Photo: Melissa Bohorquez attempts to beat her Maple Leaf opponent to the ball in the girls soccer opener Saturday. Photo by John DiDonna
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—For the past three seasons, Kaneland girls soccer has made it to heights previously unknown.
Now comes the challenge of kicking even higher.
The Lady Knights finished 12-9-3 in 2011 and fell in the regional title match for the third consecutive year, but that was with 96-goal scorer Emily Heimerdinger at her peak.
With Heimerdinger and other personnel like Sophie Blank no longer brandishing the Knight insignia, its up to a crop that mixes returnees and newbies that now know nothing but a winning attitude.
“We are young with nine underclassmen on the team,” eight-year coach Scott Parillo said. “But in the opener (against Geneseo), when we possessed the ball, we created a ton of chances, and that’s promising.”
Parillo’s captains all bring a load of experience, and 2012 brings the return of 2010 superstar goalkeeper Jordan Ginther, fresh from a tour with her Naperville club team.
“We’re excited, we really are; she’s phenomenal and a class act,” Parillo said. “She’s one of the best goalies I’ve ever seen.”
With the other captains, Parillo is eager to put them to work on the pitch.
“They’ve only been on winning teams here at Kaneland. Taylor White, Abby Bend and Katie Taylor are all three-year varsity players. They’ve been around Emily and Sophie and Amy (Fabrizius) from last year and other players before that. We hope that if we make it to the regional championship this year, we can bring home that plaque,” Parillo said.
Taylor at midfield, Ginther and goal and Bend at forward provide good security for Parillo.
“They are all helping out and taking charge. Captains have to be vocal and lead the team,” Parillo said.
On the defensive crew, returnees Brooke Harner and Amber Winquist-Bailey help protect Kaneland, along with fellow multi-year Lady Knight Anne Marie Giese.
New additions to the defense are Taylor Opperman, a freshman.
At midfield, the captain Taylor lends her skills along with sophomores Delaney Stryczek and Jess Coia, with all three tallying goals and assists a year ago.
Able to play midfield and forward is freshman Madi Jurcenko, who tallied the first assist of the 2012 campaign.
At forward is fellow freshman Courtney Diddell, who got the pass from Jurcenko on St. Patrick’s Day for the first goal of 2012.
“These new girls are extremely coachable and fun to watch. They hate to lose and (are) eager to learn,” Parillo said.
Also contributing to the effort at forward are last year’s goalkeeper Michelle Ortiz, her sister, Heather, and Melissa Bohroquez and Brittany Olson.