Girls' soccer teams to watch at regionals, courtesy Marcus Jackson
The Bulldogs are the top seeds at Decatur Eisenhower's Class 2A regional thanks to their 11-1-1 start. Of their 11 wins, 10 are shutouts, and Joey Gruner's squad outscored the opposition 47-1 en route to a 9-0-0 start. Kathy Bradley is giving up fewer than one goal per match, and six players have scored at least five goals, led by Kayla Thompson and Sarah VanWingerden, who have scored 10 apiece.
St. Thomas More
James Johnson has the Sabers riding high in his first season in charge of the program, and they're the favorites to win the Class 1A Urbana University Regional. STM's most impressive feat this season was winning the Urbana Invitational against large schools Urbana, Lincoln and Champaign Central. The Sabers, who have nine wins by shutout, have one of the top keepers around in Lexi Wallen and a pair of talented goal scorers in Jade Brinkoetter and Louisette Lukusa.
The Maroons got the top seed at Centennial's Class 2A regional, where the host Chargers, Danville and Urbana also will compete. Mick Galeski's club is balanced, with five players having scored at least three goals. Maddy Chalifoux is among the area's leaders with 11, and Emica Quigley's got six goals. Laura Horvat in net will give Central a chance against anyone.
Don't count out the Chargers, who are the No. 2 seeds at their own regional. Hsiung Marler's squad has been playing this season without 2010 Area Player of the Year Dagny Olson, who's playing on the club circuit, and 2011 Player of the Year Chantal Meacham (injury), but there's plenty of talent remaining on the roster from last year's sectional championship squad, led by Katelynn Martinez, the area's leading goal scorer, and Grace Ayodele.
Like Centennial, the Illineks are the No. 2 seeds at their own regional, but Phil Anders' team played top-seeded St. Thomas More tough earlier this season. Uni and the Sabers played to a draw March 12. The Illineks get a Monticello team they defeated 1-0 on April 5 to open regional play to set up a potential championship showdown against STM.