Josie DiehlIndian Creek, freshman, goalkeeperDiehl gave up just one goal in Indian Creek's first three games and the Timberwolves are undefeated. Diehl is one of a large group of freshmen on the Indian Creek roster who will need to contribute this season.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR...
DeKalb at Sycamore, Thursday, 4:30 p.m.The Barbs may have revenge on their minds after Sycamore beat them in last year's regional final.
Hinckley-Big Rock at Rochelle, Wednesday, 4:30 p.m.The Royals will be tested against a Class 2A school when they take on the Hubs.
1. Sycamore (1-0-1, 0-0-1 Northern Illinois Big 12)The Spartans had trouble finishing in a tie against Yorkville, making the road to defending their conference championship a little tougher.
2. DeKalb (1-1-1, 1-0 NI Big 12)DeKalb only beat Kaneland all-area goalkeeper Jordan Ginther once, but that's all they needed in a 1-0 win
3. Kaneland (0-1, 0-1 NI Big 12)The Knights are improved this season, but one mistake cost them against DeKalb.
4. Hinckley-Big Rock (3-0-1)The Royals almost beat Indian Creek with a last-second goal, but the goal wasn't counted because it came after the final buzzer.
5. Genoa-Kingston (1-1, 1-1 Big Northern Conference East)A small but talented roster should be competitive in the BNC East if the Cogs can stay healthy.
6. Indian Creek (1-0-2)The Timberwolves tied H-BR in a big result that may serve as a confidence booster.
7. Hiawatha (0-1)The Hawks are talented, but also young. Expect this team to come together as the season goes along.
NOTEBOOK: Royals still fast team without Phillips
Without Kaitlin Phillips' 42 goals, the Hinckley-Big Rock attack will certainly be different this season.
But one thing didn't change with Phillips' graduation – the Royals are still a very fast team. With Lauren Paver, Jacqueline Madden and Andrea Binkley leading the attack, the Royals should be able to wreak havoc on opposing defenses.
“We lost a few players, but we still have speed up front,” Paver said. “We just have to know our roles as a team and communicate and learn to play together. Not all of us have been playing together, so we need to learn what to do on the field.”
Opposing defenses will have a hard time pushing up the field against the Royals, who will be able to take advantage if they're given space behind defenses.
“I think we just want to get runs in behind the defenders,” Madden said. “We're a really fast team. We did that last year, too.”
Plenty of promise for Hiawatha: Wednesday's 5-2 loss to Hinckley-Big Rock was a rough way for Hiawatha to start the season, but the Hawks showed plenty of promise. Freshmen Yulissa Solis and Jasmine Ascencio scored goals and were two of the more dangerous Hiawatha players all game.
“I definitely have some great freshman that are coming on and I'm hoping they can get some experience and we'll start building with them,” coach Kyle Monestero said.
Solis and Ascencio have experience at the club level, something that isn't common for Hiawatha players.
“With the core group of our girls, they haven't had experience other than playing for Hiawatha. So yeah, I have some girls that have some good experience,” Monestero said. “Both of the goals were from girls with experience.”
VIEWS: G-K's Hebel primed for season after injury
Genoa-Kingston midfielder Nicole Hebel missed last season after tearing her ACL, but that doesn't mean she's rusty.
The sophomore played indoor soccer with her club team in Huntley this winter after running cross country in the fall, and she's already one of the most important players on a small G-K team.
In last week's 7-1 win over North Boone, Hebel controlled the midfield, distributing the ball with ease in the rout, and she'll be asked to be a playmaker all season, especially after senior Julia Mendoza re-injured her knee after tearing her ACL last year.
Hebel is just one of several unfamiliar names to watch now that the girls soccer season is finally underway this season.
Indian Creek goalkeeper Josie Diehl is coming off of a standout freshman campaign in basketball, and she's off to a great start as the T-Wolves netminder. She posted a shutout against a strong H-BR attack in a 0-0 tie and allowed just one goal in three starts this season.
Hiawatha has a pair of freshmen to watch in Yulissa Solis and Jasmine Ascencio. Expect the pair to help make the Hawks into a strong offensive team over the next four years with their skill and speed on the ball. The pair have already stepped in to make Hiawatha a much more dangerous team.
New players may have a hard time this year in a condensed season, but those four players have already stood out in just over a week of play.