Jillian Hetfleish reached one nice round number in Minooka’s final varsity girls soccer match of the regular season. She wants to hit another before the postseason ends.
Hetfleisch scored her 79th and 80th career goals during a 3-0 win over Plainfield South by the Indians Tuesday on their senior night. They were her 27th and 28th goals of the season. She already has a career single-season high, but will need to score twice during or beyond next week’s Class 3A Joliet West Regional to hit 30.
Personal scoring marks are not all Hetfleish has in mind for the conclusion of her Minooka tenure. Between the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs, she shared her thoughts with the Morris Daily Herald.
Q. Think back to your first varsity goal. How did it feel to score it?
A. My first varsity goal was back when I was a freshman, which does not feel too long ago. I remember how nervous I was to play because my sister was a senior at the time and always pushed me to do my best and I felt like I was not good enough. It was a great feeling to score as a freshman and feel like I was important and welcomed on to the team.
Q. In that moment, did you ever imagine this many more would follow?
A. I did not think I would be able to get this many goals now, even though I was looking to try and get a lot. I suffered shin splints that year and only got five goals in, so I did not think the following year I would be able to get 24.
Q. Is there still a feeling of excitement when you score? Is it even close to what it once was?
A. I get butterflies in my stomach every time I score still. The feeling of knowing I am helping my team to victory and racking up more goals makes me so happy.
Q. Is it difficult being expected to produce such a large portion of your team’s offense?
A. Sometimes I have days I feel a lot of pressure and it makes me nervous, but everyone around me encourages me and it gives me the confidence to perform to my highest level.
Q. Why did you pick (the University of) Wisconsin-Parkside?
A. I picked Wisconsin-Parkside because of the scholarship I was offered was hard to turn down!
The first time I visited there it felt like the perfect fit for me. I was also always looking to go to a (Division II) school, and this one is not too far and not too close to home.
Q. You’ve played defense before, and you still do occasionally. Do you know where you’ll play in college?
A. I think I am going to play offense for college, but if I am needed to play another position, I would be more than happy to.
Q. What happened to your ankle? How is it now?
A. I actually hurt my foot, but the x-ray the doctor got back was nothing serious. They just think I slightly cracked a bone in it. I am still allowed to play but must wear a boot at all times when I am not playing. It should be fully healed in no time.
Q. How has this season played out for the team compared to how you maybe expected it to?
A. I had high hopes coming into the season because at open gyms there was a lot of potential coming in this year. We have competed very well this year and I am proud of our team.
Q. Do you feel the team is ready for next week?
A. Our team is definitely ready for next week. We have high expectations to go far in playoffs and I hope we can fulfill it.
Q. Before your high school career ends, what do you want to accomplish?
A. I would love for our team to win regionals and make it to sectionals because it has not happened in a while and we need to prove ourselves. I also set a goal for myself to make it to 30 goals for the season.