Girls Soccer: Kelly fits role as Libertyville’s ‘Iron Woman’
Libertyville senior Allison Kelly (No. 28) fends off a Lake Forest defender and punches the ball upfield during last week's action. | Mark Ukena~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 9, 2012 1:44AM
Libertyville High School’s “Iron Woman” in soccer has played practically every minute of every match this spring.
Wildcats senior defender Allison Kelly came off a pitch for only a handful of minutes in the season opener, and again after Libertyville had taken an 8-0 lead in a match.
“She came so ready to go this season, physically and mentally,” said Wildcats coach Scott Schinto. “Allison is smart, very reliable, and she’s playing like a true senior. If you want consistency defined, all you have to do is watch No. 28 (Kelly’s jersey number).”
If you had wanted to see Kelly play soccer last spring, you would have had to watch JV games. As a sophomore two seasons ago, she filled in at center-midfielder for an injured varsity player.
“I wasn’t discouraged at all about playing JV last year,” she recalled after helping Libertyville defeat host Lake Forest 2-1 on May 3. “I got to play with a lot of juniors, and the players on varsity were unbelievably talented.”
As were the JV’ers, who lost only once, captured a tournament title at New Trier and won the NSC Lake title.
Lake Forest’s varsity loss to Libertyville last week damaged its quest to finish first in the Lake Division. Kelly, fellow defenders Lauren Del Prato and Jordan Bauer and goalie Elaine Sundberg didn’t allow the Scouts’ lone goal until 6:56 remained in the second half.
Wildcats senior Colleen O’Connor’s goal three minutes later, on an assist from freshman Mia Hollingsworth, was the clincher.
“It all starts with communication,” Kelly said regarding one of the keys to an effective defense. “I don’t scream out there. But I like to talk to make sure we’re covering our marks, and I like to stay positive. I don’t think we have one specific leader on defense. We’re all about team effort and keeping the ball out of the net.”
The last thing Schinto wants to do is imagine his team without Kelly’s positivity. It’s as valuable to the Wildcats as her priceless endurance is.
“Allison is the type of kid who, if a field happened to be on fire or things were falling all around her, would be able to find something good in the situation,” Schinto said. “I’m glad I have her.”
Kelly plans to attend the University of Iowa, and is thinking about majoring in business and playing either club or intramural soccer.
One of the tireless Wildcat’s favorite activities in the offseason should surprise nobody.
“I like to run,” she said. “There’s a park near my house, and I like to run there alone and clear my mind. Stamina — it’s a big part of the soccer.”
Big win: Libertyville junior Katie McAuliffe struck for the first goal in the win at LF last week. Classmate Gen Kapecki delivered the assist at 15:10 of the first half.
Lake Forest (11-4-2, 2-1-2) controlled the action offensively for the bulk of the second half.
“Lake Forest moved the ball well, and we were in a defensive posture,” Schinto said. “But we used out counter-attack (to score the winning goal). Maybe we got outplayed in the second half. Bottom line, you try to avoid getting outscored. Soccer — it’s a funny game at times.”
Recap: Libertyville lost to NSC Lake champion Lake Zurich 1-0 on Saturday, and beat Warren 1-0 on Monday. The Wildcats (8-7-1) finished 4-2 in Lake Division play.
On the schedule: Thirteenth-seeded Libertyville opens IHSA Class 3A regional action against No. 17 Waukegan at 4:30 p.m. Friday. The match will be played on Field 19 at the Libertyville Sports Complex.