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  2015 Girls' Season Preview         

  By Aaron Brown


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Several teams have good reason to be optimistic in 2015. Some have gone through the rebuilding process while others are finally putting things together to make a run at their best season in team history. Let's take a closer look at the teams that could be considered 'The Underdogs' this season:


Head Coach: Chris Crawford

Key Players: Hannah Mendralla, Harriet Davies, Lily Marcus, Sarah Durning

Player to Watch: Meredith Robbins

Goalkeeper: Maddie Bollinger

Final 2014 Ranking: 36th


2014 Verdict: Libertyville lost in the sectional quarterfinal round to Lake Forest and finished the season with a 16-12 record.


Outlook: The Wildcats have some truly talented individuals returning to their starting lineup; the key to a successful season will be to find some depth to help them compete in the North Suburban Conference and make a deeper run in the postseason. Look for Durning to lead the way on both ends of the pool and provide the leadership needed for Libertyville to excel in 2015.


Head Coach: Shona Moeller

Key Players: Elena Ochoa, Lauren Wood, Lisa Cheng, Melanie Schaffer, Pan Lin, Priscilla Yim

Player to Watch: Emilia Pranica, Isabelle Kling, Isabelle Mione

Goalkeeper: TBA

Final 2014 Ranking: 45th


2014 Verdict: Vernon Hills fell at the hands of Wheeling in the Mundelein Sectional's quarterfinal round and ended the campaign with an 8-13 mark.


Outlook: The Cougars were a young team last season that now appear ready to take things to the next level after gaining loads of experience throughout the previous campaign. With the offensive tandem of Wood and Yim leading the way and a stellar group of underclassmen, expect Vernon Hills to turn their record around and make some definite noise in the postseason.


Head Coach: Brett Unruh

Key Players: Annie Picchiotti, Emily Morrison, Holly Wasicak, Katie Lane, Kristen Burger, Lilly Jensen

Player to Watch: Dana Meskan

Goalkeeper: Daniella Bucior

Final 2014 Ranking: 44th


2014 Verdict: Maine West finished 16-15 at the end of the 2014 season but were eliminated in the first round of the GBS Sectional by the hosts.


Outlook: The Warriors' program continues to head in the right direction as they return the majority of their top performers to a team that finished with a winning record for the first time in team history. Look for a well-balanced offensive attack and a strong defense to help the Warriors cruise up the rankings and potentially challenge for their first CSL North title.


Head Coach: Jessica Goldner

Key Players: Abby Warren, Allysa Hollander, Clare Wieland, Grace Anne Donahue, Madeline Smith

Players to Watch: Allison Majka, Grace Landis

Goalkeeper: Jesse Bernhart

Final 2014 Ranking: 42nd


2014 Verdict: The Scouts earned a solid 9-5 victory over Libertyville in the sectional quarterfinal round at Mundelein before falling to Stevenson in the semifinals. Lake Forest finished the 2014 campaign with an 8-18 record.


Outlook: Lake Forest earned their stripes through a difficult schedule last year and saw their hard work come to fruition with a sectional victory over a favored Libertyville team. The pieces are in place for the Scouts to not only hit a double-digit win total but to make an ever deeper run in the postseason at the end of the 2015 season.


Head Coach: Andrew Helgeson

Key Players: Hayli Haskins, Katie Lehman, Megan Fox, Regan Warmoth, Reily Kane, Victoria Crocker

Player to Watch: Tyler Thornton

Goalkeeper: Meagan Arseneau

Final 2014 Ranking: 43rd


2014 Verdict: The Lady Boilers defeated Lockport in the opening round of the LWC Sectional before a loss to the sectional champions (LWE) in the quarterfinals. The team went 7-17 in 2014.


Outlook: Bradley has several starters returning to a squad looking to bounce back from a rebuilding year in 2014. Their opening round win over Lockport was a step in the right direction, so it appears the team could be right back in the mix for the SWSC Red title and more playoff success.


Head Coach: Jeff Skalon

Key Players: Jessi Graziano, Katy Kirsh, Olivia Pontarelli, Sarah Morosan

Player to Watch: Dasha Yermol

Goalkeeper: Rebecca Gaare

Final 2014 Ranking: 47th


2014 Verdict: The Bison were eliminated from the postseason by the hosts of the Mundelein Sectional in the quarterfinal round. They ended the year with an 11-17 record.


Outlook: Buffalo Grove has a tight-knit group of returning starters that could help them flip their record around and make some serious noise in the MSL East. If they can find the depth to make a strong impact, the Bison could skyrocket up the rankings by season's end.


