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Preview story: North Shore Country Days gets tough test in University (Chicago)

By Bobby Narang, 04/25/23, 9:45AM CDT


North Shore Country Day heads into Tuesday’s Independent School League home match with University (Chicago) looking to hurdle over the .500 mark.

The visitors will require a big jump, though.

The Raiders (3-3-0, 2-2-0) host the Maroons (7-2-1, 5-0-0) at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

“We’re improving every game,” North Shore Country Day coach Rebekah Kauffman said. “We’re gaining a better sense of team defense as we well as offensively knowing where our runners are going to be.”

University (Chicago) enters the 5 p.m. with 30 goals scored as a team and an average of 2.4 assists per game.

“Overall, our roster is very talented, and we are excited to see what we can do in the playoffs,” coach Josh Potter said. “We have a lot of great leadership from our seniors, and it’s mixed with some young talent that’s dedicated to winning and what it takes to win. Our whole team has shown great effort so far this year.”

Kauffman said University (Chicago) represents a tough matchup due to its ability to score goals in bunches. The Maroons bested Regina Dominican 5-0 on Friday Their defeats have come against Class AA Fenwick (3-0) and Class 3A Riverside-Brookfield (2-0). The Maroons tied Wheaton Academy 1-1.

“We will need everyone to get ready to defend in numbers to be able to manage U-High’s strong attack as well as maintain possession once we win the ball,” she said.

Kauffman said there are several goals the team must accomplish in the game to build momentum for the remainder of the season.

“The first key for us is defending all over the field in numbers,” she said. “We have to transition quickly once we gain possession, and we have to have constant communication.”

Potter said he’s fully aware the Raiders will come out with energy and focus in an attempt to knock off his team.

“Each match we play we keep the same keys to winning,” Potter said. “We want to control the midfield by winning 50/50 challenges, press players when they are receiving the ball and quickly transition from offense to defense to limit the time on the ball of the opponent. 

“We also want to make sure we are having fun. At the end of the game, we want to all be able to answer that we had fun playing the game we love.”

Kauffman heaped praise on her players, notably Izzy Greenstein and captain Surraiyya Omar. The Raiders have 11-different goal-scorers this season.

“Izzy is a first-year goalkeeper who is growing in confidence every game,” she said. “She’s giving clear directions to the defenders in front of her, which has helped our team tremendously.

"Surraiyya has played disciplined defense as a holding mid and is a strong communicator and passer who helps our offense run.”