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2006 Girls Season Preview

February 28, 2006

 

1. FENWICK

 

CREDENTIALS: Farren Rixter. Keely Baldwin. Alison Pavlik. There's probably not much else to add to describe how dangerous the Fenwick lineup will be once again in 2006, as those three players return after accounting for a total of 288 goals in the regular season and 29 goals in the state tournament. Rixter is close to impossible to shut down offensively, Baldwin is one of the best all-around players in the state, and Pavlik is dangerous from both the outside and on the counterattack and is also exceptional on the defensive end. Laurel McCarthy took over in goal for the Friars last season and was solid throughout the year, so expect her to be even better as a junior. Christina Romano has a great deal of speed and adds firepower to the Fenwick counterattack, while senior Kaitlin Kysiak and junior Erin Leary fill out a starting lineup that is without any noticeable holes. Don't expect any kind of a letdown after winning the state title in 2005 with head coach Jack Wagner on the sideline.

 

CONCERNS: The Friars were solid on defense last year in large part because of the contributions of Danielle Buglio. Finding her replacement on that side of the pool will be important.

 

2. STEVENSON

 

CREDENTIALS: Terri Bukofzer does just about everything for the Patriots on offense and defense, and she has the overall talent to help Stevenson get back to the state finals once again this year. Jesse Shopiro and Aubrey Wanland help take the pressure off Bukofzer on the offensive end, and both also play extremely well on defense. Shopiro has a lethal outside shot and is deceptively quick, while Wanland always seems to be in the right place at the right time for the Patriots. Goalie Rachel Cliburn made a name for herself in the team's run to the state final game, and she should be even better in 2006. Katie Michelau continues to provide the Patriots with speed and the ability to score on the counterattack, while Sam Gibson is a tough defender and Megan Pagano gives the Patriots added depth coming off the bench. Amy Michelau had a brilliant freshmen season, so her continued development could be a definite asset to an already strong lineup.

 

CONCERNS: The Patriots lose key starter Sarah Boedecker, so finding a replacement for her role in the starting lineup will be crucial to Stevenson's success in 2006.

 

3. MOTHER MCAULEY

 

CREDENTIALS: Maggie Wood established herself as one of the premiere players in the state last season; she plays extremely well at both ends of the pool and can cause matchup problems for most teams. Laura Perez has developed into one of the better players in the state as well, and the Wood-Perez combination will be difficult to contain. Megan Nolan came on strong towards the tail end of the 2005 season, and she could become a major scoring threat this year. Lily Gonzalez and Ashley Bachler are both strong players and help round out a very talented starting lineup. Standout freshman Maggie McShane could play an important role for the Mighty Macs in her first season.

 

CONCERNS: Mother McAuley lost both of their goalies to graduation last season, so finding a replacement will be critical to their early season and postseason success.

 

4. NAPERVILLE CENTRAL

 

CREDENTIALS: Brittany Walk has proven she has the talent to help Naperville Central win games, and she will once again be counted on to make a difference as the last line of defense for a team that loves to counterattack. Nikki Nelson combines speed and talent to enable Naperville Central to score in transition and beat teams down the pool. Denise Oldenburg could emerge as one of the top scorers in the state, as the senior hole set has the size and strength to cause matchup problems for most defenders.  Jenna Jefferds helps makes things happen on both offense and defense and can be counted on to contribute the little things that make the Redhawks successful. Sarah Pucci is a dangerous scorer, while Liz Young and Kara Wilson help round out a well-balanced lineup from top to bottom.

 

CONCERNS: A much tougher schedule is on the horizon for the Redhawks after their trip to state last season, so they must prove that they can hang with the top teams if they have any chance of advancing back to state in 2006.

 

5. ST IGNATIUS

 

CREDENTIALS: Nora Kennelly is one of the most physical hole sets in the state and is tough to defend or stop on the offensive end. Goalie Megan Hybinette emerged last season and can help Ignatius stay close against the top teams with her athleticism. Kate Brankin and Ali Durkin should help give the Wolfpack a more balanced attack, while sophomore Maisie O'Malley should be able to step her game up with one season of varsity experience under her belt.

 

CONCERNS:  The Wolfpack lost a few seniors that gave the team quality depth in their state qualifying run last season, so they will need to have a few younger players emerge early in the year.

