OPRF Strikers kick in at second place

Youth Sports

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After a slow start, the OPRF Strikers U17 girls team roared to a second place finish in a hotly contested Illinois Women's Soccer League "B" Division, going undefeated in their final seven matches.

Although this new team served notice early that they were nobody's pushover by winning the Elgin Kickers Back to School Classic, the Strikers started the league season losing their first three games and finding the back of the net only once. The turning point seemed to come in their second tournament, the prestigious Best of the Midwest in Naperville in early October.

"We played our first two matches against "A" level premier teams," said assistant coach Chuck Race, "and although the scores were one-sided, we played very well in each game. We ended the tournament tying a downstate team in the closing seconds, and that really gave the girls a lift."

The Strikers went on a rampage for the rest of the league season, winning six and tying one match, scoring 23 goals while conceding only five. The ladies finished two slight points behind Mokena Predators, whom the Strikers beat 4-1 after losing the initial leg of the derby 3-1.

The Strikers were comprised of girls from four different grades, and as befitting a true team, there was no dominant scoring leader. The leading scorers were the "Kiddie Korps forwards of Tasia Race, 8th graders Molly Sutton and Alex Neumann and the "veteran," junior K.C. Gies.

Important goals were also scored by Casey Blaha, the "Colleens" (Harmon and Kearns), Theresa Yerkes, Nina Terrebessy, and Rachel Huck. The defense was solid all year, led by Yerkes, Terrebessy, Grace Brofman, Dede Minter, Marja Anton, and goalkeeper Madeline Heaphy.

The midfield featuring Blaha, Harmon, Kearns, Claire Riesman, and Janel Brown emphasized possession soccer and accurate crossing. Theresa Yerkes was voted "Players Player" by her mates at the end of the season.

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