Girls Soccer celebrating their city championship after beating Whitney Young at UIC. (Photo Courtesy of Wendy Love)
Girls Soccer celebrating their city championship after beating Whitney Young at UIC. (Photo Courtesy of Wendy Love)

Girls go for Gold

Girls Lacrosse and Girls Soccer win city championships for fifth consecutive year

June 4, 2019

As soon as the final buzzer sounded, a swarm of celebrating girls stormed the field. They began to revel in their victory as they waited for the CPS official to hand them their championship medal.

This was the scene on May 9 at UIC Flames Field and on May 16 at Lane Stadium, first when Girls Soccer defeated Whitney Young by a score of 4-0, and then when Girls Lacrosse defeated Walter Payton by a score of 12-11 for the city championships.

Girls Lacrosse posing with their fifth consecutive city championship after narrowly beating Payton. (Photo courtesy of Maggie Goode)

For the past five years, both the Girls Varsity Lacrosse and Varsity Soccer teams have been crowned city champions, with both teams coached by former Lane athletes, Ms. Malstrom and Ms. Vale, respectively.

As a member of the championship-winning soccer team for the last four years, Sam Sorich, Div. 953, said she felt a lot of pressure to keep the winning streak going, but credits Coach Vale for motivating her.

“She’s always believing in us and telling us that this is something we’re capable of doing because we were a really strong team this year,” Sorich said.

Similarly, two-time lacrosse city champion, Maggie Goode, Div. 958, said that “positive punishment” is something that motivated the team to succeed.

“When we didn’t do well, we had to do a lot of sprints in practice, so that would motivate us to do well — so we could avoid that much running,” Goode said. “More importantly, it’s the fact that we won city the past five years, it just really motivated us to not want to lose that title.”

Coach Vale said that she likes to be honest with her team about their games in order to examine their strengths and areas that need improvement.

“A win isn’t necessarily a success, so I try to get them to understand that if we weren’t playing together, if it didn’t look like the beautiful game that it’s supposed to be, then we need to make adjustments and grow for the next time we practice or play,” Coach Vale said.

For lacrosse, Coach Malstrom said that throughout the season she aimed for her team to play high level competition.

“Anytime I try and schedule a season, I try and schedule some ranked opponents,” Coach Malstrom said. “I want my girls to see what an elite team is, and how we rank up against them, and making sure we realize that beating up on a brand new team, that there is other schools out there that can do the same thing to us. It keeps them humble, but also keeps that drive there that says there is still so much more we can be doing.”

Even with this success, both coaches also said that they have faced their fair share of adversity on and off the field in order to get to this point.

Malstrom, who has served as the team’s head coach for the past 13 years, said that it took 17 seasons after Lane’s inaugural 1998 girls lacrosse season until CPS allowed teams to compete for a city championship.

“To coach early on in a sport that you were giving it your all but there’s never an opportunity to win something was disappointing,” Malstrom said. “You’re practicing, you’re doing games, you’re doing all the things that everyone else is doing, but there was never that recognition or competition.”

Coach Vale also said some of her struggles that she had to face being a young female coach in a predominantly male sport.

“In our country, the Men’s National team makes more money than the Women’s National team makes, even though the Women’s National team is arguably more successful,” Coach Vale said. “I’m not comparing myself to a professional by any means, but I think there is something to be said for the fact that I’ve had to put up with a lot of sexism and discrimination because of my gender. I think that I want my young athletes to know that it’s important to keep fighting and keep being strong in any aspect of their life, because the only person who can limit you severely is yourself.”

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