Lady Knights eye regional nod, another winning campaign
KANELAND—Eventually, Kaneland High School girls soccer would like to rid themselves of a couple nagging points.
Those would be being eliminated by Rosary in the playoffs, as has been done three of the last five years, and getting stopped short of a regional title, as has happened four of the last five years to the Royals and Crystal Lake Central.
Still, the journey ahead doesn’t seem to faze the KHS group, coming off an 11-5-3 (7-1-2 Northern Illinois Big XII) season from a year ago.
That could be the returning talent’s effect, softening the blow of seven seniors gone.
“We’ve got 22 on varsity this year, that gives us some nice depth,” KHS coach Scott Parillo said. “They’re pretty talented. They’re gelling quickly and they can maybe get over that hump.”
Parillo, in his 10th year of coaching the girls, would like to see the recent postseason troubles cease once they’re able to get on a regular routine.
“We’ve had three days outside, and not on our field. We’re trying to get acclimated to the weather. Most of the other schools are dealing with it, too,” Parillo said.
Kaneland was able to find scoring output from a wide array of girls a year ago, with a handful returning, namely Madi Jurcenko, Brittany Olson and Kiandra Powell.
“Brittany Olson had 15 goals, Kiandra Powell, once we finally found a good spot for her, she tore it up at the end there,” Parillo said. “We have a chance to have some scorers.”
Taking over for current Purdue Boilermaker Jordan Ginther between the posts is sophomore Emily Chapman.
At defense resides talent like Taylor Opperman, who moved back after a year in Michigan, Taylor Zitkus, Nicole Koczka, Taylor Emigh and Colleen Landers, with Heather Ortiz able to fill in, when not up front.
Ortiz is joined by older sister Michelle (forward/mid) and younger sister Lauren (midfield) on the pitch.
“The three Taylors, the two Emilys and the three Ortiz sisters, that won’t get confusing,” Parillo added.
Jurcenko, Michelle Ortiz, Courtney Diddell, Jess Coia, Delaney Stryczek and Holly Collingbourne aim to fill in the midfield ranks.
Olson takes care of the forward ranks, along with several of the midfielders donning Lady Knight colors.
Other seniors include Mary Piazza and Stephanie Zwick, and juniors include Emily Grams.
Sophomores include Ashley Crotteau and returnee Gabby Cano, while Paige Guyton adds a freshman spark.
Parillo would like the girls to get on a regular routine, made more complicated with the epic winter.
“We get this game in Tuesday on turf and then we have to sit, and there’s the spring break. The Rosary game we want to win; they’re our nemesis,” Parillo said.
The NIB-12 landscape is for the taking, if goals come Kaneland’s way.
“We should be there,” Parillo said. “DeKalb is always strong, Sycamore is always good, and Yorkville’s getting better every year, as it should.”
On Tuesday, Kaneland went to Rockford Auburn, and the first home matchup was scheduled for Thursday, March 20, against IMSA. Conference tilts begin on Tuesday, April 15, in Morris.