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BOTTINO: Johnsburg grad Turpel takes over at Harper

Five games into her college head coaching career, Jenny Turpel received a harsh reminder of her college basketball playing career.

“I still hate the taste of losing,” said Turpel, a Johnsburg graduate who took over in September as the head coach of Harper College in Palatine.

Despite starting 0-5, Turpel is encouraged by the gains her team can make over a season.

“We do have a problem with turning the ball over and rebounding, but those things can be fixed,” she said. “I like being on the community college level. I really get to work with players on their skills and put my stamp on things.”

During a standout career as a player at NCAA Division II Lewis University, Turpel was a three-time All-Great Lakes Valley Conference selection.

“I had always planned to do something in coaching,” the 24-year-old Turpel said.

For the past two years, she has worked as a Harper assistant coach. When previous head coach Nichole Jones resigned in late September, Turpel was chosen as the replacement.

“It’s very exciting,” Turpel said. “I was fortunate enough to get the job. This is a step in the right direction for my future.”

On the sidelines and in practice, Turpel said she leans on her own previous coaches’ styles.

“I’m not a yelling type of coach,” she said. “I never responded well to those kinds of coaches as a player.”

One of Turpel’s biggest influences was her coach at Johnsburg, Mike Toussaint, who continues to be a resource, she said. When it comes to drills and running practices, Turpel leaned on her college experience at Lewis.

With nine first-year players on her roster, Turpel has spent plenty of time sharpening her players’ skills and has quickly grown to appreciate her surroundings.

“I love Harper,” she said. “It’s a beautiful campus. I’m blessed to have this opportunity. I hope to take it and run with it.”

Soccer standouts: NAIA Judson University women’s soccer players Sara Hoffman and Jamie Wimberly were named to the All-Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference second team this fall.

A Huntley grad, Hoffman posted a 0.98 goals-against average this season and posted six shutout victories.

Wimberly, a senior defender who also graduated from Huntley, started all 19 matches on defense this season for Judson (12-5-2), helping the team collect eight total shutouts.

CCAC award winner: Kelsey McFarlane, a senior outside hitter for NAIA Calumet College of St. Joseph, was named second-team All-Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference in women’s volleyball.

McFarlane, a Johnsburg grad, led her team and ranked third in the conference with 3.24 kills per set for the Crimson Wave (10-28). She also averaged 2.4 digs per set this season.

Great Lakes recognition: Huntley grad Laura Gaitsch, who started all 17 games women’s soccer matches this season as a defender for D-II Lake Erie College, was named to the All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s honorable mention team.

The Storm (4-12-1) allowed an average of 1.89 goals per match and had two shutouts. The team lost five times by only one goal this season, including a 1-0 loss to No. 1 Grand Valley State on Nov. 1.

Soccer honoree: Johnsburg grad Natasha Kopystynsky earned a spot this fall on the All-Great South Athletic Conference women’s soccer team.

Kopystynsky, a senior goalkeeper at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, Mass., made 171 saves this fall for the Gators (2-10), the second-best total in the conference. For her career, Kopystynsky made a school-record 615 saves.

• 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.

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