Photo by Jeff Vorva
Moraine Valley women’s soccer players spray each other with sparkling cider Sunday to celebrate a sparkling 5-2 victory over Waubonsee on Sunday to win the Region IV title and qualify for nationals for the third straight year.
In the first half, there was rain.
After the match, there was champagne.
Well, actually it was Martinelli’s Gold Medal sparkling cider, but it had the same vibe of a champagne celebration Sunday afternoon after Moraine Valley Community College’s women’s soccer team beat Waubonsee 5-2 Sunday in Palos Hills to win the Region IV tournament and advance to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I National Championship for the third year in a row.
Pool play begins Monday in Melbourne, Fla. As of this paper’s deadline, the field was not seeded.
Moraine is ranked 14th in the nation and brings in a 17-0 mark and this is the third time that third-year coach Al Palar has taken an unbeaten team to the nationals. But the Cyclones were 0-4 and outscored 16-2 in those matches.
Palar thinks that could change this year.
“The last two years we were successful because we had one or two difference makers and quite a few role players,” he said. “This year, we have a complete team. We defend really well and every match we create (offensive) chances and we’ve beaten a ranked team already (Parkland College, 2-1 in overtime on Sept. 2) and that’s the type of team we will see at the national tournament.’’
Palar earned the Region IV Coach of the Year Award and Brooke Janeczek was named the Player of the Year. The freshman who played at Lockport High School scored 25 goals during the regular season for the Cyclones and she said that was a huge surprise.
“I played defense until my junior year and then I played forward and I scored a few goals but this is kind of new for me,” she said. “I didn’t know that this was in me.’’
Janeczak scored two goals in Sunday’s win while freshmen Samantha Moran (Sandburg), Karen Montoya (Eisenhower) and Bedour Elbeitoni (Stagg) also scored goals against Waubonsee. The Cyclones beat Waubonsee buy the same 5-2 score during the regular season.
Other players on the squad are sophomore Edith Benitez (Reavis), freshman Zaida Chacon (Queen of Peace), freshman Claire Collevy (Marist), freshman Sylvia Kordaczka (Lockport), Zulma Montoya (Eisenhower), freshman Yesenia Perez (Eisenhower) , sophomore Grace Rollins (Oak Forest), freshman Patricia Rzadkosz (Reavis), sophomore Jillian Steinke (Andrew), sophomore Eve Stolzenbach (Beecher), freshman Abby Tiemersma (Chicago Christian), and freshman Jennifer Warja (Andrew).
Palar grew up in Plainfield and was a four-year starter at St. Xavier University. He helped the Cougars make it to the NAIA nationals his junior season.