ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Cassie Kowalski, Jacobs, sr., M
Kowalski scored a hat trick during her first varsity game as a freshman three years ago. Things came full circle for Kowalski when she scored a hat trick in her last home game Tuesday at Jacobs in a Fox Valley Conference win over Crystal Lake South.
In three matches over a four-day span, Kowalski has scored five goals. The Golden Eagles (11-9-1, 4-3 FVC) won all three of those contests, which included a win over Mother McAuley in the championship game of their PepsiCo Showdown bracket Sunday afternoon.
Jacobs won its PepsiCo Showdown bracket for the second year in a row.
NORTHWEST HERALD POWER RANKINGS
1. Prairie Ridge (16-1-1, 7-1 FVC): In truth, all three FVC champions share the top spot in the rankings. Prairie Ridge is on a roll with seven straight wins.
2. Cary-Grove (11-2-1, 7-1 FVC): Despite the loss to Prairie Ridge, the Trojans are still FVC co-champions.
3. Crystal Lake Central (15-2, 7-1 FVC): The Tigers are on a roll, too, having won five consecutive games.
4. Woodstock (13-6-1, 9-1-1 KRC): Burlington Central beat the Blue Streaks on Saturday. Woodstock will have one more crack at the Rockets on Thursday.
5. Huntley (9-7-2, 4-4 FVC): The Red Raiders cruised vs. Hampshire and Marian Central this week.
Game within the game: In Tuesday’s 3-1 win over C-G, Prairie Ridge defender Abby Klimkowski marked the Trojans’ Jenna Stayart for much of the game. It was a chess match between a Division I defender (Klimkowski will play at Purdue Fort Wayne next year) and one of the FVC’s top scorers (Stayart has 21 goals through Tuesday).
“She always wins the ball that you never expect her to win,” Klimkowski said of Stayart. “She just comes out of nowhere, and she’s a lot stronger than she looks and extremely fast, which is hard for any defense she goes up against.”
Klimkowski enjoyed the challenge, although Stayart managed to score one goal. At the time, the goal pulled C-G even, 1-1, midway through the second half.
“Knowing all these girls and playing against them for a while, you just hear a lot about them,” Klimkowski said. “It was definitely intimidating. She’s an amazing player. I played against her older sister – I played against both of them last year.”
Kelly Stayart was the Northwest Herald Girls Soccer Player of the Year last season, and the Stayart sisters were a dynamic pair for the Trojans.
Prairie Ridge coach Mark Lewis called Jenna Stayart “the best player in the conference, probably in the state.” He noted that Klimkowski did an “unbelievable” job against a potent scorer.
WHAT TO WATCH
Woodstock at Burlington Central, 4:30 p.m. Thursday: This will be the KRC finale for both teams.