AURORA – Waubonsie Valley’s Meredith Stemm has played enough in her lifetime to not be surprised what happens on and around a soccer field.
On Thursday night, that changed.
The keeper plans on studying environmental studies and sustainability at Grand Valley State University in the fall; she also plans to audition for the Lakers’ drumline.
What she did not count on was a Senior Night percussion serenade Thursday night.
“My (Marching Warriors) drumline teammates came out and surprised me, and they played the cadence,” she said.
“Five basses and two snares. It was a complete surprise.”
Waubonsie Valley (6-10-1, 1-5-0) hopes to astonish a team or two in the postseason run after snapping a five-game losing streak with a 7-0 victory over DeKalb in the final DuPage Valley Conference game of the season for both teams.
“At the end of the day, throughout the season we’ve progressed a lot and an important thing for us to remember is that we are a young team,” Warriors sophomore captain Katie Chapman said. “We are still learning how to play together. There’s been a big learning curve.”
Progress can be tough to gauge when you’re in a rut. The Warriors hadn’t won in more than three weeks after a 2-1 upset win over then 11th-ranked Oswego East on April 21.
“We’ve kind of got to a point where we know how each other plays, and we’ve been able to create opportunities,” Chapman said. “We’re playing more as a team versus as individuals and being able to do that going into the playoffs is great. I think we can get a win.”
It took a little time before the Warriors got rolling, but after Chapman found junior Ceci Galarza for the game’s opener with 25:03 remaining in the first half, the offense really began to shine.
All told, Chapman assisted each goal in the first half. Three came in the final 10 minutes before the break as the Warriors built a commanding 4-0 lead.
Sophomore Thanya Castelan snuck a shot through the DeKalb goalkeeper’s hands with 9:25 left before halftime and then not even two minutes later junior Eleanor Oster scored.
“It kind of popped out to me right by the goal,” Oster said. “The goalie opened her wing span, and I knew I just had to pop it over her head. I hit it as hard as I could, trying not to over-hit it or under-hit it.”
Junior Taylor Ahmadian turned and fired from the top of the box with 31 seconds before halftime to finish the scoring run.
After Chapman’s helping half, she only needed about four minutes after intermission to get into the scoring column, burying a beautiful cross from Galarza. Chapman was named the Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match for her incredibly productive night.
“It’s always nice to score with my left,” she said. “I’m definitely someone who plays more outside. So, I always enjoy when I get in the box and create something there instead of just crossing them in. It’s nice to be able to contribute to the team.”
Galarza scored her second goal of the game with 31:27 remaining and Ahmadian matched her with her 16th of the season to cut the remaining 10 minutes, 39 seconds in half.
On Senior Night, Waubonsie Valley scored three more goals than the number of seniors the Warriors celebrated.
The senior class is comprised of Kelly Ramirez, Andreya Rodriguez, Kayla Vogt and Stemm.
Ramirez is going to the College of DuPage to major in sonography.
Rodriguez is heading to Aurora University where she will continue to play soccer and major in health science to become an orthodontist. She wants to work with all sorts of people and help them love their smiles. She most definitely was smiling herself after a special night like this.
“I had so much fun,” she said. “It’s hard to believe it’s the end of my senior year and the season.”
Vogt is going to Marquette to study nursing. It’s a career she was seemingly destined for at a young age.
“I’m really excited to go into nursing. Ever since I was little my mom has said I’ve been so caring,” she said. “My mom said she knew someday I would be a nurse, and I just followed that. I want to help people and make a difference.”
Maintaining a positive attitude when things are rough isn’t easy, but Vogt believes on-field experiences during her many years of soccer will help her in the healthcare field, too.
“Positive attitude is important because when you are losing by so much you’ve got to keep your head up,” she said. “In a nursing situation when you think it’s going to be the worst, you’ve got to have a positive attitude for the families. You have to be in a good headspace and can’t look down on yourself.”
Stepping into the important role of center back is one way Vogt has been selfless this season for the young Warriors.
“Our seniors are so sweet,” Oster said. “Meredith (Stemm) has stepped up in goal for us and Kayla (Vogt) playing center back, they’ve kind of been the cement to this team, especially in those key positions. They’ve grown so much, and they help us a lot. They are so happy and able to keep their mind in a positive space so much that it really helps.”
The Class 3A postseason now looms for each team.
DeKalb travels to the Class 3A Huntley Regional as a no. 11 seed and will face six-seed Hononegah on May 16.
No. 10 seed Waubonsie Valley heads to Bolingbrook the same day to face seventh-seeded Oswego. The winner is expected to get second-seed Plainfield North, which is ranked seventh in the Chicagoland Soccer Top 25.
GK: Beth Meeks
D: Lindsey Bargiel
D: Bella Schmerbach
D: Maddy McNeil
D: Claire Bettner
MF: Carla Murrieta
MF: Alynna Nieves
MF: Jessenia Ramirez
MF: Addison Elshoff
F: Ashley Diedrich
F: Natalie Delgado
GK: Meredith Stemm
D: Kayla Vogt
MF: Katie Chapman
FP: Thanya Castelan
FP: Zoe Evans
FP: Macy Evans
FP: Ceci Galarza
FP: Elli Morris
FP: McKinley Ladd
FP: Andreya Rodriguez
FP: Eleanor Oster
Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Katie Chapman, Waubonsie Valley, so., MF
Waubonsie Valley: Ceci Galarza (Katie Chapman), 25:03 remaining
Waubonsie Valley: Thanya Castelan (Katie Chapman), 9:25 remaining
Waubonsie Valley: Eleanor Oster (Katie Chapman), 7:41 remaining
Waubonsie Valley: Taylor Ahmadian (Katie Chapman), 0:31 remaining
Waubonsie Valley: Katie Chapman (Ceci Galarza), 35:41 remaining
Waubonsie Valley: Ceci Galarza (Bella Woolard), 31:27 remaining
Waubonsie Valley: Taylor Ahmadian (Chloe Shaffer), 10:39 remaining.