by Mike Slodki
A year ago, Kaneland soccer coach Scott Parillo said his roster had a majority of young, eager players ready to attack the field.
As the 2009 season arrives, those players are returning, still eager and with a year of tough matches on their resume.
It all goes toward what the fifth-year coach hopes will be a successful season with 18 players.
â€œWe are still relatively young, and we have more experience,â€ Parillo said. â€œIâ€™m hoping we can finish games better and pull out some of the close ones.â€
Looking to avenge a season-ending loss in May to Batavia in the Neuqua Valley Regional last May, Parillo brings back players like sophomore Emily Heimerdinger, a bona fide scoring option.
With those 18 goals, Heimerdinger at forward still serves to be a threat, but the setting will be different.
â€œSheâ€™s not going to surprise anyone this year, and they know about her. People will be reading about her a lot this year,â€ Parillo said.
Returning forwards also include Bridget Crosby and Amy Fabrizius.
On the midfield side of things look to be Colleen Gebauer and Thalia Garcia. Haley Johnson and Shelby Koester look to be midfielders and scoring options as well.
The defense is projected to have Megan Gil sweeping and Natalie Sevieca stopping. Sarah Goodrich and four-year entry Paige Rogers also help out the defensive side of things.
Returning in goal is Sophie Blank, who performed under fire as a freshman a year ago.
Savanna Castillo patrols midfield, and Savannah Webb joins the team as a defender. Anna Heinrichs, a sophomore, picks up the defense, as well. Andie Bruce is slotted at forward, while Brittany Chase looks to see some time in goal. Danni Garcia, who injured her knee three years ago as a freshman, looks to do damage at the forward spot.
While the conference looks to give Kaneland the usual fits, Kaneland looks to be anything but a pushover.
â€œConference will be a challenge, and Sycamore has a couple of D-1 kids. We want to definitely have a .500 conference season and a .500 season. Those were goals that the kids set for themselves, and (we) want to surpass them,â€ Parillo said.
The season got underway on Tuesday at Illinois Math and Science Academy, with the conference season beginning on Monday, April 6, at Yorkville.