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  2015 Girls' Season Preview         

  By Aaron Brown

 

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THE DARK HORSES: GIRLS

 

A handful of girls' teams just missed out on making the Preseason Top 25 but could make their way up the rankings during the 2015 season. Let's take a closer look at five teams that should be considered 'Dark Horses' this season:


26. GLENBROOK NORTH


Head Coach: Robin Walker

Key Players: Colleen Doolan, Lindsay Fraser, Melaney van Spankeren, Patricia Doolan

Player to Watch: Lauren Sulkowski

Goalkeeper: TBA

Final 2014 Ranking: 24th

 

2014 Verdict: The Spartans upset New Trier en route to a second-place finish in the CSL Tournament in Week 9, but were stunned by Maine East the following week in the sectional quarterfinal round. They still finished the 2014 campaign with a 16-6 record.

 

Outlook: The lineup of returning players looks impressive for GBN as they head into the new campaign, where they'll hope to get off to a fast start to erase the memory of last season's early exit from the postseason. The biggest question mark revolves around the goaltender position, as the Spartans will need to replace longtime starter Kerry Goodspeed between the posts. If they can find an answer, they could move quickly up the rankings and challenge for the CSL title and a state tournament berth.


27. LANE

Head Coach: Tim Ruppe

Key Players: Amanda Magana, Brianna Breason, Erica Skibicki, Gabrielle Fabre, Gretel O'Connell

Players to Watch: Camila Cordona, Jazmin Rivera, Zoe Schanks

Goalkeeper: Anne Puralewski

Final 2014 Ranking: 29th

 

2014 Verdict: Lane went undefeated throughout the CPS season and capped off that performance by winning the CPS Tournament to close out the regular season. They defeated Jones-Payton in the first round of the UIC Sectional before bowing out courtesy of a 6-3 loss to Evanston in the semifinals. They ended the year with an 18-6 mark.

 

Outlook: The Indians will look to follow up last season's 18-win campaign with another CPS title, as they look to quickly recover from the loss of several seniors with a young and highly-talented group. Magana should be a force on the offensive end, Breason showed a lot of promise after a solid freshman season, and Puralewski provides an excellent backline for a team eyeing their first-ever state tournament berth if the rest of the lineup falls into place.


28. MAINE EAST

Head Coach: Kara Bosman

Key Players: Julia Perez, Karolina Maniewski, Manka Arifi, Nikki Fuentes, Sarah Pham

Player to Watch: Majda Murati

Goalkeeper: Zainab Naseer/TBA

Final 2014 Ranking: 22nd

 

2014 Verdict: The Blue Demons finished atop the CSL North standings in the regular season and beat GBN 4-3 in the sectional quarterfinals before dropping a tough decision to Loyola in the semifinal round at GBS. They ended their campaign with an impressive 24-7 record.

 

Outlook: Maine East continues to excel season-after-season, especially in 2014 when they won the CSL North, earned 27 victories, and snagged a quality postseason win over GBN. They will have to continue their success without several of their top performers from the previous few campaigns, but they do have plenty of talented newcomers ready to make an imprint under new head coach Kara Bosman.


29. HINSDALE CENTRAL


Head Coach: Chris Ortiz

Key Players: Heather DeBoer, Katherine Brose, Kelly Williams, Molly Gates, Nina Relias, Samara Lillioja

Players to Watch: Courtney Malecki, Lauren Hamp

Goalkeeper: Gracie Dunn

Final 2014 Ranking: 32nd

 

2014 Verdict: Hinsdale Central battled to a 13-13 record throughout the 2014 season and fell victim to a last minute game-winning goal by STC North in the sectional quarterfinals at Metea Valley last May.

 

Outlook: The Red Devils lost about half of their roster to graduation, but the other half that returns plus some promising young talent should have them back on track for a winning season after they went .500 in 2014. DeBoer, Gates, and Relias should make for a potent offensive attack while the emergence of Lillioja late in the season should pay major dividends for Central. They should be in good shape on the defensive end with Dunn returning in goal, so look for the Red Devils to make some major noise in a strong-looking West Suburban Conference.


30. BREMEN

Head Coach: Todd Strein

Key Players: Brittany Lira, Elizabeth Minnich, Faith Alfrejd, Gretchen Behrens, Leah Wood

Players to Watch: Ashley Siedschlag, Jillian Schultz

Goalkeeper: TBA

Final 2014 Ranking: 15th

 

2014 Verdict: The Red Jaguars earned sectional victories over Argo and Sandburg before missing out on a chance at their first-ever state tournament appearance when Mother McAuley beat them 9-7 in double overtime in the Stagg Sectional's title game. Bremen ended the year with a 24-8 record.

 

Outlook: Bremen enters the season as a bit of a mystery after losing four-year starter Hannah Schultz and several other seniors from a team that just missed out on a state tournament berth. While they will be a young team, they have tons of potential and could be ranked way too low to start the season if players like Minnich and Wood have anything to say about it. And for coaches that were excited to see that "Schultz" name off the scoresheet...freshman Jillian Schultz (Hannah's sister) should play a vital role for the Red Jaguars over the next four years.


 

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