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  2013 Girls' Season Preview    

  By Aaron Brown

  February 2013


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There are several teams on the rise and others who lost a ton of production to graduation but could reload quickly in order to make an impact during the 2013 season. Let's take a closer look at ten teams considered 'Sleepers' this season:



Marian has the pieces in place to make an early move into the Top 25 after a strong rebuilding year. While the Spartans will have to find replacements for Nikki Panazzo and Tori Fuentes, they have plenty of experience returning to a squad that should easily improve on their 10-win season of 2012. The offense is in great shape with Grace Van Beest, Paige Wieser and Sophie Sesto all returning to carry the scoring load. The tandem of Genevieve Helsel and Maya Horton split time in goal last season and give Marian options on the defensive end. Brittany Maloney and Isabelle Keating should also play an important role for Sean Scanlon's squad, who will be looking to improve on a fifth-place finish in the Catholic League and to advance beyond the sectional quarterfinal round after getting eliminated by Homewood-Flossmoor at that stage last May.

Head Coach: Sean Scanlon

2012 Record: 10-17

Key Losses: Nikki Panazzo, Tori Fuentes


The Porters return plenty of firepower from a team that advanced to the sectional semifinal round by beating Andrew last May. If they can carry that momentum forward, they should create a stir in the SouthWest Suburban Blue division and take things a step further in this year's playoffs. Christine Bafia and Megan Cavanaugh are both consistent scorers who should lead the way on the offensive end, where they will be joined in the attack by Alyssa Black, Paige Adelman and Teige Ballweber. Rachel Unger is the likely candidate to take over for departed goaltender Kim Sexton, while Iza Zalesko and Kathleen Reaney could also play valuable roles for head coach Melissa Stelter.

Head Coach: Melissa Stelter

2012 Record: 11-18

Key Losses: Ashley Holtrop, G Kim Sexton, Liz Latka, Megan Kelly


It's tough to predict how the upcoming season will go for Conant. The Cougars won 21 games last year and finished one game shy of their first-ever sectional final. The problem for head coach Justin Bickus will be replacing the production of leading scorers Andrea Cobb, Jessica Southern and Kristi Burke while also filling the goaltender role after two-year starter Jessica Davis was lost to graduation. Leading the charge on offense will be Angie Skittone and Barbara Rose, two productive playmakers who should excel now that they are in the spotlight. Other returnees that could make a difference are Kaitlyn Claffey, Jenn Soukup and Natalie Tanski; all three will finally get their chance to shine with starting roles available. Dominique Murtagh also returns to spearhead the defense, where her experience could prove vital.

Head Coach: Justin Bickus

2012 Record: 21-10

Key Losses: Andrea Cobb, G Jessica Davis, Jessica Drawant, Jessica Southern, Kristi Burke


Even though the Warriors suffered a few key losses from last year's 13-win team, they should be in good hands with several starters and a mix of newcomers ready to move forward. Emily Gallagher and Michelle Fairbairn will lead the way for the offense after both had productive goal-scoring campaigns last year. Meanwhile, Bridget Soukup, Gena Tanquilut and Tori Tibieri are amongst a group of several other players that hope to make up for the loss of Allison Rocha and Angela Popoca. On the defensive end, head coach Keith Huizinga could look to JV goalies Maggie Winslow and/or Victoria Kroll to replace two-year starter Becca Beeson. All told, the Warriors could end up right in the middle of a heated SouthWest Suburban Blue title race with Andrew, Bradley and Lincoln-Way North.

Head Coach: Keith Huizinga

2012 Record: 13-14

Key Losses: Angela Popoca, Allison Rocha, G Becca Beeson


Things are definitely looking up for the Titans in 2013. Most of the starting lineup returns after a bit of rebuilding last season, so expect GBS to make a major move up the Central Suburban League standings after a sixth-place finish in 2012. Anne Edwards and Sarah Grieve should shine on the offensive end, while Jessie Kerndt, Kim Durkin, Maggie Dietrich and Margaret Schneider also return and should make their mark after gaining valuable experience last year.  Head coach Chris Tomsheck also welcomes back
Eleanor Fogarty for her second year as the starting goalkeeper, which should solidify things on the defensive end for the Titans.

