Carmel traveled to Marist in Chicago last spring and notched a 5-1 East Suburban Catholic Conference win on the RedHawks’ Senior Night.
“We had finally figured out a formation that worked for us, and that game was a turning point in the season for us,” Carmel coach Stephanie Kile recalled. “We found our identity as a group and started to play some really good soccer.”
Marist (8-10-2, 1-3-1) motors north to Mundelein to face the Corsairs (9-4-1, 4-1-0) — the top seed at the Class AA Deerfield Sectional and ranked among the honorable mention teams in the Chicagoland Soccer Top 25 poll — on Thursday at 6 p.m.
RedHawks coach Chris Roe remembers the teams’ 2022 meeting well, specifically a certain pair of forces up-top.
“Carmel forwards’ connections and awareness,” he said, referring to 2022 Chicagoland Soccer All-Staters Emily Fix, now a senior, and Anna Hartman, now a junior.
Fix has 20 goals and four assists this spring. Hartman has netted eight goals and dished out 11 assists.
“We knock the ball around very well and contain opponents to force a mistake,” Kile said. “Hopefully we generate a lot of chances and can finish better than we did against Joliet Catholic (in a 7-0 victory Tuesday).”
Hannah McNeela and Gina Czochara pace Marist with six goals apiece, while midfielder Maddie Meehan leads the team with seven assists.
“Maddie,” Roe said, “has played ridiculous in the middle and has been a warrior.”
When asked to describe Marist’s strengths, Kile chose one word.
“Physical,” she said.
Roe got wordier, selecting three words to sum up Carmel’s assets.
“Strength, speed, finishing,” the coach noted.
Among the Corsairs’ unsung contributors are senior goalkeeper Abby Tekampe and junior center back Mila
“Abby,” Kile said, “doesn’t always get the credit she deserves. She’s having a great year. She has only played goalkeeper for three years and worked so hard to learn the position. She is tough, competitive and a great leader back there.”
Schachelmayer impacts games positively with her speed and physicality.
“She has done an exceptional job,” said Kile, adding Schachelmayer is one of the Corsairs’ most improved players. “She is coachable, asks questions and works hard day in and day out to get better. Mila is absolutely vital back there.”
The pleasant surprise on Marist’s side is defender Molly Boyle.
“She’s tough and strong,” Roe said. So is Carmel’s backline.
“It’s solid, with speed and physicality,” said Kile, who also noted. “We are dangerous in the final third. We play possession-style soccer.”
If it’s early May, it’s also the time of year when coaches can’t help but look ahead to the start of soccer’s second season, aka the playoffs.
Marist earned the third seed in the AA Kankakee Sectional.
“(I'd expect to see) a team playing better, gritty soccer, while really looking to get healthy before the start of the playoffs,” Roe said of his RedHawks.