This Thursday, two highly ranked Illinois girls soccer teams will meet in the Naperville Invitational Girls Soccer Tournament. In that contest, 3-3-2 Naperville North (ranked No. 7 in the state) will square off with 8-1-0 and No. 8 Lyons Township.
Altogether, 24 Chicago-area teams will participate in the tournament, which is played over a two-week period. Every participating team is guaranteed four games.
According to North head coach Steve Goletz, the game portends to be a competitive one.
“LT is always a very successful and well-coached program,” Goletz said. “They are very organized defensively, which makes it very hard to break them down and get in behind them to create scoring chances. They are very good on restarts, so limiting the number of fouls in dangerous areas will be a huge key for us. Also, we must be good in the air and win headballs.”
“Defensively, we are young but the group is coming together. We have five shutouts on the season which has been a good start. We have a lot of new faces on the varsity roster this season which has led to healthy competition in almost every single spot on the field. This has kept the girls hungry and pushing each other for playing time.”
“Among our top players this year are junior forward Abbie Boswell with two goals and two assists, freshman center back Morgan Krause and junior goalkeeper Fiona Baenzinger with five shutouts.”
Meanwhile, Lyons Township head coach Bill Lanspeary harbors great respect for his upcoming opponent.
“They are always good,” Lanspeary began. “They are well-organized, highly skilled, and work hard especially in transition. It’s always a great test for us to see where we are compared to the perennial powerhouses.
“I’m not sure that we are great at any one aspect of the game, but we are pretty solid in many areas. Our backline has played well, with four seniors leading the way. Our midfield is getting better every game as they get more comfortable playing together. And, our offense has done a nice job of generating opportunities for us.”
“Among our top players are seniors Emily Lange (center midfielder), Erin Fitzgerald (forward) and Catherine King (defender). All three of them are very important to the overall team success, and are the leaders in their positions. Emily (four goals) is going to Cincinnati to play, Erin (one goal and two assists) is going to Cornell to play, and Catherine is coming off of a torn ACL this past summer and is getting stronger every game.”
“Our team has great camaraderie and it shows on and off the field. That makes them a very fun team to coach.”