As we said in our previous post, the start of the girls' soccer season is Monday.
City soccer fans are blessed by a rare (reportedly the first ever) visit by prominent power Waubonsie Valley. Coached by Julie Bergstrom, the Warriors have won three of the last five state championships, including back-to-back Class AA titles in 2007 and 2008 where they recorded a stunning cumulative mark of 56-0-2. Two years ago, they won the inaugural Class 3A state title.
The Warriors are visiting the North Side to meet two-time defending city champion Lane. Indians' coach Mike Wasielewski wrote to say, talking about the showdown, "This will be another test to see if a city school can contend with a top suburban program."
The Indians have won a CPS record five city titles. The Indians have won 26 consecutive games against Public League competition. Waubonsie Valley marks a wholly different level of competition. In an e-mail message, Bergstrom is cannily withholding much about this year's team. She admits to having an elite talent in junior defender Jenna Romano. She was second-team all-area last year. The Warriors' other top star is junior defender Rachele Armand.
Start time is 5 p.m., at Lane Stadium, at Western Avenue and Addison.
A couple of other news and notes as a teaser to the start of the year.
Traditional power New Trier also has quite a welcome addition. Junior midfielder Jessica Weaver is a transfer from Hersey (Penn.). New Trier coach Jim Burnside said as a freshman Weaver played on a state championship team. He says she could be one of the team's top two players. A rival coach calls her "potentially New Trier's best."
The excitement is palpable, a sure suggestion that for many, the season cannot start quickly enough.
The same coach calls Neuqua Valley junior forward Zoey Goralski, a UCLA-commit who was an NSCAA All-American, "the best player in Illinois." Goralski was the lone sophomore named to last year's Sun-Times' all-area team. She forms a potentially devastating scoring tandem with junior forward Gianna Dal Pozzo.
The other returning first-team all area players are: Conant senior midfielder Courtney Raetzman, a Kentucky recruit who registered 23 goals and 16 assists last year; and Plainfield North senior forward Callie O'Donnell, a UW-Milwaukee recruit who's coming off a breakthrough junior year where she scored 24 goals and added 20 assists for the 17-3-1 Tigers.