SPOTLIGHT ON ...
DeKalb, senior, forward Cardine scored a goal and had four assists in DeKalb’s 7-0 Barbfest opener against Rochelle. The senior is the offensive catalyst for the Barbs, who are making a bid to be the top team in the area this season.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Indian Creek at Hinckley-Big Rock, 6 p.m. Thursday The last time the two teams met, Indian Creek held on for a tie, but the Royals will be looking to show they're the top Route 30 team in DeKalb County.
Indian Creek at Hiawatha, 4:30 p.m. Friday This should be an interesting matchup of two of the younger teams in the area. Both have plenty of potential.
1. Sycamore (1-4-1, 0-0-1 N. Illinois Big 12): The Spartans played some tough opponents in the Pepsi Showdown, where they were one of the smallest schools competing. 2. DeKalb (4-1-1, 2-0 NI Big 12): DeKalb was dominant at Barbfest, but it hasn’t played the competition Sycamore has played yet. 3. Kaneland (3-4-1, 1-1 NI Big 12): Kaneland will improve after facing St. Charles East and Geneva before going back to NI Big 12 competition. 4. Indian Creek (4-0-3): The Timberwolves had a nice first day at Barbfest, beating Hall before tying Rochelle. 5. Hinckley-Big Rock (3-3-2): H-BR had a tough go on the first day of Barbfest, but coach Paul Taeuber hopes the Royals can learn from playing against better competition. 6. Genoa-Kingston (2-6, 1-2 Big Northern East): The Cogs split games in the St. Edward tournament over the weekend. 7. Hiawatha (0-1): The Hawks will face a stiff test when they play Indian Creek on Friday.
NOTEBOOK: Lessons learned in Showdown
Sycamore had a rough go in the Pepsi Showdown, losing all four matches in the tournament that took place during the past two weekends. But Sycamore was one of the smallest schools in the tournament, and the competitors were as tough as any the Spartans will see this season.
“It gives you a good chance to really push yourself,” Sycamore girls soccer coach Dave Lichamer said. “We didn’t have a great time at that tournament, but I think we certainly learned a lot about ourselves and what we need to do. It also gave us a chance to get the girls some college showcase material and let them be seen.”
Lichamer was able to move around players in his lineup to experiment before the conference season heats up, and the Spartans also took plenty away from the speed of the matches played by bigger schools.
“We need to play our game faster, we needed to speed up quite a bit,” Lichamer said. “That’s not just with the ball, it’s without the ball, the thought process.”
Kaneland defense solid Jordan Ginther might be the best goalkeeper in the area, but she’s not the only reason the Knights have been one of the better defensive teams in the area this season.
“We have a very good defense,” coach Scott Parillo said. “Obviously, Jordan makes amazing saves, but that’s a nice combination to have.”
The mostly veteran back line includes freshman Sage Schlehofer, whose quality was apparent right away to Parillo.
“She’s aggressive, she’s physical, she’s tall, she’s fast,” Parillo said. “She knows how to play soccer. Every game, she seems to get better, so that’s exciting.”
VIEWS: Short bench tricky situation for Knights
Kaneland returned an experienced group this season, but coach Scott Parillo certainly wishes he had a few more players to fill out his roster.
The Knights usually only have about four substitutes on their bench, making this weather-shortened season a little more difficult for them. Next week, for instance, the Knights have four matches, starting with a tough one against Geneva.
“When you only have four subs or so, you’ve got to check their minutes, you’ve got to give them a breather during the game,” Parillo said. “Hopefully, we can withstand four games.”
The Knights have enough talent to compete in the Northern Illinois Big 12 and Parillo has made sure he moves players around from demanding positions to positions where less running is required. He has been forced to dip into the junior-varsity squad a few times this season to have a full bench.
Compared to a few other area teams, Parillo should consider himself lucky he has that luxury. For smaller teams in the area, there is no JV team to dip into.
Genoa-Kingston already has suffered a few injuries to key players, so their ability to recover will have a huge effect on how they perform down the stretch. Hinckley-Big Rock had a short bench during Barbfest, and while the Royals have a talented team, staying healthy with extra games each week will be difficult.
The teams that are able to make a postseason run this year will either be deep, or they’ll be lucky they’ve withstood a grinder of a schedule.
• Anthony Zilis is a contributor to the Daily Chronicle. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.