Breakthrough soccer moment for Cyclones women
Suddenly, things are looking a whole lot better for Moraine Valley College’s women’s soccer team.
Defensive lapses and an ongoing lack of offensive pop had combined to sabotage the Cyclones several times thus far in the 2013 season. And while Moraine’s attack still didn’t generate big numbers last Tuesday, the locals were able to prevent Morton College from doing the same.
What made the Cyclones’ performance all the more eye opening was that their opponent entered the match as the No. 1 team in Region IV of the National Junior College Athletic Association. Despite their elite status, the Panthers managed to punch just one shot past Moraine netminder Diana Lozano.
The Richards alumnus didn’t lack for tests — she was called on to make a total of 19 saves. This time, though, the yeoman work got at least partially rewarded as a Cyclones goal in the latter portion of regulation forged a 1-1 tie.
And that deadlock remained in place through two overtimes, giving Moraine a well-deserved draw with Morton.
“Obviously, this was the best game of the season [for us],” Cyclones coach Jim Knawa said. “The girls really stepped up and played 110 percent against the first-place team.”
The match was a scoreless deadlock until the 70th minute, when the Panthers finally broke through with their lone tally. Maria Gabino erased Moraine’s deficit, however, with three minutes left by scoring off a pass from Patricia Tuxford.
Yesenia Galvan, Stephanie Aimone, Letricia Diaz and Antonia Zaper also kept pressure on Morton’s defense throughout the day. Aiding Lozano in her quest to hold the Panthers in check most of the way were Tuxford, Jill Kossifos (Mt. Assisi), Samantha Reyes (Marist) and Kathleen Gribbon (Marist), who played well as a defensive unit.
The Cyclones remained tough on both sides of the ball, but South Suburban College still managed to make off with a 2-1 win on Saturday.
Gabino was again Moraine’s goal scorer, as she found the back of the Bulldogs’ net off an assist from Shepard alumnus Janelle Walters. Keeper Lozano had one save.
At long last, the Cyclones are No. 1.
First-place tournament finishes had eluded Moraine several times this fall, typically by only by one or two strokes, but last Monday its luck finally changed. The Cyclones occupied the top spot in an event held at the College of Lake County’s home course and, in the process, took over first place in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference with just one more conference match to go.
Moraine golfers dealt effectively with windy and cool conditions on a course that features water on 16 of the holes. With Pat Neylon’s 81 ranking as their low score, the Cyclones wound up two shots ahead of the runner-up host school.
Also contributing for Moraine were John Randolph (82), Joe Knight (83) and Jack Misheck (88).
“I’m happy for the guys and happy with the improvement,” Cyclones coach Bob Freudenthal said. “Now, we have to win the last conference match to take first overall.
“I’m hoping for a strong finish. We’ve gotten better, so I’m still cautiously optimistic.”
In ideal running conditions last Friday, the young Cyclones responded with a good outing.
Moraine’s men finished 12th out of 14 teams, while the women were 11th in a 12-school field at Wheaton College’s Gil Dodds Invitational. The races were held at St. James Farm in Warrenville.
Dawid Palac again led the male Cyclones as he took the 114th position among 190 runners by clocking a time of 28 minutes, 32 seconds for 8K. Evergreen Park alumnus Brandon Ceh was next down the chute for Moraine in 28:52, which was good for 129th place.
Rounding out the Cyclones’ list of scorers were Brother Rice grad Thomas Cira (141st in 29:20), Sandburg product Zach Butera (147th, 29:33) and Jesus Rojas (149th, 29:37). Also competing on Moraine’s behalf were Anton Thauer (159th, 30:17), Alejandro Montes (166th, 30:55), and Evergreen Park products Justin Briante (172nd, 31:29) and Larry Byrd (189th, 35:50).
“The guys had a good morning — most of them lowered their times and [they] gained the experience of racing against some really competitive teams,” Cyclones coach Mark Horstmeyer said. “They still have a lot of work to do, but they definitely are heading in the right direction. We’re pleased with how they responded.
“Now, they have to get ready to face even tougher competition on Friday. I think they’ll have some fun.”
Moraine’s women took on their first 6K race of the season and showed some increased speed. Aileen Gorman (Marist) led the way by taking 58th in a 161-runner field with a time of 25:13, while Queen of Peace alumnus Miranda Reyes (101st in 27:24) was the second Cyclone to complete the race.
Jessica Flores (111th, 27:49), Lex Mindock (114th, 27:59) and Sandburg grad Amy Johnson (124th, 28:40) also provided points for Moraine. Tiffany Huntley (133rd, 29:13), Maritza Najera (146th, 30:24) and Sury Rosete (160th, 39:20) were other Cyclones who participated.
