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Youthful Girls Soccer Team shows strengths both on and off the field

Midfielder+Carlye+Makuch+%2814%29+dribbles+the+ball+up+the+field+as+Cam+Niforos+%289%29+looks+on+in+the+team%E2%80%99s+home+game+against+Downers+Grove+South.+Lane+tied+DGS+to+move+to+0-1-2.+%28Photo+Courtesy+of+Patrick+Gorski%29
Midfielder Carlye Makuch (14) dribbles the ball up the field as Cam Niforos (9) looks on in the team’s home game against Downers Grove South. Lane tied DGS to move to 0-1-2. (Photo Courtesy of Patrick Gorski)

Midfielder Carlye Makuch (14) dribbles the ball up the field as Cam Niforos (9) looks on in the team’s home game against Downers Grove South. Lane tied DGS to move to 0-1-2. (Photo Courtesy of Patrick Gorski)

Midfielder Carlye Makuch (14) dribbles the ball up the field as Cam Niforos (9) looks on in the team’s home game against Downers Grove South. Lane tied DGS to move to 0-1-2. (Photo Courtesy of Patrick Gorski)

By Jake Herman, Sports Editor

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With only one senior, and nine total upperclassmen compared to 10 underclassmen, most teams would consider it a rebuilding year, but Girls Soccer Head Coach Ms. Vale doesn’t think so.

“I think that this year’s group is different than other teams that I’ve coached, but I think they are strong in their own way,” Vale said. “The reason they are different is because they are a group of younger, but very talented individuals.”

It is rare for a varsity team, in any sport, to have only one senior. Thus, questions of chemistry, experience and lack thereof come into question.

“The chemistry of the team is very good,” Vale said. “They seem to be an extremely friendly and fun-loving group, the older girls are great role models for the younger girls,.”

Captain Lena Price-Johnson, the team’s lone senior, is playing her third year on the Varsity team, and has seen many young players come and senior leaders leave.

“Every year our team gets new players, and even though we have significantly more younger players this year, our team chemistry remains unhindered,” Price-Johnson said. “We’re always there for each other, and we have the ability to talk out any problems that we have, on or off the field.”

Captain Maggie Grossman sees potential in the young players along with the new batch of freshmen.

“They [freshman] learned quickly last year,” Captain Maggie Grossman, Div. 859, said. “There were obviously some rough patches at the start of the season but they ended up being able to fulfill their roles and they’re all a year in and have some experience.

According to Coach Vale, one of the team’s major strengths comes in the form of their quickness and speed.

“This is one of the quickest teams I’ve ever coached in terms of speed, and that is going to be one of our strengths this year,” Vale said.

Even with the quickness they have, Coach Vale noted that it is important that they use I to their advantage correctly, and effectively.

“We are trying to make sure that we are collectively strong and quick with our speed of play, not just beating another player in a foot race,” Vale said.

An important aspect of this team is the unity and family-like culture that they wish to attain, especially with a diverse age range.  

“A big thing for me is making sure that all the girls know we are a family, so after training if I know a girl was working really hard I’ll shoot them an appreciative text,” Grossman said. “Especially the freshman, they always really appreciate that and knowing that they have an older girl to look up to makes them more comfortable on the field.

Not only do the girls look to do big things on the field, but they have proven their presence off the field as well.

Earlier this offseason, around the holidays, Captain Izzy Oganovich organized a team breakfast in which all players brought a toy to donate to charity. After the breakfast, Oganovich and a few players delivered all the toys to a distribution bin that would send the toys to those who were less fortunate during the holiday season.

“They are very athletic, and very academically strong, and on top of that they like working together to help others,” Coach Vale said.

Vale also noted praise for the team for organizing a group of girls to help pack boxes of food in Schaumburg for an organization called “Feed My Starving Children.”

Not only are the acts of kindness drawing attention to the team, but their academic strengths are also noted by Coach Vale.

Lena Price-Johnson received praise from her coaches for her strong academics. She is part of the alpha program at Lane, and although she hasn’t committed to a school for next fall, she received acceptance letters from top-tier schools such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“This group of girls is really multi-talented,” Coach Vale said, smiling.

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Youthful Girls Soccer Team shows strengths both on and off the field