupboard is never bare. Back as juniors are Lauren Paver (10 goals, 16 assists) and Andrea Binkley (4 goals, 2 assists), plus sophomore Jacqueline Madden (9 goals, 3 assists). “We hope to build on last year, but growth will be needed as we have to train a new goalie and fill in the scoring of Kaitlin,” Taeuber said.

IMSA

Coach: Salvador Tamayo (6th year)

Last year: 10-11-1 (5-0 Northeast Athletic)

Outlook: IMSA swept to the league’s inaugural title (6-0) in 2010 and was perfect last year even though the overall record wasn’t as satisfying. “We do hope to repeat as conference champions, but hopefully we can also improve our overall record,” Tamayo said. That’s always a challenge with IMSA’s sophomore newcomers often new to the sport itself. Leading the charge is a senior triumvirate of all-conference honorees in Rae Hohle, Connor Kasch and Malia Wenny.

Indian Creek

Coach: Luke Anderson (2nd year)

Last year: 8-15-1

Outlook: For the first time in a few years, Indian Creek has a five-senior nucleus with a pair of juniors to provide leadership and experience. With five sophomores and eight hungry freshmen, the Timberwolves’ future looks brighter. Scoring leader Christina Sommerfeld and sweeper Sam Meredith top the veterans list, while the sophomore trio of Emily Schilling, Bailey Martenson and Madison Spooner made impacts as rookies. “We’re still building the program and working on being more competitive, but we’ve got a good senior class and a lot of athletic frosh who are excited to play,” Anderson said.

Kaneland

Coach: Scott Parillo (9th year)

Last year: 13-6-1 (7-2-1 NI Big 12)

Outlook: Parillo has upgraded the schedule by adding a variety of Class 3A programs to hopefully produce greater Class 2A postseason results. “Having toughened up the schedule, we need to be competitive, but I believe we have enough good underclassmen to make a difference,” the coach said. The offensive returnees feature four two-digit point producers — junior Brittany Olson (16 goals, 2 assists), sophomore Courtney Diddell (8 goals, 12 assists), sophomore Maddie Jurcenko (8 goals, 9 assists) and junior Jessica Coia (8 goals, 6 assists). The defense is anchored by senior keeper Jordan Ginther, a Purdue signee.

Metea Valley

Coach: Patrick Feulner (5th year)

Last year: 17-5-0 (5-1-0 UEC Valley)

Outlook: The Mustangs are looking to improve upon a season that saw them win a regional title and share the UEC Valley crown. The returning nucleus begins with All-State selection and Ohio State signee Megan Geldernick (10 shutouts) in goal. Seniors Jenna Kentgen (18 goals, 12 assists) and McKenzie Sheesley (7 goals, 4 assists) fuel the offense. “We feel we’ve got the two best keepers in the state and a solid backline that has played together before,” Feulner said. “We’ve got solid goal scorers and having all but three starters back, the girls believe they can go all the way. I guess we’ll see if they’re right, but I do believe they can certainly play with the best of them.”

Oswego

Coach: Jamie Bartkowiak (9th year)

Last year: 8-12-2 (5-2 Southwest Prairie)

Outlook: Anchoring the Oswego defense are a pair of IHSSCA Honorable Mention All-Section 10 honorees in senior Kendall Craig and junior keeper Amy Annala (seven shutouts), while the offense is led by junior Kaylan Mills (6 goals, 2 assists) and senior Nikki Anderson (6 goals, 1 assist). “All of my returners are excellent and will be key contributors,” Bartkowiak said. “We have seven newcomers to varsity and have high hopes for each of them. We look forward to the opportunity to prove ourselves throughout the entire season.”

Oswego East

Coach: Lauren Anderson (10th year)

Last year: 8-9-1 (3-4 Southwest Prairie)

Outlook: Health is a focus for the Wolves coming into the season. “We have several players coming back from major injuries so we may need to build them into the lineup slowly,” Anderson said. “But it also means we have a lot of leadership and upperclassmen to count on, so we’re looking to have a winning season in conference and overall.” IHSSCA Honorable Mention Section 10 pick Anida Phetchanpheng went from stellar defender to scoring leader (14 goals, 3 assists), proving she can help either Brittany Brewer (9 goals, 8 assists) on offense or defenders Victoria Pecci and Brenna Risch. Bridget Moran in goal and midfielder Allison Ross could be impact players as freshmen.

