IC Catholic Prep girls soccer team starts season with PK win over Lincoln-Way Central
By Mike Miazga
The goal of the IC Catholic Prep girls soccer team is a rather simple one.
“The girls’ goal is to get downstate,” said Knights coach Tom Schergen. “Their theme of the year, they are using the word ‘breakthrough.’ They want to break through that wall and get downstate. They made it real simple. That is what they are striving for.”
The Knights started the season in fine form with a 2-1 win in penalty kicks over Lincoln-Way Central as part of the Windy City Classic tournament.
“It’s a big win for us to get a win against a school like that to start the year,” said Schergen. “The girls played well. It was a back-and-forth game. I was very proud of how our girls hung in there even when we were on our heels. We kept to our defensive principles and played solid defense.”
Junior Grace Fuller scored IC Catholic Prep’s lone goal in regulation six minutes into the contest.
After two scoreless overtime sessions, the Knights hit their first three penalty kicks and Lincoln-Way Central missed its first three.
Sophomore Olivia Hurt, senior Tessa Langan and senior Tess Reardon each had a penalty kick.
Equally important was the play of junior goalie Rochelle Spizzirri in the second half.
“One of their kicks missed the net and Rochelle saved the other two,” said Schergen. “She came up huge for us.”
Sophomore Gabby Smola started in goal in the first half for the Knights.
The Knights return nine of 11 starters this year, including senior Liz Maloney (center mid), senior Kaitlyn Grady (central defense), Fuller (forward), Hurt (forward), sophomore Suzy Maloney (outside fullback), Langan (center mid), Reardon (central defense), junior Sophie Zanoni (outside mid) and senior Demitra DelFiacco (midfield).
Key newcomers include freshmen Bella Leslie (outside mid) and Annie Guinan (outside fullback).
IC Catholic Prep is coming off a 2016 season where it went 13-11-1 overall.
“One thing I really like is our team chemistry,” said Schergen. “Since we have so many players back from last year we’ve been able to hit the ground running. This group gelled together at the end of the year and we wound up winning six of our last eight games. We have some real good senior leadership out there. It’s like having four more coaches out on the field with Tess Reardon, Tessa Langan, Liz Maloney and Kaitlyn Grady.”
Schergen likes how the team is looking up the center of the field. “Our strongest position is up the middle with our central defense, center midfield and our forward—right up the middle with those six players. It’s a definite strength,” he said. “Four of the six are seniors so there is a lot of experience in the middle of the field. And playing high-school soccer, experience on the field goes a long way.”
Schergen also is a fan of the team’s demeanor. “I really enjoy their positive energy,” he said. “It’s a very positive group with no complainers. They come to practice and work hard and when we are playing games they are putting it all out there on the field and that’s always great to be able to coach a group like that. These girls show up and play the game hard. They want to push through that goal for themselves and pursue getting the team downstate.”