Girls soccer kicks off new season with a hot streak

Jacob Infante ‘19, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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The Benet Academy Redwings girls soccer team saw their season end in the Class 2A Super Sectionals last year. While a postseason appearance is a commendable effort, that is not enough for this year’s group. This year, they want to go all the way.

It is a feat that no Benet girls soccer team has done in program history. However, with eight of last year’s nine leading scorers returning to the team, this unit certainly has the firepower to make a deep run into the postseason.

The Redwings boast an experienced lineup that has proven to be dangerous in conference play. Several seniors play prominent roles on their roster, with forward Abby Casmere, midfielder Mia Ullmer, defender Mary Kate Hansen, and goalie Eva Frantzen all among the best at their respective positions in the conference. The team is far from reliant on merely their seniors, though, as junior forward Mia Tommasone and defender Kate Flynn, as well as sophomore midfielder Jaimee Cibulka ensure their roster will be in good shape next year.

“We are a team this year that has tremendous depth, speed, and skill on the ball,” head coach Gerard Oconer told the Benet Herald. “Those attributes, in addition to having a roster full of experienced varsity players who are ultra competitive, have contributed to our [hot] start to the season.”

Benet started their season off on a high note, securing a 3-0 victory on the road against Metea Valley on March 12. They won their first home game four days later in a 3-1 showdown with Lemont in the first round of the Wheaton North Kickoff Tournament, a tournament they would eventually win with shutout victories over Sandburg and Deerfield. The Redwings rode their wave of momentum into the month of April, winning their first eight games of the season. Their winning streak saw them rank fifth in state before a 2-1 loss to Joliet Catholic on April 8, their first loss of the year.

Despite their success early on in the season, the Redwings have been able to keep an even-keel approach to their winning ways.

“The tremendous start to our season has given us such an exciting feeling, but we haven’t allowed this to get to our heads,” Ullmer explained. “Our mindset is that we take each game on one by one and put our maximum effort into every second. There is still a lot of work to be done, but winning against some great teams in the area has built a lot of confidence.”

Ullmer, a three-year starter on varsity, says her postseason experience has helped her get ready for a leadership role in her final season on the team, as it has other seniors on the roster.

“I feel very confident [in our championship chances] because we are able to understand each other and work well together due to the team chemistry the other seniors and I have been building for the past few years,” she claimed. “My experience playing in a fast-paced and highly-skilled environment in the playoffs and throughout our season last year has prepared me to step up and help lead the midfield.”

With such an experienced roster, Benet has fostered a motivated and encouraging environment on and off the pitch. From team sleepovers to meals before and after games, they are a tight-knit group that enjoys working together and communicating to reach a common goal: a championship.

“Our team this year has a blend of unique personalities that have meshed together well to create good team chemistry,” Oconer said. “Since we have so many returning varsity soccer players, most of them are accustomed to playing together and have a good understanding of their specific roles. They know that they each have to sacrifice some things individually if we are going to experience success this year collectively as a team.”

“Everyone has such a great energy, and we are all so supportive of each other,” Ullmer said. “We are all willing to put in the hard work and make this the most memorable season yet by ending it with a state championship.”

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