The only winning team
By John Ring
The Silver Streak girls soccer program is basically
still in its infancy. They got off to a tough start in the first few years of
Every game was like Reagan-Mondale. Or, to be fair
and balanced, Roosevelt-Landon. It was a rout.
Then they got respectable. The scores got closer. Then they got to
the .500 mark. Then they won a tournament game.
Now, they've beaten Moline.
"It was big for us because it was the first
time we've done that," said Streaks Coach Jim Carothers about Galesburg's
2-1 win over the maroons last week.. "We've played them hard, we've played
them close, so it was nice to get that win."
Galesburg started off slow this year but things turned
around when they went to the United Township Invitational and came away with a
third place trophy. "That's our second plaque," said Carothers.
"That was big for us. We had never finished that high there before."
But it was more than that. According to many of
these Silver Streak players, it was a loss at that tournament that turned the
season around for them.
"We lost to Mundeline but it was a real tough
game," said senior midfielder Carlie Mangieri. "The score was just
2-0 and when I got home I looked on their school website and they had shutout
something like eight of the nine teams that they had played and the scores were
a lot more lopsided than ours. That was our only loss at that tournament and we
came home with a trophy."
This Streaks team has no true superstar. Teams like
that tend to have no egos. They pass, they share, they talk and in the end,
they win. It's no different with them. When they score in bunches, it tends to
come from a lot of different players.
"In past years, that could pretty much sum up our season,"
said Mangieri. "If we had a great player, we would win if she had a great
game. But it isn't that way so much now."
"We give out a lot of different game balls and
they're well deserved," said junior forward Kiara Akpore, "but
really, to be honest, our MVP is Hannah Katchen."
Katchen is the Streaks goalkeeper, a position she
really didnŐt want to convert to but excels at. Just a junior, Katchen already
has Streak records for most shutout games in a season (7) and career (14).Katchen
is tall, athletic, spunky and imposing in the goal but a trio of midfield
defenders is making her life a lot easier.
"Listen," said Carothers, "in our
game against Geneseo, they took twenty five shots on our goal and we took just
seven. The game ended in a tie. Hannah did a great job but defenders like
Kristen Gernant, Taylor Young and Amanda Mendrek combined in that game to help
her out a lot. They have meshed well together and have really strengthened our
Galesburg is on a four-game winning streak and that
includes a 5-1 rout of Rock Island Alleman on Saturday. "I think the thing
about us right now is we're getting focused before the game," said Akpore.
"Another thing is that we're communicating really good out there and
that's big in soccer. And, we're conquering our own space."
"We're positioning ourselves in the area that
we can take care of," explained Kiara.
Kiara's twin sister, Sade, is a speedy forward for
the Streaks. "I think one of the things that helped us where we are now is
that after our slow start, we played some teams that weren't nearly as good as
we were. We played them, we scored, we defended well and it built up our
confidence. That's big for this team. We had some success and we have built on
that and now we've knocked off Moline."
The Streaks are seeded #8 in the upcoming Regionals/sectional
complex. That gives them a potentially tough draw but they host the Regionals
which can only help.
Anyway you look at it, this is a team that has
seemed to jell. Hannah and her gang may be just spunky enough to create a little
havoc come tournament time.