The Red Devils (2-5-1) expect to far surpass their 2017 win total. Despite losing key senior Jane Cole to a season-ending knee injury, they have been competitive even against top teams, with only one of the losses coming by more than two goals.
Arnold has not scored any goals yet but believes it is just a matter of time. Naperville North goalkeeper Maddie Hausmann, a Loyola-bound senior, had to make two terrific saves to stop Arnold in last Wednesday’s 1-0 win over the Red Devils.
“She’s working hard,” Ciesiulka said. “She’s taking care of the ball more.
“She’s not dribbling into trouble, she’s keeping it for us and she’s being dangerous in the final third, which is a hard thing to do.”
Playing against girls three years older was hard for Arnold and her teammates, but that year of seasoning is paying off.
“I think I can handle it more physically now just because I’m bigger and stronger,” Arnold said. “And [I’ve learned] how [older kids] play and that mental part of the game, too.”
Arnold and the Red Devils are still early in the rebuilding process, but she is excited about what is to come.
“I think that as the season continues we will get way better than we already are now,” she said. “We’ll be much stronger and we’ll put more goals in the back of the net.”
Arnold figures to be one of the main goal scorers, a role that typically is filled by upperclassmen.
“I’ll take any goal scorer, young or old,” Ciesiulka said. “That’s the next piece. The first thing was stopping the other team from scoring and now we start building to get our own.”