After four years of leaning on Minooka standout soccer player Jillian Hetfleisch, the Indians girls soccer team is going to have to make some adjustments this spring. After all, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside student scored 79 goals over the last three seasons for the Indians while compiling 115 total points in her high school career.
“For me it’s very much like the boys season from the fall,” Minooka coach Chris Brolley said. We have an athletic and talented team, and I am looking forward to many players to step up in that role.”
Brolley would know. As the boys soccer coach he had to work with a team that lost its top scorer in Mo Esquivel this past fall. However, the Minooka girls also lost sweeper Deaven Hudson and defender Laura Simon to graduation, as well.
That doesn’t mean that Brolley has an empty cupboard, though.
“We will be looking to the seniors to lead up, starting with Marisol Galvan,” he said. “She’s done it all this past season, and heading to NIU next year. She’s more driven than I’ve seen her before. We have a group of young players that will be a huge part in how we do this year.”
Players like Hannah Reiker, who had seven points last spring, and defenseman Kasey Watts.
“Philosophy wise, we have to move the ball around and distribute, limit the dribbling,” Brolley said. “Limit the opportunities we give the other team in the defensive, especially restarts.”
The locals opened up Southwest Prairie Conference action at home against Plainfield North on Thursday with the Tigers eying up a sixth-straight SPC championship.
“You have Plainfield North sitting at the top with a bunch of conference wins in the past five years and the rest of the conference is really competitive,” Brolley said. “Very close games and, as you know in soccer, it only takes one.”
Last year Minooka finished 13-7 on the season but Brolley says that this year’s team is capable of eclipsing that mark.
“To be honest, the girls are very talented and excited to defend the solid year they put up last year,” he said. “My two biggest things are that we improve every day, and have fun doing it. Otherwise we don’t have a purpose at practice or games. It should be fun.”