Head Coach: Mac Varilla

Key Players: Haley Gibbs, Mara Hoplamazian, Meredith Lohman, Marlee Nork, Rebecca Sudworth

Player to Watch: Sandra Borysiewicz

Goalkeeper: Alina Hillery

Final 2014 Ranking: Unranked


2014 Verdict: The Eagles finished their most successful season to date with a 12-12 record at the end of the season. They were knocked out of the postseason in the quarterfinal round by Lane, who also beat them in the semifinal round of the CPS Tournament one week earlier.


Outlook: Jones-Payton continues to build a highly successful program after just a few years involved in the sport; look for a solid group of returnees to make a serious run at some of the perennial favorites in the Chicago Public League. The starting lineup looks fully loaded and the Eagles could be a dangerous team for any opponent in the postseason.


Head Coach: Beth Donatucci

Key Players: Becca Kasner, Britney Vasquez, Catherine Lynch, Clair Lynch, Danielle Grubb, Lily Becker

Player to Watch: Jessica Bukielski

Goalkeeper: Katrina Vargo

Final 2014 Ranking: 48th


2014 Verdict: The Saxons lost a heartbreaker to Barrington 8-7 in the sectional quarterfinal round at Palatine and finished the season with an 8-15 record.


Outlook: Schaumburg has plenty of returning talent in the fold, which should help boost the team's record into double-digit win territory by the end of the upcoming campaign. The signs are pointing in the right direction for head coach Beth Donatucci's squad, as the Saxons could be a dark horse candidate in a highly-competitive MSL West division.


Head Coach: Maria Elena-Agrela

Key Players: Hannah Flynn, Lucia Adami, Margaret Miezio, Marisa Sosa, Rena McCullough

Players to Watch: Ana Benoy, Carrie Sosa, Megan Calby

Goalkeeper: Abby Schwarz

Final 2014 Ranking: 45th


2014 Verdict: The Bulldogs lost in the quarterfinal round of the Lyons Sectional to the hosts and ended the season with an 11-18 record.


Outlook: Riverside-Brookfield enters the 2015 season in an interesting position; they lost a handful of highly productive seniors but return plenty of younger talent with loads of potential. If some of the new faces in the starting lineup can help the likes of Adami, Flynn, and Sosa on the offensive end, expect to see the Bulldogs make a much deeper run in the postseason in 2015.


Head Coach: Joe Starr

Key Players: Alexis Rodriguez, Jenny Ascencion, Nadia Pantaleon, Stephanie Torres

Player to Watch: Kayla Ruiz

Goalkeeper: Jocelyne Sanchez

Final 2014 Ranking: Unranked


2014 Verdict: Morton went 11-14 in 2014 and lost to York in the quarterfinals of the Lyons Sectional at the end of the previous season.


Outlook: The Mustangs might be one of the most underrated teams entering the season. The majority of the starters return to a team that posted double-digit wins for the third straight season, so it would not come as a shock to see Morton wreak havoc on the rest of the West Suburban Conference this season. Look for Torres and Sanchez to have really big seasons and the Mustangs to make some major moves up the rankings over the course of the regular season.


Head Coach: Kelli Lussow

Key Players: Anna Frantom, Elizabeth Ure, Emily Walters, Erin Pletch, Lizzie Hardt, Sara Luedloff

Players to Watch: Emma Mankert

Goalkeeper: Betsy Zanocco

Final 2014 Ranking: Unranked


2014 Verdict: The Mustangs were eliminated from the postseason by Palatine in the quarterfinal round of sectionals. They finished the season with an 8-21 record, a tremendous improvement from their one-win season in 2013.


Outlook: The Mustangs return several key components from a team that drastically increased their win total last season. Look for more improvement from Meadows, a true wild card that could shake things up in the MSL East this year. Luedloff and Pletch should be difference-makers for the offense, while Zanocco came into her own last season and should provide a major spark for the Mustangs' defense.


Head Coach: Stephanie Ter Bush

Key Players: Erin Sastre, Haley Salveson, Julie Jezek, Lexy Kos, Mackenzie Kos, Sofie Peltier

Players to Watch: Julia Saunders, Morgan Meador

Goalkeeper: December Fagen

Final 2014 Ranking: Unranked


2014 Verdict: The Saints knocked off Hinsdale South in the opening round of the Metea Valley Sectional before losing to Naperville North in the sectional quarterfinals. They ended the year with an 8-15 mark, doubling their win total from the previous season.


Outlook: STC East looks like a team on the rise with several key players returning to the fold for new head coach Stephanie Ter Bush. The defense should be solid in front their experienced goalkeeper, so the key to the Saints success will be finding enough offense to turn their record around in 2015.




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