“We were not going to go undefeated with the schedule we play,” Deerfield coach Rich Grady said after his team’s first loss last year.
The Warriors finished third in Class AA.
That quotation struck home because results and records are pretty high-variance items during the late March stretch.
Everything is still pretty new, raw and unsettled. One might say there is no such thing as a March surprise in girls soccer.
The conclusion of the second week had some fairly eye-opening results, like Wheaton Warrenville South’s 1-0 victory over previous no. 6 Oswego East.
Batavia utilized a red card against Naperville North and a long player-advantage, and two penalty kick goals to stun the Huskies 4-3.
Give it up for the DuKane Conference.
One of the recurrent motifs throughout the Top 25 poll is using it as a way to rate strengths of conferences.
The benchmark conferences like the DuPage Valley and Central Suburban League South Division are going to remain the bellwether.
With the two St. Charles teams, Batavia, Wheaton Warrenville South and Geneva also making their move this week, the DuKane is a league to watch.
Speaking of St. Charles East and St. Charles North, wretched weather sadly brought about the cancellation of their Rose Augburg-Drach Invitational championship match Saturday.
The resumption of that rivalry will wait for their conference showdown May 2.
Speaking of conferences, the two SouthWest Suburban divisions showed well in the Windy City Ram Classic.
Lincoln-Way Central, Lockport and Lincoln-Way East went 1-2-3 in the tournament, respectively. Central defended its title with a shootout victory over Lockport in the championship game.
With traditional league power Sandburg in a rebuilding season, their showing is proof that teams rise and fall every year.
That makes for some compelling storylines and sharp narratives.
With many schools off on their spring break this week, this is the time for reflection, pause and regeneration.
The coming warm weather will be a boost to the season.
As expected, the game of the week turned out to be the showdown of defending Class 3A state champion and top-ranked Metea Valley against no. 3 Plainfield North in the aptly named Kickoff Classic, hosted by Wheaton North.
Their riveting 2-2 tie did nothing to diminish the excitement and sense of their larger value and prominence going forward.
A final word about draws. They are a peculiar part of the game, somewhat bittersweet, often anticlimactic, in the lack of resolution.
Metea Valley, no. 2 Barrington and Plainfield North each have one. There are no doubt going to be other high-profile games that follow suit.
With few exceptions, teams never fall or drop in the poll on the basis of a tie. It brings context and value to the larger imperative of measuring strengths.
It’s another reminder that with girls soccer, the only predictable action is how unpredictable it all is, especially in the Ides of March.
|1||1||Metea Valley||3-0-1||Tyra King is explosive talent|
|2||2||Barrington||3-0-1||Brooke Brown is savvy, skilled|
|3||3||Plainfield N||3-0-1||Tigers make statement: tie Metea Valley; beat Benet|
|4||4||Lyons||3-0-0||Carolina Capizzi is an elite freshman|
|5||5||LW Central||5-0-0||Back-to-back Windy City Ram Classic winners|
|6||7||St. Charles E||4-0-0||Kara Machala is dynamic in space|
|7||8||New Trier||3-0-1||Josie Noble is fantastic in midfield|
|8||10||Deerfield||4-0-0||Ruby Levy is skilled young talent|
|9||13||Evanston||3-0-0||Adrianna Merriam is magic with the ball|
|10||14||Naperville C||3-0-0||Rebecca Ruggiero is superb finisher|
|11||11||St. Charles N||3-1-0||Kara Claussner is an elite keeper|
|12||HM||WW South||2-0-1||Lauren Barnett is physical and powerful talent|
|13||6||Oswego E||2-1-0||Erika Smiley bolsters the attack|
|14||9||Benet||4-1-0||Keira Petrucelli is talented sophomore|
|15||NR||Batavia||1-0-0||Kailey Hansen is a dynamic playmaker|
|16||12||Naperville N||2-2-0||Annie Chang provides instant offense|
|17||18||Carmel||4-0-0||Jillian Miller is fantastic in the middle|
|18||17||Libertyville||2-0-0||Wildcats off to a strong start|
|19||16||Lockport||4-1-0||Porters take LWC to the brink|
|20||HM||Fremd||2-1-1||Gemma Gillespie is disruptive stopper|
|21||25||Geneva||2-0-0||Julianna Drew is superb two-way talent|
|22||NR||York||4-0-0||Dukes show strength of Silver|
|23||15||Glenbrook N.||3-1-0||Spartans lose tight affair with Evanston|
|24||HM||LW East||4-1-0||Strong third place showing at Ram Classic|
|25||21||Hersey||2-2-1||Olivia Kim is a standout defender|
Watch out for: Glenbrook South, St. Ignatius, Prospect, Plainfield South, Plainfield East, Lane, Riverside-Brookfield, Warren, Lake Forest, Oak Park and River Forest, Crystal Lake Central, Loyola, Neuqua Valley, Hinsdale Central, Mother McAuley