Korey Kronforst is almost 400 miles away from her family this fall, and she admits to feeling tinges of homesickness as a college freshman in Mankato, Minn.
“Sometimes, it feels really far away from home,” said Kronforst, a Cary-Grove graduate. “But my parents have done a great job coming to visit.”
Kronforst has found a family atmosphere – and plenty of success – on the soccer field for NCAA Division II Minnesota State.
Through the Mavericks’ first four matches, Kronforst leads the team with three goals and six points as a top reserve. MSU (2-1-1) moved up two spots this week to No. 22 in the National Soccer Coaches Association poll and debuted at No. 3 in the Central Region rankings.
“Things have been going great,” said Kronforst, a top reserve on a team with 10 returning starters from last season. “I love it here, and I love playing soccer. We have a lot of trust [in each other] on this team.”
Kronforst, a forward, has helped the Mavericks outshoot opponents 78-31 this season while getting some prime scoring opportunities.
“I was definitely hoping to [get scoring chances],” she said.
The highlight of the season thus far was Kronforst’s two-goal output Sept. 6 in a 4-1 win against Concordia-St. Paul.
“It was an awesome feeling,” she said. “I’ll never forget that game.”
Kronforst said the offensive chances have come as the result of a quick, aggressive style that the Mavericks play.
“I think it’s just our ball possession,” she said. “We move really quickly. That’s our style. … It took a little bit [of adjustment]. We play each other really hard in practice.”
MSU lost only one starter from last season’s 17-3-3 team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The team’s success last season helped forge some lofty goals for the Mavericks, who finished second in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference last season.
“We’re hoping to be in the Sweet 16 and to hopefully make a run at the national championship,” she said. “It will be really hard, but we’re willing to put in the work.”
While making an offensive impact early this season, Kronforst said she has worked extensively on sharpening her defense.
“I was never really a good defender,” she said. “But doing our drills and playing our style, I’ve gotten a lot better.”
Bulldogs have their day: D-II Truman State’s football team has started 2-0 this fall with help from starting defensive back Richie Schumacher, a Crystal Lake South grad.
Schumacher has blocked two kicks, recovered a fumble and made eight tackles in the first two games for the Kirksville, Mo., school. Last season, the Bulldogs won only four games.
Through the season’s first two games, Truman’s defense is allowing only 13 points and 81.5 rushing yards a game.
Aubert paces Arkansas St.: Crystal Lake South grad Kristina Aubert blew away the field at last weekend’s UALR Invitational Cross Country Meet in Little Rock, Ark.
Aubert, a sophomore at D-I Arkansas State, ran the 5-kilometer event in 17 minutes, 45.20 seconds, nearly 45 seconds faster than the second-place finisher.
NIU’s Oliver honored: Northern Illinois freshman men’s soccer player Charlie Oliver was named to the all-tournament team at last weekend’s NIU Adidas Invitational.
Oliver, a Crystal Lake South grad, is starting for the Huskies as a defender and helped NIU play to a 0-0 draw with Rhode Island and a 1-1 tie against Drake. Oliver has started every match this season for the Huskies (0-2-2).
Loras soccer soars: D-III Loras College’s men’s soccer program is off to a 5-0-1 start this fall with five shutouts.
The Loras coaching staff includes assistant coach Justin McCord, a Prairie Ridge grad who played for four years at the Dubuque, Iowa, school.
The Duhawks, ranked fourth in this week’s National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll, beat No. 11 Wisconsin-Whitewater, 1-0, on Wednesday.
• Barry Bottino writes a weekly column and a blog about local college athletes for the Northwest Herald. Write to him at BarryOnCampus@hotmail.com, check out his On Campus blog at McHenryCountySports.com and follow him @BarryOnCampus on Twitter.