The Sun-Times soccer preview is set to be unveiled in Wednesday's print edition.
The preview will have a feature on the No. 1 team, a breakdown of the top ten teams and a list of the top 50 players. Please check back in this space because we will have additional information about the teams that are right there, basically the teams listed 11-20 in the pecking order.
Followers of Chicago high school soccer, both boys and girls, will certainly notice a certain symmetry and interesting parallels between the boys and girls teams.
On Wednesday night, North Central College, in Naperville, significantly the host site of the girls' state championships, is hosting a blockbuster doubleheader featuring teams that are certain to appear in the soccer preview and also figure prominently throughout the season.
The headline game is a rematch of last year's stunning sectional final involving defending Class 3A runner-up Naperville North and Neuqua Valley. The Huskies prevailed 1-0 last year, snapping the nationally-rated Neuqua's 24-0 start. The game will also mark the debut of first-year Naperville North coach Steve Goletz.
Goletz inherits a loaded line up, seven returning starters led by Zoe Swift, a junior who was third-team all-area last year, and two all-conference players, Hunter Drendel and Christa Szalach. The other interesting "return," is Jen Korn, the elite Northwestern-recruit who has been playing elite level club the last two years.
Neuqua Valley coach Joe Moreau lost some key members from last year's squad. He retains a solid nucleus led by the incomparable Zoey Goralski, the junior who's already committed to UCLA. He also has two superb junior playmakers in Gianna Dal Pozzo and Hope D'Addario.
The game is expected to start around 7:30 p.m. The college is located at 30 N. Brainard St.
The preliminary game is no less involving, Waubonsie Valley (whom we got to see in their first game this week against Lane) against a clearly very good Naperville Central team. In the first week of the new season, the Redhawks already have a great win, Saturday's 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Plainfield North.
Senior midfielder Meredith McEniff, an Iowa recruit, scored both goals for the Redhawks. For the Warriors to solve Naperville Central, they have to contend with star Central keeper Jill D'Amico. Coach Ed Watson really likes his team's offensive capabilities, keyed by McEniff and two emerging stars, sophomore Veronica Ellis and Katherine Short.
Plainfield North fell short against Naperville Central, but the Tigers are a legitimate top-ten team. Behind returning all-area performer Callie O'Donnell, Plainfield North merited the second-seed in the Pepsi Showdown, the prestigious annual soccer tournament starting April 10.
The other top seeds, in order: Metea Valley, Plainfield North, Elk Grove, Loyola, New Trier, Lake Forest, York and Lockport.