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 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.