Head Coach: Chris Tomsheck

2012 Record: 8-15

Key Losses: Camilla Dziura, Sara Ocytko


The Spartans are set in the key positions in 2013, but the key to their success will be finding replacements for the likes of Jennifer Montgomery, Kaitlyn Reinwald and Melissa Weinstein. Molly Orbon and Vladi Milutinovic are a potent scoring tandem that head coach Robin Walker will hope can carry the team offensively. Meanwhile, goaltender Kerry Goodspeed is expected to hold things down on the defensive end in her second year as the starting keeper. If several new faces can make an impact in the starting lineup, GBN could definitely improve on their fifth-place finish in the Central Suburban League and advance further in the playoffs after last year's sectional quarterfinal exit.

Head Coach: Robin Walker

2012 Record: 9-13

Key Losses: Jennifer Montgomery, Kaitlyn Reinwald, Melissa Weinstein


The 2012 season was somewhat of a banner year for the Bison; they finished with 19 wins after knocking off Libertyville in overtime in the sectional quarterfinals at Vernon Hills. To repeat their success, they will have to replace several productive players lost to graduation, but they do return a handful of key pieces that could help them do just that. Buffalo Grove will be solid on the defensive end with goaltender Callie Fasching reprising her role as the starting keeper in 2013. Margeret Lotzer is the top returning goalscorer and will likely be asked to shoulder the load on the offensive end in order to replace the production of Julie Pater, Kristi Harris and Sara Fasching. Bridget Whited leads a pack of several up-and-coming players who will be counted on for increased production as the Bison hope to contend for the Mid-Suburban League East title after a second place finish last year.

Head Coach: Tim O'Hagan

2012 Record: 19-12

Key Losses: Julie Pater, Kristi Harris, Kristin Molloy, Melissa Polovitch, Sara Fasching, Vieve Patrick


The Red Devils are primed for an impressive season. After finishing third in the West Suburban Conference last time around, the team will have to replace four seniors lost to graduation, but they also return several key components from a squad that totaled 13 wins in 2012. The offense will most definitely be led by Sarah Pircon, who led the team in scoring last season. She will be joined by Caroline Oakum, Rachel Parks, Rebecca Laughman and Sam Foulston, as all four players made solid contributions on the offensive end last year and will be asked to step their games up as the team moves forward. A major key for head coach Chris Wilbur will be finding a goalie to replace Hannah Homolka, who became an solid goalkeeper late in her career after playing in the field until her junior season for the Red Devils.

Head Coach: Chris Wilbur

2012 Record: 13-16

Key Losses: G Hannah Homolka, Nikki Spinazola, Reagan Fiascone, Samantha Kritzer


The Dolphins move forward with a tremendous mix of youth and experience in 2013, making them an early candidate to make a major move up the rankings. The only reason they start out this low is because they lose a trio of highly productive players in Emily Asai, Susan Engemann and Suzy Zizumbo. On the other hand, the emergence of juniors Audrey Anderson and Gabby Chelette combined with the outstanding production of last year's newcomer Jessie Cronin should give head coach Aaron Fleishhacker plenty of optimism for a team that won 17 games and claimed the Chicago Public League tournament title in 2012. The most important piece of the puzzle could be the return of experienced goaltender Nya Wilkins, who has started in goal for the past two seasons and will be a solid presence on the defensive end for Whitney Young.

Head Coach: Aaron Fleischhacker

2012 Record: 17-8

Key Losses: Emily Asai, Susan Engemann, Suzy Zizumbo


The Griffins are hoping for bigger and better things in 2013 after a 10-win season ended in a sectional quarterfinal loss to Lincoln-Way North. They could be in line for major improvements as several players with varsity experience make their return for new head coach Ryan Lodes. Haley McCabe is expected to lead the way on the offensive end, while Lauren Vandervelde, Taryn Linke and Steph Bitz all played valuable minutes last season and will hope to replace the potent scoring duo of Emily Koss and Zoe McCabe. Sophomore goaltender Jill Connolly earned her stripes in a few starting stints last year and will look to replace long-time starter Tricia Paul. A solid start to the season could be important for the Griffins' chances of excelling in the SouthWest Suburban Blue division, as they look to challenge the likes of H-F, Lincoln-Way Central and Sandburg after they finished behind all three teams last year.

Head Coach: Ryan Lodes

2012 Record: 10-15

Key Losses: Emily Koss, Grace Ritter, G Tricia Paul, Zoe McCabe




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