Kaneland's nine-match winning streak entering Wednesday night's game against DeKalb represented the longest winning streak in program history, coach Scott Parillo said.
The Knights dropped their season opener to Normal West before reeling off nine straight wins. Kaneland is flirting with surpassing the program's all-time best record of 15-3-5.
"Things can change at any time," Parillo said. "I do not want people to think we're so high on ourselves because we're 9-1 because we know things can change at any time."
The Knights, who graduated standout goalkeeper Jordan Ginther off last year's 11-5-3 team, didn't foresee such a dominant regular season.
"We didn't know," Parillo said. "We knew we had a pretty good team but we didn't really know what we had. We're pleasantly surprised but anything can happen. People around school are going 'Hey, you guys are 9-1, you guys are really, really good.' A lot of things can happen so we're not trying to get caught up in that."
Kaneland has been particularly effective scoring off corner kicks, with Madi Jurcenko sending dangerous balls into the box.
Parillo said the team's scoring depth has developed into a big plus.
"The fact that I think we've had 13 different girls who have scored goals I think is huge," Parillo said. "Normally through the season you'll have one or two girls that score a lot of goals but the fact of the matter is we've had 13 different girls who have scored goals and [many have scored multiple goals]. It means the other team can't just sit there and focus on one or two girls that are going to score. The fact that we've been able to distribute the ball so well I think is good for us."
Spartans switch it up
St. Francis made a somewhat unorthodox move Tuesday in switching from regular goalkeeper Brianna Miulli to freshman Tamryn Syron in goal for the team's penalty kick shootout against Wheaton Academy.
The reason was simple enough – Syron is better against PKs.
St. Francis coach Jim Winslow credited Miulli, a senior, with endorsing the move.
"That's thinking team-first," Winslow said. "Any time your kids are doing that, that's always a good thing."
St. Francis won the penalty kick shootout after Syron stopped one shot and three other attempts by the Warriors were off target.
Winslow was relieved when Wheaton Academy misfired on a prime scoring chance during double overtime that would have won the match.
"If I had an nickel for every time a kid missed an open net, I'd be sitting on a beach right now," Winslow said.
Ahead of schedule
Aurora Central Catholic's strong regular season has surpassed expectations, even for first-year Chargers coach Kristy Kane.
"They're just a great group of girls," Kane said after her team reversed a historical trend to beat Rosary on Thursday, 2-1. "There's no drama. They just love to play soccer. They like each other. They work hard.
"You start to think 'Well, this year maybe we can't beat some of those teams,' and then I was like 'Oh, wait, this year we can beat some of these teams.' "
– Jay Schwab, email@example.com
IN THE GROOVE
Jordyn Sundberg, Aurora Central Catholic, Jr.
What she did: Sundberg scored both of Aurora Central Catholic's goals Thursday to lead the Chargers to a 2-1, Suburban Christian Conference win against rival Rosary.
Brooke Roback, St. Francis, So.
What she did: Roback assisted on St. Francis' regulation goal then converted her penalty kick in the shootout Tuesday, lifting the Spartans to a 2-1 victory against Wheaton Academy.
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LAST WEEK
For Batavia, 2-1 is a cursed score.
The Bulldogs dropped conference matches to St. Charles East and Geneva by that same margin as Batavia finished 0-3 against Tri-Cities opponents during the regular season.
WHAT WE'LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD
Whether Kaneland can play with St. Charles East, a formidable Class 4A opponent.
The Knights and Saints are slated to meet in nonconference action on May 10 at Norris Stadium at East.
COACH SLY SAYS
Playing back-to-back days in soccer or four or five games a week isn't for the faint of heart – or lung capacity.
Geneva faced the predicament of playing conference rivalry games Tuesday against Batavia and then Wednesday against St. Charles North, with the North match being arguably the Vikings' biggest of the regular season.
Conditioning is huge in most sports but soccer has to be near the top of the list considering all the ground that has to be covered. And it's equally important for teams to have plenty of depth, which around the Tri-Cities, is thankfully the norm.