Girls soccer embraces their restricted season

Regular season, playoffs included as team seeks another successful season

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Lily Mattern ’21 #17 looks to connect a cross onto frame (photo courtesy of Mattern).

Aidan Wirtz, Reporter

After a year of short seasons and COVID-19 restrictions, the girls soccer team remains anxious to get back on the field, center midfielder Lily Mattern ‘21 said.

“I am very amped for this season, as it is my last season playing for LT,” Mattern said. “We are determined to make another big statement like we did my sophomore year.”

The team is preparing to return back to normal this season. Two years ago, the team made it to the IHSA state semi-finals with a record of 22-3. The team had great chemistry, and looks to continue that this year, forward Jordan Lee-Caracci ‘21 said.

“I think this year will be a good group of girls,” Lee-Caracci said. “We know how each other play, and LT soccer does a great job keeping that dynamic between teammates.”

The semi-final team two years ago was special, but the makeup of this years’ team has strong potential, head coach Bill Lanspeary said.

“We are fortunate to have so many talented, hard working players at LT,” Lanspeary said. “We talk about supporting one another and having a team-first mentality.”

Mattern and Lee-Caracci both have that mentality, Lanspeary said, and have stuck with the program for all four years. 

Lily has been a varsity player for four years and grown as a player and a leader each and every year,” Lanspeary said. “Jordan made varsity as a junior, worked her way up to being an important player for us on the varsity level.”

Reflecting on how the players feel about the season is important, and seeing how they adjust will be exciting, Lanspeary said.

I think for most of the players, and definitely the coaches, the time away made us miss the camaraderie of the team,” Lanspeary said. “Hopefully we have a new appreciation for everything sports offer and enjoy it even more.”

As for the players themselves, they’re ready to get back on the field after a long wait, Lee-Caracci said. 

“Last year I finally made varsity, and the season being cut short killed me,” Lee-Caracci said. “I’m so excited and ready for this season.”

The girls are scheduled to play 13 games this year—the first which was on April 23—but a possible run at the playoffs would lengthen the season, with playoffs starting on June 1. Like other sports, these games are limited to just conference teams, and although shorter, this year is greatly anticipated, Mattern said.

“For our travel soccer clubs, we’ve had to play two to three games a week,” Mattern said. “We know we’re ready for this.”

And with recurring matchups, the highly anticipated games come against rival school Hinsdale Central. LT won their first matchup at Hinsdale, 1-0. Their next game against them is scheduled for May 18. Both the home and away games against the Red Devils will have a great atmosphere and energy, Mattern said.

“Facing Hinsdale will be a tough matchup, and we know they always give it their all,” Mattern said. “We haven’t lost to them in over six years and are excited to play them again.”

The team has been practicing multiple times a week to stay ready. They’ve consisted of lots of conditioning and ball skills, Lee-Carraci said. Everyone is working extremely hard to play strong every game, she added.

“Everyone contributes their strengths, and that’s what makes us successful,” Lee-Caracci said. “There’s no doubt we will be an extremely strong team this year.”