MINOOKA — For the second year in a row, Minooka junior forward Jill Hetfleisch is the Morris Daily Herald All-Area Girls Soccer MVP after scoring 23 goals on the season en route to a regional title game berth for the Indians.
"I'm really honored to win the award," Hetfleisch said. "It's very exciting to win it again."
It was a struggle at the beginning for the junior, as Minooka head coach Chris Brolley decided to play her on defense to start the season. The move was questioned a lot of people, as the Indians started 0-6-3 on the season, falling into the cellar of the Southwest Prairie Conference.
"At the beginning of the year it was really rough," Hetfleisch said. "I use to play more defense when I was younger, so I didn't mind it. But I really wanted to be up front and scoring."
Brolley said that part of the reason he had the junior playing defense was injuries.
"She played many of our games on defense until we were healthy enough for her to move up," he said. "She's the real deal. All-Sectional and All-Conference player in 2012. I'm proud of what she's accomplished."
In the second half of the season Hetfleisch and the rest of the Indians turned it around, closing the season 7-5 to finish with a 7-12-3 overall record and a 3-4 conference record, which was a major improvement from the way the team started the season.
"We never gave up this season," Hetfleisch said. "Brolley always said this was one of the best talented teams he's coached so we just kept going and we finally started getting wins."
The 23 goals Hetfleisch scored was only one fewer than last season's total of 24. Those 23 goals led her team, as the next closest goal scorer for Minooka was seven goals. The junior also led the Morris Daily Herald area in goals, outscoring the next highest goal scorer by 11.
"We picked it up as a team at the end of the year and that really helped us with our scoring and defense," Hetfleisch said. "It started to make it easier for me to score."
Hetfleisch still has one year left to play at the high school level before taking her talents to the college level. Trying to avoid all the hassles of the college recruiting process, Hetfleisch has already verbally committed to a full-ride scholarship to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, which should help her focus more on her senior season at Minooka.
"I love the state of Wisconsin. I always thought it was really pretty," Hetlfeisch said. "The coaches up there were very welcoming, so I'm very excited to go there and continue playing soccer."
Knowing that this is her senior year, Hetlfeisch is looking to hopefully make some history at Minooka Community Hgh School: win its first girls soccer regional title.
"I really hope that we can win a regional title this year," Hetfleisch said. "We've talked about doing that for two years now so to get it done would be great. I'd also like to win a conference title as well."