Tryouts for LT’s 2019 girls varsity soccer team were on Feb. 25, lasting the whole week, testing players’ basic skills and abilities. Practice starts March 2 and the season’s games begin on March 21 with the girls facing Waubonsie Valley High School at SC’s Bennett field, scheduled at 5 p.m.
There were two rounds of cuts during tryouts, varsity center and outside forward player Olivia Wirtz ‘20 said. The first one narrowed down the options for the coaches and the second one decided which players made the team. Both of those nights consisted of scrimmage and keep away games to see how players worked with each other.
“Tryouts consist of a variety of activities to try to get a good overall picture of players’ ability level,” varsity coach William Lanspeary said.
Players who tried out for varsity knew what they needed to do to make the team.
“The things that make a good varsity soccer player include speed, strength and toughness because the competition we face is very high level,” varsity center-mid player Eileen Murphy ‘19 said.
Not long into the season, the team already has its non-conference New Trier invitational tournament on April 6, only its fourth game of the season, varsity defense player Bri Stirrat ‘19 said. This tournament includes three mandatory games, and if the team qualifies, it advances to the semi-finals and finals.
“This tournament gives us good competition early on in the season so we feel prepared for more competitive and intense games and play-offs later on,” Stirrat said.
The most anticipated conference games of the season are against Hinsdale Central and Downers Grove North, she said.
“Hinsdale is always a fun game just because we are rivals, but Downers Grove North is probably more anticipated because [the team] knocked us out of the playoffs the last two seasons in penalty kicks,” Murphy said.
Murphy is attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for soccer. Her personal goals for the season are to win super sectionals and most importantly, to beat Downers Grove North if matched up against them in the playoffs, she said.
“I expect this group to be very competitive,” Lanspeary said. “We should compete for a conference championship and look to make a deep run into the state playoffs. Getting over the hump and winning a sectional this year would be special. This team could do that.”
As far as individuals go, Lanspeary expects a lot from them this year, he said.
“Many of them have been varsity players for a few years and know what it takes to win,” he said. “I’m hoping they’ll provide the leadership and establish great camaraderie – that will go a long way toward us having a great season.”