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Sports

Girls soccer: Led by Illinois recruit Peyton Willie, Foxes a program on the rise

Shaw Media file photo
Yorkville junior Peyton Willie (19) has already scored 51 goals in two varsity seasons for the Foxes.
Shaw Media file photo Yorkville junior Peyton Willie (19) has already scored 51 goals in two varsity seasons for the Foxes.

When you only lose one senior from a winning team, there’s reason to be excited about the upcoming season.

When one of your returnees is only a junior, but has already scored 51 goals, you have reason to be beyond thrilled.

Perhaps the only disappointing news for the Yorkville girls soccer team this spring is that the Foxes lost Lupe Anguiano due to a preseason injury.

Regardless, there’s a lot of optimism in Yorkville, which made a huge stride last year in coach Lauren Anderson’s first season.

The Foxes bounced back from an 8-11-2 and winless conference season in 2015 to post a 12-8-2 mark, 3-4-1 in conference.

“Last year we were starting five or six freshmen a lot of the time,” Anderson said. “So we were young, but we started building the program in the right direction. It may be a little thing but we have two teams again this year where in the past we only had one. Last year we beat DeKalb and Morris for the first time, and the year before we didn’t win a single conference game.”

The biggest obstacle the Foxes need to overcome is replacing Anguiano who is out for the season with an injury. A fierce center back, Anguiano kept the Foxes in a lot of games last year and earned all-sectional marks.

“Losing a big player like that is tough,” Anderson. “But I told the girls we have a lot players and we just need them to step up.”

One player who has stepped up ever since she first walked on the soccer field two years ago is junior Peyton Willie, who is verbally committed to Illinois.

“She’s simply an incredible player with a lot of speed and now all the schools know about her," Anderson said. “After her freshman year they started to double team her, but with her speed, she still was a difference maker. Her speed is one-of-a-kind. And if teams want to double team her, it opens up another player and we’ve got some strong players around her and should be able to execute off that.”

One of those players is freshman midfielder Madison Grandys.

“Madison is going to be something special,” Anderson said. “She has a lot of talent and is going to make an impact as a freshman, which is exciting since we’ll have her for four years. She has great vision of the field, great endurance and is the whole package.”

Grandys' ability to connect with Willie from the midfield will be huge. Having sophomore Katie Straznickas (six goals, four assists last season) to anchor the backline is also a strength.

The Foxes only have two seniors, Jessica Luptak and Syndey Hering, so they’ll be young again. They already proved last year they could win with youth.

“Obviously one of our biggest goals is to be the first in school history to win conference, but we’ve got Sycamore and Kaneland who are tough opponents,” Anderson said. “But it’s soccer so it’s anybody’s game. A couple years ago we’d have slaughter rules but now we’re more competitive and winning some of those games so it’s exciting.”

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