Plano

Coach: Ben Sperry (6th year)

Last year: 1-17 (0-8 Interstate Eight)

Outlook: Unlike last season, Plano does not have to replace 10 of 11 starters. But the Reapers still need to find consistency and depth to start accumulating wins. “Last season we had a completely new team. This year we have many returning players to the varsity and really hope to build upon the groundwork that was laid last season,” Sperry said. Plano has a quartet of seniors to lead the way in defenders Maritza Cuevas and Abby Smith, midfielder Jordan Luna and forward Claudia Macias.

Rosary

Coach: Kristy Kane (2nd year)

Last year: 18-6 (7-2 SCC)

Outlook: Rosary did not skip a beat under new coach Kristy Kane last year, capturing a fourth straight regional title and setting a school record for victories. “I’m hoping we can match our success,” Kane said. “We have quite a few freshmen on varsity and I’m excited to see how they’ll do.” The Royals return five senior leaders: defender Stephanie Ebert, D-M Kaitlin Johnson (a Michigan State signee), midfielders Taylor Gibson and Haley Kilbride, plus forward Molly Piech (6 goals, 8 assists). Also back are keeper Lauren Frasca (15 shutouts), plus sophomore Quincy Kellett — who tallied team highs for points (61), goals (28) and matchwinners (9) last year.

Waubonsie Valley

Coach: Julie Bergstrom (13th year)

Last year: 16-5-3 (4-1-1 UEC Valley)

Outlook: Talent is never lacking at Waubonsie Valley. How strong is this 2013 unit? Start the evaluation with IHSSCA All-Stater Rachele Armand (Louisville) and All-Section 3 Jenna Romano (Wake Forest), plus top weapons Kristen Brots (11 goals, 11 asissts/Kent State) and Kristen Dodson (12 goals, 6 assists/Auburn). Continue the conversation with Rachele Brots (SIU-Edwardsville), Kendall Wilde (Illinois-Chicago) and Karla DiJohn (DIII Notre Dame College), plus improving sophomores Auburn Morgan in midfield and Emma Rigby in goal. The roll call of talented Warrior alums playing at the collegiate level will rise to 52 once the aforementioned players matriculate.

West Aurora

Coach: Laura Wagley (4th year)

Last year: 14-9-1 (2-5 DVC)

Outlook: For West Aurora, half the battle is surviving the rugged DVC slate. The other half of the battle for 2013 may be replacing IHSSCA All-Section 10 scorer Jessica Saffell (28 goals, 8 assists). Balance is the key as the next five point producers are back, led by juniors Reilly Kulakowski (5 goals, 7 assists) and Sammie O’Brien (6 goals, 5 assists), plus sophomore Yulissa Espino (6 goals, 4 assists), while senior sweeper Daniela Bueno anchors the defense. “We lost a lot of talent, but we’ve gained a few girls and hope to utilize our team strengths better, so we’re expecting another successful season,” Wagley said.

Yorkville

Coach: Andrew Johnson (1st year)

Last year: 8-13-1 (4-6 NI Big 12)

Outlook: Yorkville has had some standout individuals, but not quite enough depth. “This season is about working hard, having fun, trust in one another and creating a foundation for the program to build upon,” Johnson said. “As a family, every practice and time together is focused on training, planning and building cohesion. We’ve got some great senior leadership, varsity-tested underclassmen and a roster with everyone buying into the same practice and game philosophies.” IHSSCA Honorable Mention All-Section 10 senior Brittany Straznickas (11 goals, 5 assists) and sophomore Sarah Megazzini (6 assists) spearhead the attack, while athletic sophomore MacKenzie Lee earned all-conference notice before being sidelined.

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