Indian Creek senior Christina Sommerfeld was taken aback slightly when she heard the Timberwolves were named the No. 1 seed in the Class 1A Genoa-Kingston Regional.
But then she looked at the facts.
The Timberwolves registered an 8-3-4 record this season, and young players stepped up all over the field to morph a team that finished well below .500 last year into a winning side. All of a sudden, the No. 1 seed didn’t seem strange at all.
“I was a little bit surprised when I first heard,” Sommerfeld said. “But looking at my team, I thought, ‘We deserve it.’ We’ve worked so hard against everybody.”
The Timberwolves will play Mendota today in the regional semifinal for the right to play the winner of Hiawatha and Genoa-Kingston. With a quartet of relatively even teams, G-K coach Randy Tate said this is the most wide-open regional he’s seen in years.
“I’ve seen all four teams play and I don’t see any dominant teams like we’ve always had in the past,” Tate said. “It’s going to take that one night that you’re going to have to play well or get lucky or whatever it is.”
G-K has been banged up this season, but senior Shannon Schumacher should play after suffering injuries throughout the season, and talented sophomore Nicole Hebel has come into the fold after recovering from a torn ACL that kept her out of last season.
“[Hebel] has really had to take on a lot in the midfield role,” Tate said. “As of late, she’s been actually looking to score instead of being the playmaker. Having Shannon Schumacher, we’re a different team when she’s on the field. We can play so much better because she’s such a leader.”
The Cogs will face stiff competition against Hiawatha, who finished the season with five consecutive wins as a few freshmen have become key players.
“I’m feeling really good, I feel like our team is progressing and coming together well,” Hiawatha coach Kyle Monestero said. “I think as far as ability and competitiveness, I think [the regional] can go any number of ways for sure.”
But the Timberwolves are certainly the prohibitive favorites. While there isn’t a team in the regional that stands well above the rest, Indian Creek’s depth may put them over the top.
“One of their strengths is their overall balance,” Tate said. “They don’t have just that one really great forward, or that one great midfielder, they’re all pretty equal. If they have one weak or two weak defenders, then you could put pressure on them, but they seem to be pretty solid all around.”
H-BR No. 2 seed, still favored
Hinckley-Big Rock may only be the No. 2 seed in the Class 1A Hinckley-Big Rock Regional, but the Royals have beaten both of the other regional teams, Plano and Aurora Central Catholic.
The Royals coasted by Plano, 3-0, in their season opener and beat Aurora Central Catholic, 2-1, on April 27. But coach Paul Taeuber doesn’t want his team to be over-confident.
“It’s nice to know leading up to it that we’ve proved that we’re the superior opponent,” Taeuber said. “But one-goal difference means you still have to earn it and work for it. The more times you see [a team], I always say it’s harder.”