Girls Soccer: Naperville North back to win it allNaperville North's Hunter Drendel (8) attempts to save a possession against Barrington High School on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at Naperville North High School. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 20, 2012 8:12PM
The past is both a powerful indicator and cautionary tale for Steve Goletz, the new girls soccer coach at Naperville North.
The longtime assistant to Huskies retiring boys coach Jim Konrad, Goletz assumes a curious position. He inherits both a gold mine of talent and the raft of expectations. Just like the boys squad last fall, the girls team enters the new campaign coming off a great tournament run.
The parallels between the two programs at Naperville North are striking.
With seven returning starters, the boys team used the momentum to post an undefeated regular season that ended with a 1-0 loss to rival Naperville Central in a sectional championship. “The girls were in the stands, they saw the undefeated season and they saw it end in not quite the way we wanted,” Goletz said.
Last spring, the Huskies girls’ squad stunned a nationally-ranked 24-0 Neuqua Valley team 1-0 in a sectional final. The Huskies rode that momentum to the Class 3A title game, where they lost 1-0 to Granite City.
North’s boys team used the previous year’s state tournament run as confidence booster. Now it is the girls team to wear the favorite’s mantle. With seven starters back and the return of Jen Korn, a Northwestern recruit who played club the past two seasons and will solidify the backline, the Huskies rate an edge over Neuqua Valley, Conant and New Trier.
“It’s great on the one hand that we have a group of kids that experienced that success and yet at the same time, it didn’t end quite the way we wanted it to,” Goletz said. The new coach also acknowledges the potential traps his program faces with the huge expectations and the risk of satisfaction or complacency.
Offensively, junior forward Zoe Swift is the kind of explosive talent any coach dreams of having. “Any time the ball touches her foot it’s a potential scoring opportunity,” Goletz said.
Soccer is a difficult game to predict, especially against elite competition where scoring is rare and a game turns on the smallest of actions. “Soccer is very up and down, especially in a long season,” Goletz said.
“I’m not always results oriented,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, I want to win, but I also want us to play our best. You have to be good but you also have to be lucky. Sometimes you create your own luck.”