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8-1-1 girls soccer heads into Naperville Invite with first place hopes

Joey Eovaldi, Sports Editor

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The Kits expect to perform well at the Naperville Invite this year after last year’s disappointment in the tournament. They square off against Hinsdale Central later today, looking to continue their group games and road ahead.

“Although we didn’t make it too far in the Naperville Invite last year, we expect to finish as one of the top teams this year,” Keara Maureen Kerr said. “There are a lot of great teams in the Invite, but we’re prepared to do well this year, so competition will only help strengthen us at this point.”

The Naperville Invite is played over two separate weekends, and the games are played throughout the North Shore area. The Kits play Hinsdale Central in Oak Park tonight at 7:00.

The first weekend’s games are all group games. Evanston is in Group G with Fremd and Hinsdale Central. The Kits play both of these teams in this weekend, and just five days later, they start tournament play. The seedings for the invite come out Saturday, April 22 after all the teams completed their group games.

“The Naperville Invite is one of the most challenging tournaments in the state,” Evanston head coach Stacy Salgado said. “The tournament has some of the highest competition in Illinois, so doing well is really important for us, as typically, whoever comes out on top of this tournament is a contender for winning state.”

The state playoffs are a long way down the road, and despite a state championship being the end goal for the girls, the team hopes to stay disciplined by only focusing on one game at time.

“We know the potential our team has, and that all comes from how hard we practice,” senior Maia Cella said. “But we also know the importance of each and every game, and that if we look ahead, we’ll get tripped up.”

The Kits will be tested tonight when they take on Hinsdale Central, as the Red Devils are winless to this point in the season. On paper, the Kits are definitely the better team, but as Cella said, the Kits can’t look past any team.

Cella, a University of Wisconsin commit, is a senior captain on the team who is a four year varsity player. Aside from her unbelievable passing, vision and goal scoring abilities, her leadership is an essential part to this team.

Through 10 games, Cella already has six goals, leading the Kits to an outstanding 8-1-1 record.

Along with Cella leading the team are seniors Emma Dzwierzynski and Lauren De Maria, junior Ruby Siegel, and sophomore Kerr.

Kerr, as a sophomore, is already committed to Miami of Ohio, but more importantly, she is a leader to other sophomore and freshmen girls in the program. Kerr knows she has great skills, but she also takes pride in her leadership to the rest of the Evanston girls soccer program.

“This year’s team may not have as many seniors or be as skillful as first glance, but our focus in practice and during games is something we’ve developed really well,” Siegel said. “The more we practice focused and as a team, the better we’ll play in games, and I think this team is on the right path.”

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8-1-1 girls soccer heads into Naperville Invite with first place hopes