Girls soccer closes in on State

Team competes as top team in state, wins major tournament


Josie Pochocki ‘24 looks ahead to her teammates in an away game against Hinsdale Central High School on April 18 (Burke/LION).

Molly Burke, Sports Editor

An important aspect varsity head coach William Lanspeary always remembers for his players is what it means to be on a team. The girls soccer team has created a strong team bond right from the start, and many have stepped up as leaders and put their own mark on the team, following the talented players before them, Lanspeary said.

This team is filled with standout players, and yet they are players that play for the team and not themselves,” Lanspeary said. “I think that’s what has made us successful this season.”

As of May 17, varsity girls soccer had an impressive record of 18-1-1, playing as one of the top teams in the state. They hope to achieve a Western Suburban Silver Conference title and continue their success moving into playoffs, defender Izzi Wirtz ‘24 said. As a third year varsity player and team captain, Wirtz loves the energy her team has brought this year and believes their intensity can contribute to some great wins.

“I am looking forward to playoffs the most,” Wirtz said. “It is a super fun time in the season where every moment counts. The stakes are really high, but I think it makes it that much more exciting.”

On April 15, the team won the Lou Malnati’s Deep Dish Classic, defeating Evanston High School 4-1, receiving their first championship title for the season. The girls went through some tough competition, defeating Glenbrook South High School, Lake Forest High School, Loyola Academy, and New Trier High School as well, conceding only one goal for the whole tournament against Evanston, forward Niamh Griffin ‘23 said. Major wins also include Conference win against Downers Grove North High School, winning 2-0 and the 1-0 win over Hinsdale Central High School with header goal by Caroline McKenna ‘24. A critical factor Griffin believes is a reason for the team’s continued success is the encouragement and strength from her teammates. 

“Our team is super supportive of each other and there is always a great atmosphere at practices and games,” Griffin said. “I know that my team will always be cheering for me.”

Every year, even with all the returning players, the girls always become a new team with different aspects and skills from each player, according to Griffin. This year, the team has a newer lineup with all the graduated seniors gone from last year, so the team had to work hard to become one.

“I love seeing what this group of players can do, how we can work together to make some pretty special stuff happen, and see how far we can go into playoffs,” Griffin said.

Connecting with each other is one way the girls find their greatest success, Wirtz said. From group hangouts to singing together on bus rides home from games, the team always finds a way to connect with one another to have the best possible outcome for their games.

“Bonding with teammates is crucial to playing well on the field,” Wirtz said. “If you don’t get along off the field, you don’t play together well on the field, and I think our team has done a really great job with this.”

Something unique about the girls varsity squad this year is that nine of the players have a twin, including center back Brennan Israel ‘24 and forward Peyton Israel ‘24. Brennan has been on varsity for two years, and this year Peyton was able to join her sister for her first year on varsity.

“Peyton and I have always played soccer together since we were 3 years old,” Israel said. “Last year was our first year not playing on the same team during high school, but I love being on varsity with her because sometimes we can read each other’s mind on the field which helps with passing and making runs during the game.”