FOX VALLEY CONFERENCE
Coach: Ray Krystal (13th season)
Last year: 13-3-2, 7-1 FVC; Class 3A regional champion
Top returners: Maddie Jannusch, sr., D; Megan Harbeck, sr.; Katie Glowinski, sr.; Kailyn Sheehan, sr., M; Jenna Stayart, so., F; Maggie Mason, so.; Caitlin Scopa, sr.; Elsa Larry, sr.
Key newcomers: McKenna Sheehan, sr., GK; Kenedi Jones, so., M
Noteworthy: McKenna Sheehan did not play for the Trojans last year but is committed to play goalkeeper at Division I Missouri. Her twin sister, Kailyn Sheehan, a midfielder, is committed to D-I Florida Gulf Coast. Stayart will lead the attack up top after scoring 14 goals as a freshman. The Trojans lost a heartbreaker in a shootout during the sectional final against eventual state champion Barrington.
Crystal Lake Central
Coach: Sarah Fack (third season)
Last year: 13-7-1, 5-3 FVC
Top returners: Abbey Kramer, sr., D; Nora Ryan, so., GK; Erica Novy, jr., M; Emma Bolanowski, so., F
Key newcomers: Taylor Bittenbender, sr., F; Megan Wozniak, sr., M
Noteworthy: Bolanowski led the Tigers in points and goals last season as a freshman, scoring a team-high 13 goals. Playing for Crystal Lake South in 2018, Bittenbender scored a dramatic game-winning goal to beat Central in overtime. Now the senior has transferred to Central and will provide some additional varsity experience. “Early in the season, we will be looking to find some leaders to fill the shoes of a great senior class from last year,” Fack said.
Crystal Lake South
Coach: Jay Mueller (sixth season)
Last year: 13-7, 6-2 FVC; Class 2A regional champion
Top returners: Abby Wiegand, sr., F; Emma Chudik, so., M
Key newcomers: Brooke Dunteman, sr., D; Maggie Rimer, sr., D
Noteworthy: The Gators have won three consecutive regional titles. Rimer is committed to play Division I soccer at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. She was a pole vaulter and a middle distance runner for the Gators' track team last spring. She previously played with Eclipse Select Soccer Club based in Oak Brook. Wiegand was a Northwest Herald All-Area second-team performer last season who led the team with eight assists.
Coach: Sebastian Falinski (12th season)
Last year: 8-13, 3-5 FVC
Top returners: Diana Santillan, sr., GK; Katelyn Skibinski, jr., M; Kendall Kieltyka, sr., D; Mia Seaton, so., D; Rylee Quillen, jr., M; Genny Rendl, so., M; Isabel Bahena, sr., D
Key newcomers: Berkley Mensik, fr., F; Hailey Eckersberg, so., F; Alejandro Melo, so., M
Noteworthy: Skibinski is one of the top returning goal scorers in the FVC after her 17-goal season last year, which was tied for the second-most goals in D-C program history. She will be a force at the top again for the Chargers. “I’m hoping the experience [the team] received last year carries over with more confidence to this season,” Falinski said.
Coach: Javier Rojo (first season)
Last year: 5-19-1, 0-8 FVC
Top returners: Veronica Walker, jr.; Alyssa Dimaano, sr.; Alessa Carranza, jr.
Key newcomers: Kortney Fairwood, fr.
Noteworthy: Rojo takes over the head coaching position from Colin Brice, who is now the boys head coach and girls assistant coach at Jacobs. Rojo served as the boys assistant coach at Hampshire last fall. He said he hopes to see technical and tactical development from his players over the course of the season.
Coach: Matt Lewandowski (second season)
Last year: 7-9-1, 2-6 FVC
Top returners: Alyssa Xanos, sr., F; Avery Fitzgerald, sr., F; Yetzemany Solis, sr., D; Hannah Scholer, sr., D; Alyssa Costantino, sr., D
Key newcomers: Gen Porsche, jr., M; Allyssa Rivera, jr., F; Lexi Kozak, sr., GK
Noteworthy: Huntley struggled in conference play last year, but the Red Raiders “return a great core of veteran players,” Lewandowski said. Xanos scored seven goals a year ago, while Fitzgerald added four. Solis scored three goals and had three assists, while playing primarily as a defender. Scholer and Costantino were All-FVC defenders.
Coach: Stephanie Schuck (sixth season)
Last year: 12-6-2, 4-4; Class 3A regional champion
Top returners: Cassie Kowalski, sr., M; Baylee Vincent, sr., F; Kelsey Medina, sr., M; Dominique Anderson, jr., F; Lindsey Cepa, so., GK
Key newcomers: Melissa Fessler, jr., D; Emma Miller, so., M
Noteworthy: The Golden Eagles won their first regional title since 2012 last season. Kowalski led the team with 10 goals, while Medina recorded a team-high 10 assists. Schuck is going on maternity leave in April, and assistant coach Colin Brice will serve as head coach the remainder of the season. Brice is the Golden Eagles' varsity boys coach.
Coach: Andrew Stegenga (third season)
Last year: 3-11-2, 1-7-1 FVC
Top returners: Lauren Pearson, sr., M; Sam Sacchitello, sr.,D; Gracie Gasmann, so., D; Annie Bantner, so., GK; Mireya Macias, so., F; Reyna Landa, jr., D
Key newcomers: Ella Ruppenthal, fr., D; Sophia Gasmann, fr., D; Evelyn Corona, fr., F/GK; Skyla Gordillo, jr., M; Madison Fray, fr., M/D; Emily Rosinski, fr., M; Jessica Luedtke, fr., M
Noteworthy: The Warriors have two sets of sisters: Sophia and Gracie Gasmann will patrol the back line, while Sam and Olivia Sacchitello will be in the midfield. McHenry has a lot of freshmen, which could lead to some growing pains. Stegenga said the Warriors have “a great group of ladies who are dedicated to taking a step forward this year.”
