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  2015 Girls' Season Preview         

  By Aaron Brown

 

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THE SLEEPERS: GIRLS

 

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 2015 season. Let's take a closer look at ten teams considered 'Sleepers' this season:


31. LINCOLN-WAY WEST


Head Coach: Keith Huizinga

Key Players: Bridget Soukup, Carlyn Clarke, Erika Tanquilut, Kailey Kinsella, Morgan Staley

Players to Watch: Kathy Keblusek, Mary Broucek

Goalkeeper: Maggie Winslow

Final 2014 Ranking: 33rd

 

2014 Verdict: The Warriors lost a duel with Lincoln-Way North in the sectional quarterfinals at LWC. They did, however, finish with a .500 mark in the SWSC Red and posted a 13-13 overall record.

 

Outlook: Lincoln-Way West come so close to posting their first winning season in team history, finishing the year with a .500 record after a sectional quarterfinal loss. With several talented and experienced players returning for head coach Keith Huizinga, look for the Warriors to break the .500 barrier and then some and also challenge for the SWSC Red title in 2015.


32. HOMEWOOD-FLOSSMOOR

Head Coach: Pat Duignan

Key Players: Amber Barney, Andrea Stilts, Brooke Butler, Emily Mathews, Kelly Morrissey

Players to Watch: Alexis Anderson, Brianna Rauch

Goalkeeper: Rebecca Tanner

Final 2014 Ranking: 34th

 

2014 Verdict: The Vikings were eliminated from the postseason by LWC in the sectional quarterfinals and ended the 2014 season with a 10-20 record.

 

Outlook: Now that Homewood-Flossmoor has battled through the rebuilding process, they have several players returning and plenty of optimism that they will be able to turn their record around and mix it up again at the top of the SWSC Blue standings. Barney and Morrissey should form a potent offensive duo, Tanner will be a difference-maker in goal, while a strong and experienced junior class led by Rauch and Mathews should prove helpful for head coach Pat Duignan.


33. MAINE SOUTH

Head Coach: Sarah Gershon

Key Players: Erin Patrick, Sammy Zaug

Player to Watch: TBA

Goalkeeper: Kalin Bender

Final 2014 Ranking: 26th

 

2014 Verdict: Maine South knocked off Hersey in the quarterfinal round at GBS before a loss to New Trier in the semifinals. The Hawks finished the season with a 14-11 record.

 

Outlook: The Hawks have built a consistent winner of a program in just a short amount of time, though they will be tested in 2014 after losing several seniors to graduation. The combo of Patrick and Zaug should help lead the offense, while Bender should continue to excel in goal to lead the defense. The key to the Hawks getting further than the sectional semifinal round will be having the new starters make an immediate impact for head coach Sarah Gershon's squad.


34. WAUBONSIE VALLEY


Head Coach: Diane Mehl

Key Players: Kelsey Meyer, Kimela Srey, Megan Turner, Molly Anderson, Sarah Anderson

Players to Watch: Maria Campbell, Marion Bautista

Goalkeeper: Juliette Ansberry

Final 2014 Ranking: 40th

 

2014 Verdict: The Warriors season came to an end in the sectional quarterfinal round after a loss to Naperville Central. They posted an 8-19-1 record in the previous season.

 

Outlook: Waubonsie Valley quadrupled their win total last season and should head into double-digit win territory as they return plenty of firepower from the previous campaign. Anderson and Srey should take care of the bulk of the scoring while a trio of sophomores (Ansberry, Bautista, Campbell) should benefit from their experience after stepping up to the varsity level in their first high school season.


35. GLENBROOK SOUTH


Head Coach: Mike Stancik

Key Players: Anna Hofmockel, Dana Grad, Diana Capota, Sinead Heneghan, Rachel Spector

Players to Watch: Kelly Klish, Maddie McMillan, Nicole Lopatinsky

Goalkeeper: Carolyn Levi/Sammi Wykurz

Final 2014 Ranking: 41st

 

2014 Verdict: Glenbrook South's improvement throughout the season culminated with an 8-5 victory over Maine West in the opening round of the playoffs. They were eliminated by Loyola in the following round and ended the year with a 7-20 mark.

 

Outlook: The Titans will look to carry the momentum from the second half of the 2014 season into the new campaign, as they earned six of their seven wins in the last four weeks of the previous season. They have plenty of depth and experience returning from a team that seemed to grow together under first year head coach Mike Stancik. That should bode well for their chances in both the CSL South and the postseason in 2015.


