High School Sports

Northwest Herald Athletes of the Week for Oct. 20-26

Richmond-Burton goalkeeper Jacob Maldonado went four playoff games and 69 minutes into Tuesday’s Class 1A Lisle Supersectional game before allowing a goal.

The Rockets’ defense, with Maldonado as its last line, was a huge reason that R-B won the Oregon Sectional and finished 19-7, the most wins in school history.

R-B’s two sectional shutouts led to Maldonado being voted Northwest Herald Male Athlete of the Week. Maldonado had seven saves in the Rockets’ 1-0 sectional championship victory over Schaumburg Christian.

Maldonado answers some questions from Northwest Herald sports writer Joe Stevenson about his performance and R-B’s outstanding postseason run.

What do you remember most about your performances in the sectional?

Maldonado: The penalty-kick save I had on the potential game-tying goal against Schaumburg Christian in the sectional championship. We were up 1-0 and if they had scored it would have tied it and they would have had the momentum with 15 minutes left.

What will you remember most about this season?

Maldonado: The bus rides and the music we played and all the inside jokes. Those are things I will think of when I look back.

What would you like to change about your sport?

Maldonado: Nothing. I just go out and play how I play. I don’t worry about the refs or the weird rules, I just play.

Which sport that you don’t play would you be good at?

Maldonado: I used to play basketball and I was pretty good, but volleyball is also really fun.

What is one of your biggest pet peeves?

Maldonado: When coach says something and someone asks the same question and then you call him out and he makes some dumb excuse.

What is something people don’t know about goaltenders?

Maldonado: I don’t know about other goalies, but I like PKs. It’s fun to read the player and save the shot.

Who is your favorite goalkeeper?

Maldonado: Tim Howard because when I was younger I was watching the World Cup and saw how great he was. I enjoyed watching him play.

What would be your walk-up song?

Maldonado: Either “Berserk” by Eminem or “Yeah” by Usher.

What are three of your favorite sports movies?

Maldonado: “Remember the Titans,” “The Blind Side” and any of the Rocky movies.

What celebrity would you most like to hang with for a day?

Maldonado: Lionel Messi because he is my favorite soccer player.


Taylor Zoephel, McHenry

McHenry senior libero Taylor Zoephel tallied a career-high 28 digs in a 20-25, 25-23, 25-21 come-from-behind win over Crystal Lake South in the teams’ Fox Valley Conference match.

McHenry’s season ended on Thursday with a 25-22, 28-26 loss to Lake Forest in the Class 4A McHenry Regional championship. The Warriors (24-13) finished with their second most wins in school history.

Zoephel was voted Female Athlete of the Week by readers and tackled these questions from sports writer Alex Kantecki.

What do you remember most about your match against Crystal Lake South?

Zoephel: They (South) would set up their outside and she kept wailing at us. I would just close my eyes and try to get the ball up as much as I could. That’s literally all I remember.

Who is your favorite professional athlete?

Zoephel: (Milwaukee Brewers outfielder) Christian Yelich. I cried when he got hurt.

Which teammate makes you laugh the most?

Zoephel: Andrea Barajas. I will be having the worst day ever and she'll tell me a joke and I’d start dying laughing. She’s so funny.

What is your favorite ice cream?

Zoephel: Superman from Happy Jacks. I don’t even know what’s in it. It’s a blend of different flavors.

What was your favorite match from this season?

Zoephel: I liked the Crystal Lake South match, but I really liked the homecoming match against Prairie Ridge. That was really fun to win.

What’s your favorite thing about playing volleyball?

Zoephel: The friendships that I’ve made throughout the sport, and the coaches that I’ve had. They really push me to be my best.

What was your favorite Disney movie when you were growing up?

Zoephel: High School Musical.

What’s your favorite pregame meal?

Zoephel: Chipotle. I usually get a bowl with guacamole, rice, steak and can’t forget the corn salsa. I get a lot.

What’s a sport you would not be good at?

Zoephel: Badminton. I don’t have the coordination to see the birdie and then hit it at the same time.

Do you have any rituals or superstitions before you play?

Zoephel: I always have to put my arm bands on the same way. I have to pull my jersey back, put my arm bands on, and then pull the jersey through. I don’t know why, but I’ve done that since I was little.

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