Girls soccer practice officially began Monday for IHSA schools. Games can begin March 16.
The Northwest Herald girls soccer season preview will appear online March 17 and in print March 18, with previews on each local team. Until then, here are three storylines to keep an eye on looking ahead to the 2020 season.
The Fox Falley Conference race
Who emerges as the favorite in the FVC? Last season, Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake Central and Prairie Ridge shared the title, each finishing at 7-1 in conference. Each team lost key members to graduation, but Prairie Ridge and Cary-Grove, in particular, have significant losses to replace.
Prairie Ridge will have to make up for losing top scorers Abby Eriksen and Nikki Anderson. C-G will have to rework its defensive back line, although it returns leading scorer Jenna Stayart. Central, meanwhile, returns five players who were mentioned in last season’s Northwest Herald All-Area team.
There’s a new hat in the FVC ring, too. In three years in the Kishwaukee River Conference, Burlington Central never lost a conference game. The Rockets have won two sectionals in the past three years, including a third-place finish at Class 2A state in 2017.
How high can Stayart fly?
The aforementioned Stayart, entering her junior season in 2020, is a two-time Northwest Herald All-Area first-team selection. She scored 14 goals as a freshman in 2018 while sharing forward duties with her sister, Kelly Stayart. Last year, as C-G’s clear No. 1 scoring option, Jenna Stayart doubled her total with 28 goals.
It’s entirely possible Stayart, who committed to Division I Tennessee over the offseason, could lead the FVC in scoring. Burlington Central senior Zoey Kollhoff, an Illinois commit, is another contender for the conference scoring title.
Who steps up in the KRC with Burlington Central gone?
It looks like the Wild West in the KRC. With Burlington Central moving to the FVC, the three-time defending conference champion is gone – and the door is wide open.
Woodstock and Woodstock North have been the next best teams in the KRC standings each of the past two seasons. Both Woodstock schools lost significant firepower from 2019. Richmond-Burton struggled in conference play last season but went on to win a Class 1A regional, despite a losing record.
The opportunity is there for someone. It’s just a matter of who?