High School Sports

These girls are some of the area's top high school soccer players

Belleville West senior Taylor Mathenia, left-middle, is again one of the top players in the area in girls soccer.
Belleville West senior Taylor Mathenia, left-middle, is again one of the top players in the area in girls soccer. znizami@bnd.com

The girls soccer season is approaching its halfway point, with several players establishing themselves as the cream of the crop in the metro-east.

Following is a rundown of some of the top performers to date, listed alphabetically:

Grace Brauer, senior, Belleville East

Brauer, a Xavier recruit, has been a goal-scoring machine in her career with the Lancers. The senior has 14 goals and three assists this season, pushing her totals to 56 goals and 19 assists for three-plus seasons.

Brauer has been a News-Democrat all-area first-team pick the last two years. She was a second-team selection as a freshman.

As a sophomore, Brauer had 13 goals during one five-game stretch.

Annie Brown, senior, Belleville East

Brown has moved from midfielder to defender this season, and it's helped the Lancers become a legitimate contender for the Southwestern Conference championship.

Brown, who has two goals, has signed with Illinois-Chicago.

Peyton Ganz, sophomore, Freeburg

Ganz has had no difficulty adjusting to her first taste of the varsity level.

The midfielder-forward leads the Midgets with 23 goals and also has chipped in 10 assists.

Addison Hanusek, senior, Belleville West

The Columbus State recruit is one of the defensive rocks for the talented Maroons.

Hanusek has been a four-year varsity performer at West.

Fae Harrell, junior, Columbia

Harrell has been a steady performer in the middle of the field for the Eagles the last three years.

Harrell is off to one of her better starts, with nine goals and six assists.

Brianna Hatfield, senior, Alton

Hatfield, an all-state selection last season, leads the Redbirds with five goals and has 48 in three-plus seasons in the midfield.

Hatfield has been a News-Democrat all-area first-team pick the last two years.

Jessica Hoffman, senior, Althoff

Hoffman was injured Thursday in the Crusaders' 3-0 loss to visiting Belleville West. The forward has 13 goals — tied for second on the team — and tops Althoff with 10 assists.

Hoffman has 41 goals and 18 assists in three seasons.

Rylee Iorio, junior, Columbia

Iorio has been stellar in goal for the second straight year, with eight shutouts, a 0.60 goals-against average and 37 saves.

Last year, Iorio had 16 shutouts, a 0.33 goals-against average and 70 saves.

Viktoria Johnson, senior, Granite City

Johnson leads the area in goals-against average at 0.11, along with eight shutouts and 44 saves.

The Warriors have surrendered one goal in nine games.

Kennedy Jones, junior, Columbia

Jones is the leading scorer in the St. Louis region with 31 goals and nine assists.

Jones, who had 22 goals and seven assists as a sophomore, has had a five-goal game, two four-goal games and one three-goal game. She's had at least one goal or one assist in 12 of Columbia's 14 games.

"Kennedy is more comfortable and confident in her play this year compared to last year," Columbia coach Jamey Bridges said. "Her movement off the ball has been a big factor this season."

Jones made the News-Democrat's all-area first team last season.

Haley Kimes, sophomore, Freeburg

Kimes played sparingly as a freshman, contributing three assists. But the midfielder is making major contributions this year with seven goals and a St. Louis area-high 19 assists.

Sydney Luedeman, senior, Waterloo

Luedeman is turning in one of her typically productive seasons, with 12 goals and four assists in 11 games.

Luedeman, a News-Democrat all-area second-team pick last year, has career totals of 76 goals and 29 assists.

Courtney Marten, senior, Collinsville

Marten has assumed the offensive load for the Kahoks following the graduation losses of two-time News-Democrat Player of the Year Emily Holten and Alynnah O'Leary.

Marten has 10 goals after tallying 15 last season when Collinsville placed second in the Class 3A state tournament.

Taylor Mathenia, senior, Belleville West

Mathenia has been a mainstay in the metro-east for the last four seasons, racking up 52 goals and 13 assists and making the News-Democrat's all-area first team the last two years.

The fleet-footed Mathenia, who has 12 goals this season — four of them coming in a March 22 victory over Freeburg — is one of the reasons the Maroons are off to a 8-2-1 start to the season.

Mathenia, who had 17 goals and six assists as a junior, has signed with Southeast Missouri State.

Taylor Parks, senior, Columbia

Parks has been the Eagles' top defender for three seasons. She's at it again this year as Columbia has yielded just nine goals.

Parks has signed to play at McKendree University.

Faith Rackers, senior, Mater Dei

Rackers has been a steady player for the Knights, accumulating 13 goals last season and adding another 13 goals through 14 games this season. She has one four-goal game and two three-goal games.

Bailey Redden, senior, Belleville West

Redden, who will play at Southeast Missouri State with Mathenia, is perhaps the best goalkeeper in the metro-east.

Redden posted nine shutouts and a 0.41 goals-against average in the Maroons' first 12 games.

Redden was a News-Democrat all-area first-team selection and an all-state pick last year when she had 10 shutouts and a 0.71 goals-against average, helping the Maroons finish 15-4-2.

Sydney Stephens, sophomore, Waterloo

Stephens is emerging as one of the top play-making midfielders in the area with seven goals and nine assists.

Courtney Vollmer, junior, Belleville West

The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville recruit is the anchor of a defense that has permitted just five goals this season.

Vollmer also has six goals and three assists for the Maroons.

Liesl Whitener, sophomore, Althoff

The midfielder leads the Crusaders with 16 goals and also has nine assists, exceeding her 12 goals and five assists as a freshman.

David Wilhelm: 618-239-2540; @DavidMWilhelm