Tigers on top
Springfield continues unbeaten season
MECCA — The beat goes on for the Springfield girls soccer team.
The Tigers reached the midway point of the regular season with an 8-0 record after beating host Maplewood 9-3 on Tuesday.
“It’s been a great start,” said sixth-year Springfield coach Justin Kosek. “But it’s only a start. Two years ago we won a district championship and lost in the regional to finish 17-3. I think this team may match that one or be better in terms of overall skill, although the team two years ago may have had an edge in speed. They were very quick.
“But this is the first team in my six years that can play possession style of soccer. We can move the ball and they know where each other will be. Most of this group are girls who have played together since fourth grade.”
After losing 16 seniors following the 2017 season, Kosek was counting on freshmen Gracie Venturella and Kylie Medvec making an impact last season. But both went to Cardinal Mooney before returning to Springfield this season.
Junior forward Kylee Kosek, the coach’s daughter, was pleased to welcome them back to build on the camaraderie they had when playing club ball over the years.
“It’s like we didn’t miss a beat, there’s just a natural chemistry we have,” said Kosek, who broke the career goals record during a 20-4 win over Waterloo on Sept. 4 when she reached 84. “I’ve been fortunate to play with some very good players. I may have been under the radar as a freshman on such a good team. Last year I was forced to try to score more because we were young. Now we’ve put things back together and we’re much better than last year.”
Coach Kosek said his daughter was in the low 90s in career goals, but hadn’t updated his books.
“I think Gracie and Kylee took about a little over one scrimmage to get back on the same page,” he said. “They both know where they want the ball and they look for one another and they just click together.
“But it’s more than one or two girls. Mary Grace Mason and Kylie Medvec are playing very strong defensively and Kaila LaMorticella and Gianna Latronica are solid in the inside midfield with Gracie. Our senior goalkeeper Rebecca Catlos is doing a nice job. Everyone is contributing.”
Kylee Kosek scored four times against Maplewood and Venturella had three goals and an assist. Freshman Brionna Holt had a goal and two assists and Latronica added an assist.
The Tigers led 6-0 at halftime, as Catlos made four saves. Mya Agiro made two stops and Caitlin Cappelli made one in the second half.
Maplewood, which fell to 1-5, got goals from Hannah Letcher, Brooke Smith and Elana Caraballo. Letcher also had an assist. Smith made nine saves in the first half and Kaylynn Birkhimer made three stops in the second half.
“Brooke is a strong keeper, but we’d like to develop Kaylynn so we can get Brooke into the field more often,” Rockets coach Brad Ronyak said. “I also thought Madison Miller played a strong game for us. She played defense the past three years, but we need her more on offense now.
“We scrimmaged (Springfield) earlier and they took it to us worse than today, so we showed some improvement. We also were coming off a really poor game against Badger, so they exceeded my expectations today.”