 

6. SANDBURG

 

CREDENTIALS: Junior Sam Cody is a strong defender who will look to be a bigger scoring threat in 2006. Michelle Mulhall should take over the main scoring duties as the hole set for the Eagles and will be tough to stop near the goal. Allison Schilling could emerge as a solid weapon in her senior year. New starters Caitlin Higgins and Jessica Jenkot will be asked to step up, while sophomore Kelly Kuchta should also provide valuable minutes for the Eagles. Junior goalie Jess Pasciak takes over in net for the Eagles.

 

WHY NOT: Sandburg had a strong balance of seniors and underclassmen last season, so they will need to make up for the loss of key players Amanda Cody, Nicole Srutowski, Ami Czerwinski and goalie Mary Cusack.

 

7. NEUQUA VALLEY

 

CREDENTIALS: Kayley Provow could be the most underrated goalie in the state, but her ability could very well lead the Wildcats shoot up the rankings in 2006. Kathleen Patterson has great speed and scoring ability and should continue to improve in her sophomore campaign. Amanda Walde is a physical player on both ends of the pool and can help Neuqua shut down some of the top offensive players they face.

 

WHY NOT: The Wildcats lost some depth and talent from their sectional final run last year, so they will need to find a few replacements early in the season if they are to gel and make a run at Naperville Central.

 

8. LOYOLA

 

CREDENTIALS: Leading scorer Colleen Shaw is back for her junior season, and she should be even better after helping Loyola make an impressive run to the state tournament last year. Jackie Sershon is a talented junior who should pick things up on the offensive end after the loss of Kristina Pilolli to graduation. Expect Meghan Dembski to see an increased role in the starting lineup this year in her senior season. Courtney Muntean's postseason performance last yearmakes her one of the top returning goalies in the state in 2006.

 

WHY NOT: The Ramblers needed overtime to squeak by St Viator in the sectional semifinals and beat Evanston by one goal to advance to state, so they are likely to see similar competition from the above two teams and New Trier if they plan to make a return trip to state. They will also need to find some depth after the loss of several valuable seniors.

 

9. EVANSTON

 

CREDENTIALS: Most of the players for Evanston last year were first-year starters. The good news is that the majority of the lineup is back in tact, led by talented juniors Grace Hatcher and Alex Wich. Senior Sarah Sklare should also have her best season in her final year, while seniors Ali Werd and Laura Eder should also provide valuable experience to a strong starting lineup.

 

WHY NOT: Lanier Zimmer was an integral part of the Wildkits success over the past several seasons, so Evanston will need to find a solid replacement in goal.

 

10. NEW TRIER

 

CREDENTIALS: Allie Hamm makes the Trevians a contender for both the CSL title and will help in their quest to get to the state tournament in 2006. The rest of New Trier's lineup has balance and a solid bench, as Molly Twigg, Blake Bartter, Andrea Jilling, and Ashley Grodecki should all play important roles for the Trevians this season.

 

WHY NOT: New Trier must prove that they can beat Evanston and Loyola in order to have a shot at a trip to the state tournament.

 

11. LATIN

 

WHY THEY'LL MOVE UP: With one of the state's toughest schedules, the Romans will be battle tested come sectional time. They return talented junior Perla Almarez and experienced senior Ellen Manasse to a roster that has solid overall experience but lacks some depth. Christine Ahern, Claire Henderson, and Danielle Carlson play important roles, while goalie Suzanne Foote can help keep Latin close in most games. The Romans will be counting on a handful of younger players to provide added depth off the bench.

 

12. OAK PARK

 

WHY THEY'LL MOVE UP: Lauren Daggett is good enough to help the Huskies move right into the Top 10 if she can continue to excel on the offensive end. Val Poulos emerged as a big-time player last year, while Emily Japlon is an experienced starter who can help on both ends of the pool for OPRF.

 

13. MUNDELEIN

 

WHY THEY'LL MOVE UP: The Mustangs racked up a handful of quality wins last season and return the tandem of Siobhan Larsen and Bree Longfield. Larsen is a talented scorer who should lead the Mustangs offensively, while Longfield is a tough defender with a solid outside shot. Liza Dickinson, Clara Illing, and Elizabeth Klink should also play key roles in the starting lineup for the Mustangs, while freshman Alice Denny could see some playing time immediately in her first season.

 

14. WAUBONSIE VALLEY

 

WHY THEY'LL MOVE UP: Bailey Gucinski had a solid freshman campaign and should continue to improve in her sophomore year. The Warriors will need to find a replacement for talented scorer Lori Roskens.

 

15. LYONS

 

WHY THEY'LL MOVE UP: The Lions lost a handful of talented players, but Megan Kono and Mae Harris should help this squad move up in the rankings once the season gets underway.

 
 
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