skip navigation

Preview story: Lemont, Reavis seek to keep streaks in South Suburban Conference

By Bobby Narang, 04/20/23, 11:45AM CDT


BURBANK – Reavis has momentum. Lemont has momentum and the recent rivalry history on its side.

Thursday will tell which continues when Reavis hosts the 5 p.m. Thursday cross-over game between South Suburban Conference foes.

Reavis and coach Konrad Dziedzic are back on track thanks to a three-game winning streak, which is part of a four-match unbeaten streak.

The Rams (4-6-1, 3-1-1) suffered six-straight losses before a draw against Tinley Park on April 10 sparked them on their current run.

“The main key to our recent winning streak is the understanding of our team's defensive shape,” Dziedzic said. “It took us about six to seven games into the season to truly figure out our formation and defensive shape and roles. 

“Once the girls got the hang of it, the shutouts and wins have been coming our way. We always had the potential to score goals. We’ve had many opportunities in front of the net in games that we couldn't put away. But the main reasons we struggled early on in the season was because of our defensive mistakes.”

Just like Reavis, Lemont (6-4-0, 3-0-0) enters tonight’s showdown riding a three-game win skein. The victories have come against Red Division foes after loses to ranked Class 3A teams Lockport and Lincoln-Way East in the Porter Cup last week. All four of the Class AA school's losses have come against larger schools.

“I still think we’re in the process of figuring things out,” Lemont coach Rick Prangen said. “We’re beating teams we’re supposed to beat, but against teams better than us, we’re not able to get over the hump. That needs to change. We need to win a tight game. We’re getting closer. We’ve been more competitive in tougher games.”

In recent years, Lemont has owned the annual series against the Rams, and carries at least a five-game winning streak. In 2022, Lemont posted a 5-0 win over Reavis. Four of the games have been shutouts; Lemont holds a 36-3 edge in goal-differential in those contests.

Dziedzic said his team must play with energy throughout the entire match.

“We have to be disciplined and organized defensively,” he said. “Our seniors have to step up to the occasion and lead the team. 

“When we have our opportunities to score, we have to take full advantage of them because we may not have many opportunities in front of goal against a very good Lemont team.”

Prangen said his players can’t take Reavis lightly. He expects a hungry and motivated opponent.

“The biggest thing is our mentality going into a game on the road thinking if we play to our ability, we should be fine,” Prangen said.

“The weather might be bad, but we have to come out and play strong. Because we’ve been successful in the conference, we usually get everybody’s best shot.”

Through the first 10 games, Prangen said his team’s most consistent players have been midfielder Paige Bingen, forward Emma Amberg and defender Casey Kittridge.

“Paige has been really good and a central figure for us,” he said. “Emma has been really productive for us. We’ve moved her around quite a bit, but she has adapted well. Casey has been very, very good the last four or five games. 

“We’ve got a good blend of conference games and nonconference games coming up. I’m hoping we can find a bit of consistency and make a push for regionals and sectionals. We’re playing at a fairly high level.

“The next three weeks will be crucial to developing a level of consistency in our play, which will be a result of good form going into the playoffs. We’re getting to the grind of things now, where our schedule is compacted. We’re getting to crunch time. We have to start figuring things out.”

Dziedzic acknowledged senior defenders Emily Chavez, Jade Guzman and Jayda Hobson, junior midfielder Olivia Smycz and junior winger Alaina Hernandez for leadership.

“Those five girls have stepped up big time for our team,” he said.