Elizabeth Parrilli’s decision to give high school soccer a whirl has added another valuable piece to powerhouse St. Charles North.
Parrilli, a gifted sophomore midfielder, focused on club soccer with the Eclipse as a freshman, so she wasn’t around for the North Stars’ run to second place in Class 3A last spring.
But Parrilli decided to suit up for the North Stars this season, and immediately added to the mix for the North Stars, who are 9-1 and have allowed only one goal this season.
Parrilli headed in North’s second goal in Thursday night’s 2-0 win at Batavia.
“I’m definitely glad I made the decision,” Parrilli said. “It’s been a real treat. I love everybody on the team. Everybody’s really nice. It’s been really welcoming. I think we’ve gotten off to a great start.”
North coach Ruth Vostal called Parrilli a quality distributor and is especially heartened to see her gain momentum as a scoring threat. Thursday’s goal was Parrilli’s second in the last three matches.
Although high-level club soccer is considered a step above high school soccer from a competition standpoint, North isn’t a typical high school team. The 5-foot-5 Parrilli said she’s been impressed by the hard-nosed nature of high school soccer.
“It’s a lot more physical,” Parrilli said. “I think because I’m one of the younger girls, it’s different to play with girls bigger and stronger than me, but it’s definitely been fun.”
Knights stepping up
Kaneland has one heck of a 72-hour period at hand.
The Knights scheduled a pair of larger, Class 3A nonconference opponents, both of which carry a heavy local flavor.
Kaneland is to host St. Charles East this afternoon before visiting Geneva on Monday night.
“What’s the old saying, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?’ I guess that’s what we’re going with here,” Knights coach Scott Parillo said.
After an 0-2 start, Kaneland has found a groove, going 3-0-1 since. Still, Parillo said the Knights will have to raise their game substantially to have a chance to defeat the Saints or the Vikings.
Parillo noted the Kaneland boys soccer team tied Geneva in the fall, and he said that result was a confidence boost en route to a strong season.
Parillo, in his ninth season coaching the Kaneland girls, said this is the first time in his tenure the girls team has faced St. Charles East.
He said scheduling stiff competition is a better way to go than racking up wins against lesser teams.
“If you don’t do anything in the playoffs, what does it really matter, so we decided to up the ante and play a few more challenging teams than we do normally, but we felt it’s for the good of the cause, so we’ll see what happens,” Parillo said.
Batavia hoping to toughen up
Batavia lost to St. Charles North, 2-0, on Thursday night, but Bulldogs coach Mark Gianfrancesco hopes the North Stars’ rugged ways rub off on his team the rest of the spring.
“We haven’t played somebody like that,” Gianfrancesco said. “Buffalo Grove, good team, but not physical like this. Wheaton South, not physical like this. We were actually the aggressor in the physical department.
“So when you’re looking to gauge with any of the other teams we’ve played, they’re nowhere near as physical as these guys. [St. Charles East], nowhere near as physical as these guys. So that was a big part of it, and winning balls in the air.”
The loss dropped Batavia to 1-2 in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division, but the Bulldogs already have both of their matches with the conference leaders – St. Charles North and St. Charles East – out of the way.
– Jay Schwab, email@example.com
IN THE GROOVE
Kelly Manski, St. Charles North, Sr., M
What she did: The high-energy Manski was all over the field in 2-0 conference wins at Geneva on Tuesday and at Batavia on Thursday. She scored one of the goals against the Vikings and assisted on Alyssa Brandt's goal against the Bulldogs.
Quincy Kellett, Rosary, So., F
What she did: Kellett had a goal and an assist in Tuesday's win against Chicago Christian, then added two goals and an assist Wednesday as the Royals beat host West Aurora, 6-2, in a tournament match.
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LAST WEEK
Rosary's offense is coming to life.
After a sluggish start to the season, goals are coming more readily for the Royals, who scored six times in Wednesday's tournament-clinching triumph at West Aurora. In addition to Kellett, Kaitlin Johnson, who recently returned from a concussion, scored two goals for the Royals.
WHAT WE'LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD
Which team is going to win the Upstate Eight Conference River Division, for all practical purposes.
The last two unbeaten teams in conference play – crosstown rivals St. Charles North and St. Charles East – are due to hook up at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at East. Both teams have been dominant in conference play, including wins against the other Tri-Cities teams, Batavia and Geneva.
COACH SLY SAYS
Anyone smelling a repeat?
St. Francis won its first girls soccer state title in program history last season, and so far, there's nothing telling Sly that the Spartans can't bag their second this spring.
Coach Jim Winslow's Spartans are unbeaten through the first month of the season, and most of the matches haven't been close. They've got a great keeper, extremely stingy defense and seem to have some new scorers stepping up.
It'll be interesting to see if local conference rivals like Rosary and Wheaton Academy can slow the Spartans down any between now and regionals.