HINCKLEY – It was a frustrating end to last year’s season for Hinckley-Big Rock girls soccer coach Paul Taeuber and his club.
The top-seeded Royals lost, 1-0, in overtime to Lisle in a regional championship match to abruptly halt their campaign with a 13-8-3 record.
Taeuber admits they had multiple chances in the contest but just didn’t finish at the net. He hopes that the returning players use that game as a building block entering this season.
“We had our shot, we hit the crossbar three or four times in that game,” Taeuber said. “It’s always hard to lose that last game, especially in overtime. You hope the returning players learn from that experience and use it as motivation.”
The Royals lost Daily Chronicle All-Area first-team forward Kaitlin Phillips to graduation after she scored 41 goals in 2012, but Taeuber is counting on a pair of players to combine to fill that role.
“It’s still kind of early to tell who is going to be where on the field with not being able to get outside for practices,” said Taeuber, who has 16 girls out this spring. “I’m hoping Lauren Paver and Jacqueline Madden, now a year older, are ready, and I think they are. Will that translate into finishing? I don’t know.”
Paver, a junior, was an honorable mention All-Area selection after scoring 10 goals and dishing off for 16 assists, while sophomore Madden dented the net nine times and had three helpers.
Also key players for H-BR, Taeuber said, will be sophomore Anne Klein and junior Caitlin Flanigan. He sees Klein making great strides and Flanigan, he says, is a steady, fundamentally sound defender.
“She may have a bigger role on this team than even she imagines,” said Taeuber of Flanigan.
H-BR will continue to implement its 4-4-2 attack and Taeuber said it will be a matter of finding the right personnel to make the right fit. However, it is the goal keeper position that might take the longest time in finding the correct piece to the puzzle.
“Our keeper from last season decided to go out for track, so we have two or three keepers trying out for that spot, but nobody has that as a permanent role as of yet,” Taeuber said. “They’ll all get a chance when we get games going, and by the end of the year we’ll know who is right for the team.”