For two of the area’s three girls’ soccer teams, 2014 was a historic season. Both Morris and Coal City won regional titles, and the Coalers reached the Class 1A sectional final before falling to eventual state champion, Manteno. Morris won its second regional in a row, but did not move beyond that, as the Redskins fell to Mahomet-Seymour in the Class 2A sectional semifinal. Minooka, meanwhile, had a tough Class 3A draw to deal with and lost a 2-1 decision to Joliet Central in the regional semifinals.
With the relative success of all the area teams, The Morris Daily Herald presents its 2014 All-Area Soccer Team.
Morris finished with a 9-8-1 record and won the second regional title in school history under the direction of Kristen Porter, and the Redskins lead the All-Area Team with seven selections.
Katherine Gallick, a junior co-captain, was named team MVP for Morris and leads the list. She finished with four goals and one assist while playing a mixture of midfield and defense. She had two goals in the regional title win against Yorkville.
“Katherine is extremely focused with a positive attitude,” Porter said.
Next up for the Redskins is senior co-captian Kirsten Galloway. Galloway, a midfielder, had six goals and two assists and was seemingly always in the middle of the action.
“Kristen scored a lot of her goals at crucial moments when we needed the goal for a win,” Porter said. “She always gives it 100 percent and has the most positive energy on the field.”
Sophomore Amanda Grant led Morris with 13 goals and added a pair of assists, giving Morris an offensive threat heading into next season.
“Amanda is an aggressive, physical player who is very good at shooting on goal,” Porter said. “She has good footwork and speed.”
Another Redskins player who made the cut was defender Emily Ashworth, who patrolled the left side of the field.
“Emily was a very disciplined outside defender for us,” Porter said. “She is a very hard worker with very good tactical understanding and good technique. She is very reliable.”
Senior captain Cara Cummings was another anchor on defense for Morris, along with scoring three goals.
“Cara had a knack for scoring from defense on direct kicks,” Porter said. “She is a very strong and physical defender.”
Alexa Rain patrolled the midfield for Morris, making plays both for herself and her teammates.
“Alexa was an outside midfielder with six goals and four assists,” Porter said. “She is a very hard worker who also has very good footwork and has dangerous crossing passes.”
Backing up the defense for the Redskins was goalie Maren Bashor, who had a very strong year as a sophomore.
“Maren had a great year,” Porter said. “She is a very smart keeper who has a very strong kick and has good technique. She played a very important role with 11 saves in our regional championship win.”
As impressive as Morris’ run to a regional title was, Coal City also won its second straight regional crown and this year advanced a step further than last year, moving to the sectional title game. The Coalers finished 13-3.
Senior midfielder Brittany Jezik was the Coalers’ top player, leading the team with 14 goals, giving her 28 for her career. She scored two game-winning goals and had one game in which she recorded a hat trick (three goals). She also had two assists and was named to the All-Interstate Eight Conference team. The co-captain was also named to the Coaler Shootout All-Tournament Team.
“Brittany is a four-year varsity player who has a great ability to maintain possession and create scoring opportunities,” Coal City coach Michael Kostbade said. “She is a strong all-around player with skilled footwork, great vision, powerful shooting and intelligent defending.”
While Jezik was taking care of a bulk of the offense for the Coalers, it was up to goalkeeper Britta Spelde, another senior, to provide the last line of defense. It was a job she did very well. Spelde had a 0.77 goals-against average and recorded 10 shutouts. She also found the time to score three goals.
“For her first season playing varsity goalie, Britta played with great composure,” Kostbade said. “She played strong in the post-season, including four saves in a shootout [win over Herscher] and a season-high 20 saves in the sectional final.”
This season may not have produced Minooka’s best-ever finish, but that doesn’t mean the Indians were without their standouts.
Top among them was Marisol Galvan, who will take her talents to Northern Illinois University’s program next year. The senior scored seven goals and had two assists, while also being named All-Sectional and All-Southwest Prairie Conference.
“Marisol is a very talented and driven soccer player,” Minooka coach Chris Brolley said. “She will find success at the next level. She is one of the hardest workers I have ever seen and she loves the game.”
Another senior, Lacey Viano, will be a student-athlete in college next year, but she will play rugby at Eastern Illinois. During her soccer season for Minooka, she scored four goals.
“Lacey is a three-sport athlete,” Brolley said. “Her athletic ability helped create opportunities this year for her to score. She plays the game hard and is fun to watch.”
A pair of sophomores make the All-Area team for Minooka, giving the Indians a solid starting point for next year.
Sydney Arlis had two assists for the Indians as well as playing an integral part on their defense.
“Sydney is a three-sport athlete, and can read that game better than most players,” Brolley said. “Some of the things she understands at her age is eye-opening. Her skills and confidence help lead our team every practice and game.”
Hannah Reiker got good varsity experience this year by scoring four goals and adding three assists.
“Hannah came into her own this year,” Brolley said. “She found success playing with these girls for the second time. We look for her to take that step again next year.”