“The girls had a really good outing, especially for their first 6K of the season,” Horstmeyer said. “We wanted them to focus on finishing strong, especially that last half-mile or so, and they did.
“What was a pleasant surprise is that they had lowered their 5K times, and that should give them a boost of confidence. We also had two of our women back from injuries, and that helped us, too.”
Moraine returns to St. James Farm on Friday to compete in the College of DuPage Invitational, which will feature more than 25 teams from across the midwestern collegiate landscape.
“This race will definitely be a challenge,” Horstmeyer said. “The teams range from NCAA Divisions I, II and III to NAIA, and a host of community colleges. This will make for tight racing conditions because some of the course is through the woods and the path is narrow.
“It should be fun, and our runners will have another opportunity to gauge their fitness against top competitors.”
The Cyclones continued rolling last Thursday, as they blew past McHenry College 8-1 to remain unbeaten.
All three doubles matches were strongly contested, but Moraine breezed through most of the singles encounters with little difficulty. Recording impressive victories were Liz Dominguez (No. 1 singles), Alexa Armon (No. 3), Oak Lawn alumnus Claudia Maka (No. 4), Lindsey Walker (No. 5) and Tricia Poremba (No. 6).
“We are definitely a force to be reckoned with,” Cyclones coach Nicole Selvaggio said. “I am very pleased with the girls’ continuous fight. We are looking forward to another good match [the next time out].”
After a string of cruise-control victories, Moraine had to fight hard against Sauk Valley College on Saturday in order to secure a 5-4 win at home.
Dominguez, Armon, Maka and Premba all captured their singles matches, with the latter turning in her finest performance of the season along the way. Maka also teamed with Kelley Grzych to bring home the clinching triumph at No. 2 doubles.
“We are still undefeated, so I am very pleased with that,” Selvaggio said. “However, we are getting down to the wire. Regionals are a couple short weeks away, and my girls are going to continue to step it up big-time at practice.”
The College of Lake County was no match for the Cyclones last Tuesday, as the latter registered a 25-11, 25-14, 25-11 triumph behind big efforts from several individuals.
Kara Kentner paced Moraine with 10 kills, but Autumn Seiler was right behind her with nine kills in 15 attempts and Alex Bojan added eight more. Kenter also distributed 16 assists, second only to Joanna Curtis’ team-best total of 28.
Taylor Serrano and Stephanie Dagenais both put down six kills, with Serrano notching a solo block as well. Kayla Manthei and Gina Ryan combined for 16 perfect passes, and Samantha Newhall came off the bench to deliver four digs and three good passes.
It was a slugfest between two good teams last Thursday and a little more than the Cyclones could handle, as they dropped a 28-26, 17-25, 20-25, 33-31, 15-12 verdict to South Suburban College.
“South Suburban is a solid team with good ball handling and a big hitter that swings from all along the net,” Moraine coach Gloria Coughlin said. “We had several opportunities to put the match away in the fourth set, but eased off the gas pedal a little and let them back in the game. Their momentum from Set 4 really helped them in the fifth set.”
Kentner was again the Cyclones’ ringleader as she finished with 20 kills, 30 assists, 26 digs, three blocks and a service ace. Ryan was also a force with 15 kills, 20 digs, three blocks and one ace.
Serrano chipped in 14 kills, six blocks and two aces, Seiler had 12 kills and 22 digs, Curtis passed out 39 assists, and Manthei totaled 42 digs.
It only took six collective sets for Moraine to defeat both Kankakee Community College and Kellogg College at a tri-match on Saturday. The pair of successes put the Cyclones at a double-digit number of wins for the season.
First up was Kankakee, which Moraine vanquished 25-18, 25-12, 25-17 as Seiler (10 kills), Ryan (nine kills) and Kentner (nine kills with no hitting errors, 17 assists, 15 digs, two aces, one solo block) all handled leadership roles. Serrano added six kills, a block and two ace serves, while Curtis doled out 24 assists.
Kenter (10 kills with no errors, 15 assists, two blocks) and Serrano (nine kills, six blocks, two aces) were the key figures for the Cyclones in their 25-19, 25-19, 25-17 conquest of Kellogg. Ryan chipped in eight kills and seven digs, while Curtis distributed 22 kills and had two service points.
With a little help from their foe, the Cyclones collected a 2-1 win over McHenry College last Tuesday.
Patryk Paprocki accounted for Moraine’s initial marker, but the deciding score came on an own goal by McHenry.
Greg Healy’s first hat trick of the season propelled the Cyclones to a 6-1 victory over Kishwaukee College on Saturday. Also booting home markers for Moraine were Lutth Tchitembo, Gilberto Andrade and Jordy Padilla.