36. MARIAN


Head Coach: Sean Scanlon

Key Players: Diana Fernandez, Jackie Johnson, Killian McDonald, Mae Van Beest, Megan Fuhrman

Player to Watch: Janie Neal, Lila Smith

Goalkeeper: Genna Helsel

Final 2014 Ranking: 35th

 

2014 Verdict: The Spartans were eliminated from the postseason by Andrew in the quarterfinal round of the LWC Sectional. They finished the season with an 11-14-1 record against a difficult schedule.

 

Outlook: Marian Catholic brings back a large contingent of their top players as they seek to break the .500 barrier and then some while facing one of the state's toughest schedules. Fernandez and Van Beest form a dangerous pair on the offensive end, while Helsel anchors the defense as a four-year starter in goal for head coach Sean Scanlon's squad. Watch for the Spartans to challenge some of the Catholic's best teams in preparation for a strong showing in the postseason at the end of the 2015 season.


37. WHITNEY YOUNG


Head Coach: Andy Parro

Key Players: Andrea Zelen, Claire Fahey, Fairie Hughes, Jessie Cronin, Jessica Beal, Sarah Engemann

Players to Watch: Claire Fridkin, Pamela Medina, Tori Young

Goalkeeper: Claire Toney

Final 2014 Ranking: 38th

 

2014 Verdict: The Dolphins finished the 2014 season with a 16-13 record, won the third-place game in the CPS Tournament, and knocked off Northside in the sectional quarterfinals at UIC before losing to St Ignatius in the semifinal round.

 

Outlook: Whitney Young's lineup appears fully loaded for the 2015 season, so expect the Dolphins to be right back in the thick of the CPS title hunt. Young has a wide variety of scoring options centered around Cronin and Hughes, while the rest of a well-balanced unit could cause nightmares for opponents as the season rolls along.


 

38. NORTHSIDE


Head Coach: Carlos Ceja

Key Players: Ana Lee Pokrzywa, Jessica Skipper, Marti Hale, Megan Davis, Morgan Nicholson

Player to Watch: Alejandra Fuentes, Rebekah Kissel

Goalkeeper: TBA/Heather Walker

Final 2014 Ranking: 39th

 

2014 Verdict: Northside Prep earned runner-up status in the CPS Tournament after beating Whitney Young in Week 9, but lost the following week to the Dolphins in the sectional quarterfinal round at UIC. They finished the 2014 campaign with a respectable 15-13 record.

 

Outlook: The Mustangs have been one of the most consistent CPS teams over the last several years; don't expect anything to change in 2015 as nearly everyone returns to the lineup for head coach Carlos Ceja's bunch. If the offense continues to excel and NSP can get the goaltender situation sorted, expect to see the Mustangs challenging for the CPS title and making a deep postseason run.


39. BARRINGTON

Head Coach: Mark Markwell

Key Players: Andrea Potgeiter, Isabella Rojas, Mackenzie Stagnito, Mia Latimer, Nicole Runtz

Player to Watch: Heidi Pallan

Goalkeeper: Elizabeth Connors

Final 2014 Ranking: 37th

 

2014 Verdict: The Fillies showcased their rebuilding efforts in the sectional quarterfinal round, earning a narrow 8-7 victory over Schaumburg. They were knocked out of the postseason by Conant in the next round and finished their season with an 11-18 mark.

 

Outlook: Barrington figured it would be tough to follow up a 27-win season that culminated in a state tournament berth in 2013. However, it looks like they were able to rebuild quickly and develop some of their younger players in preparation for the new season, giving them as good a chance as any of the teams in the stacked MSL West division to make some serious noise.


40. HERSEY


Head Coach: Megan Brownley

Key Players: Elizabeth Niersbach, Katie Lutz, Mackensi Karman, Stephanie Surkin

Player to Watch: Karolina Niemec, Katie Lindgren

Goalkeeper: Shannon Cunningham

Final 2014 Ranking: 30th

 

2014 Verdict: The Huskies posted a solid 17-9 record in 2014 but fell in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs to Maine South at the GBS Sectional.

 

Outlook: Hersey lost a talented group of seniors that helped challenge for an MSL East title last season. The cupboard is not bare, however, as Lutz and Surkin should lead the team while a large contingent of new faces could give the Huskies loads of depth and plenty of reason to believe they can be better than they were last season by the time the postseason arrives.


 

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