High School Sports

Defense won’t rest for Belleville West girls soccer team

Belleville West’s expectations are high after one week of the girls soccer season.

The Maroons (3-0-1) finished in third place in the annual Metro Cup Tournament’s Adidas Bracket with a 1-0 victory over Rochester on Saturday. The Rockets won the Class 1A state title in 2015 and the Class 2A state championship in 2016.

On Friday, West blanked Naperville Central 1-0 in a regular-season game.

“We’ve defended well,” Maroons coach Jason Mathenia said. “We’ve struggled a little more than I anticipated in finding the back of the net, but we’ve played some good competition. When you play good teams, goals aren’t going to come easy. But for us to be defending as well as we are against good teams, I’m definitely pleased with that.”

West, which was 10-9-2 last year, opened the season with a 1-0 victory over Waterloo on March 13 in the Metro Cup Tournament opener. The Maroons were sent to the third-place game when Triad outscored them 3-1 in penalty kicks Wednesday.

The win over Naperville Central preceded the tournament finale against Rochester.

West’s defense has been impenetrable, allowing no goals. Senior Jamie Adams and sophomore Courtney Vollmer return as center backs. Sophomore Abby Haas and senior Cassie Papproth are on the outside. Help off the bench is provided by sophomore Olivia Alvarez and freshman Maddie Missey.

Junior Bailey Redden returns in goal after posting six shutouts last season.

“Bailey’s been our No. 1 since her freshman year,” Mathenia said. “She had some learning to do from her freshman year and she did it well. She’s done nothing but improve since then. If our girls defend the way they’re supposed to, Bailey shouldn’t have to do much. The few times she’s had to make big saves for us, she’s done her job.”

The Maroons have depth in the midfield with juniors Addison Hanusek and Melanie Kulig, seniors Anna Kehrer and Kacie Kinniken, sophomore Katelyn Grandcolas and freshmen Sydney Valerius and Gabby Holtrop. Kinniken had six goals last year; Grandcolas had four.

Junior Taylor Mathenia, the coach’s daughter, returns at forward and was the Maroons’ leading goal-scorer last year with 14.

“She’s creating some havoc,” Jason Mathenia said. “I would like to see her hit the back of the net a little bit more. We’re counting on Taylor to do her job up there.”

Others on the roster are seniors Madeline Seitz and Lauren Seibert, junior Lana Downard, sophomores Josie Harris, Cassidy Vollmer and Morgan Glazebrook and freshman Mallory Dietz, a backup goalie, and Sydney Vokes.

“We don’t want to try to jinx anything, but we’re definitely happy with the results that we’ve gotten so far,” said Mathenia, whose team’s next game is Thursday at Freeburg.  

David Wilhelm: 618-239-2665, @DavidMWilhelm

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