Coach: Mark Lewis (first season)
Last year: 17-1, 8-0 FVC; FVC champion, Class 2A regional champion
Top returners: Sam Gablenz, so., GK; Maddie Kachelmuss, sr., D; Abby Klimkowski, sr., D; Abby Gunwall, sr., D; Reanne Weil, so., D/F; Delaney Todd, so., D/M; Emily Eriksen, sr., D; Chelsea Gale, so., M; Lucy Klimkowski, so., M; Grace Marineau, so., M; Abby Eriksen, sr., M/F; Nikki Anderson, sr., F
Key newcomers: Cat Crounse, sr., M; Kelly Gende, fr., M/F; Abby Kirk, so., D/M; Olivia Ott, sr., D/F; Mackenzie Nelson, fr., M/F
Noteworthy: After winning their first 17 games a year ago, the Wolves return a senior-heavy team. Abby Klimkowski is committed to play Division I soccer at Purdue Fort Wayne. She anchored the defense last year and will provide leadership on the back line. Gablenz returns in goal, where she recorded 12 shutouts last season.
KISHWAUKEE RIVER CONFERENCE
Coach: Victor Gonzalez (fourth season)
Last year: 4-17, 1-11 KRC
Top returners: Maria Mercado, sr., GK; Hansel Colin, sr., D/M; Cassandra Bruha, sr., D; Leslie Castaneda, sr., M
Noteworthy: Harvard returns a number of experienced players looking to improve on last season’s performance. Colin was a Northwest Herald All-Area honorable mention. Gonzalez said his team’s seniors “should help us stay competitive.”
Coach: Adam Bronars (second season)
Last year: 7-11, 5-7 KRC; Class 1A regional champion
Top returners: Kasidee Haas, sr., M; Alexis Connerty, jr., F; Hannah Anderson, jr., D; Lauren Hendrixson, jr., D; Kaitlyn Owen, jr., M
Key newcomers: Hayley Schmidt, jr., GK; Mia Andersen, fr., F
Noteworthy: Despite struggles in the Kishwaukee River Conference, the Skyhawks won a Class 1A regional title in 2018. Leading scorer Amber Humphres has graduated, and other Skyhawks will need to fill the goal-scoring role. Bronars said the Skyhawks are “looking to be playing our best at the end of the season.”
Coach: Courtney Calahan (second season)
Last year: 3-14-1, 1-11 KRC
Top returners: Madison Shines, sr., D; Hannah Scholl, sr., M; Layla Rentner, jr., F; Katy Cassan, so., D
Key newcomers: Abby Burns, fr., M; Allie Cassan, fr., D
Noteworthy: Marengo hopes to keep seeing improvement entering Calahan’s second season as coach. “With so many underclassmen, we have an opportunity to instill solid foundations,” Calahan said.
Coach: Casey DeCaluwe (fifth season)
Last year: 6-8-2, 6-6 KRC
Top returners: Charlotte Holas, sr., M; Lilian MacLean, jr., M; Darci Retherford, jr., M; Mae Luce, jr., D; Bailee Lasch, sr., D; Audrey Orkild, sr., F; Victoria Rockwell, jr., F; Anne Bilik, jr., M; Camille Husko, jr., M
Key newcomers: Kendall Haugaard, jr., GK; Lilly Alberts, fr., F
Noteworthy: The Rockets return seven starters who saw a significant amount of playing time last season. “We have started building on what we learned in tough losses that will hopefully turn into wins this year,” DeCaluwe said.
Coach: Matt Warmbier (second season)
Last year: 14-4-4, 10-3 KRC
Top returners: Cameron Wormley, jr., D/M; Korrin Mecklenberg, sr., D/GK; Grace Maidment, sr., GK; Meghan Sutter, sr., D
Key newcomers: Emma Dorn, sr., F; Maia Nebergall, so., M/F
Noteworthy: Woodstock won six of its final seven regular season games in 2018, before going down in their Class 2A regional opener. The Blue Streaks were highly competitive in the KRC. Leading goal scorer Jessica Flynn graduated last year. Dorn returns to the Streaks after playing club ball all of last season.
Coach: John Liuzzi (second season)
Last year: 14-8, 8-4 KRC
Top returners: Taylor Prerost, sr., F; Shea Jones, jr., M; Anastasia Mazzanti, jr., M
Key newcomers: Katelynn Ward, fr., F; Trinity Tillman, fr., M
Noteworthy: Last season was the best in program history for the Thunder. North recorded its most wins, both overall and in conference play. Prerost shattered the single-season scoring record (with 29 goals and 12 assists), and she is North’s all-time leading goal scorer with one more season to go. “We are looking to build on our success, learn from our missteps,” Liuzzi said.
EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLIC CONFERENCE
Coach: Brittany Hull-Solomon (first season)
Last year: 10-9, 2-5 ESCC
Top returners: Amy Herff, sr.; Zoe Villont, jr.; Emma Balduf, jr.; Jenna Knapp, so.
Key newcomers: Sarah Scheper, jr.; Nova Rothlisberger, fr., GK
Noteworthy: Hull-Solomon, a 2008 Marian graduate, returns to her alma mater after four years as the junior varsity coach at Plymouth High School in Plymouth, Indiana. “I am looking to continue building on the program’s foundation to increase intensity and speed of play,” Hull-Solomon said. The Hurricanes reached a Class 2A regional final last year.