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Sports

Girls Soccer: Previewing Benet, Downers North, Downers South and Hinsdale South

Benet Academy's Clare Bumpus clears a ball during their game against St. Charles East Thursday, Mar. 16 at Benedictine University in Lisle.
Mark Busch - mbusch@shawmedia.com
Benet Academy's Clare Bumpus clears a ball during their game against St. Charles East Thursday, Mar. 16 at Benedictine University in Lisle. Mark Busch - mbusch@shawmedia.com

The girls soccer season starts this week, as teams begin the quest to reach the state tournament at North Central College in Naperville. Here is a preview of area teams:

BENET REDWINGS

Coach: Gerard Oconer

2017 record: 14-7-1

Top Players

Name Year Pos.

Erin Flynn sr. F

Mia Tommasone so. F

Maddie Becker jr. MF

Lauren Fischer sr. D

Mary Kate Wilhelm jr. D

Clare Bumpus jr. D

Outlook: The Redwings return eight starters and should be able to make a deep run in the Class 2A playoffs. After a couple of seasons of fielding extremely young teams, Benet has a nice corps of veterans, including three Division III commits in Flynn (Washington University), Becker (Washington and Lee) and Fischer (North Central). Flynn is a four-year starter who is equally adept at passing and shooting and will be expected to score more. The defense is solid with Fischer and three-year starters Bumpus, Wilhelm and Mary Kate Hansen.

DOWNERS GROVE NORTH TROJANS

Coach: Brian Papa

2017 record: 20-4-2

Top players

Name   Year     Pos.

Abby Swanson sr.        MF

Olivia Bull       sr.        D

Francesca Marconi       sr.        D

Grace Stevenson           sr.        GK

Carissa Mysliwiec        sr.        M

Carli Nehls                   sr.        M

Chloe Nowka               sr.        D

Outlook: Can the Trojans recapture the magic of 2017, when they stunned Naperville North in the supersectional en route to finishing fourth in the state and bringing home the first trophy in program history?

On paper, it is possible. Thirteen players, including eight starters, are back, most notably all-stater Abby Swanson, a Loyola recruit. Three-fourths of the back line return in front of Stevenson, who was outstanding in the playoffs last spring, outdueling more experienced goalkeepers in beating Lyons and Naperville North in shootouts.

“The strength of this team starts with the defense,” Papa said. “The midfield is just as strong, returning three starters from last season. The key to this team will be from the forward line.  If we can score some goals it will make our job on defense so much easier.”

DOWNERS GROVE SOUTH MUSTANGS

Coach: Chris Hernandez

2017 record: 6-11-4

Top players

Name   Year     Pos.

Jennifer Masello           sr.        D

Lauren Travis   jr.         F

Emily Brindac  sr.        D

Lauren Kelly    sr.        M

Rose Dumford  so.        GK

Outlook: The Mustangs endured a difficult rebuilding year in 2017 but now have a foundation for future success in place. The defense pitched 10 shutouts last season and returns all-sectional pick Masello, an Augsburg recruit, and Brindac, who was all-conference. The 5-foot-11 Dumford is already getting looks from Division I schools.

The offense should be improved, with Judson-bound Kelly directing the midfield and Travis, an all-conference pick who had seven goals and five assists, being joined by sophomore midfielders Jordan Rose and Talia Davis.

“We transitioned from a very experienced and successful team in 2016 to a very young team in 2017 with six sophomores and two freshmen earning big minutes,” Hernandez said. “We are already seeing the results of that maturation and development in training and are looking to the translation in matches.”

HINSDALE SOUTH HORNETS

Coach: Jen Belmonte

2017 record: 18-5-3

Top players

Name   Year     Pos.

Gina Cavalli     sr.        F

Kendra Rees     sr.        D

Alexis Kotsiantos         sr.        M

Abbi Mazurek  sr.        MF/F

Patricija Miskinyte       sr.        MF/D

Outlook: The Hornets don’t have the depth and experience that carried them to West Suburban Gold, regional and sectional championships a year ago. Rees, a Wisconsin-Stout recruit, and Mazurek, who has committed to St. Mary’s (Minn.), will be counted on to guide a young team that features three freshmen and three sophomores.

“We have strength, are hard-working and dedicated with great team chemistry,” Belmonte said. “We hope to stay injury free and combine a solid group of seniors mixed with a young group of newcomers. We should be competitive in conference and look to remain conference champs.”

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