November 11, 2014
Cyclones on the up and up
With a goal to improve over last year’s results, the Cyclones did that and then
some in 2014.
Finishing overall at 10-8 and 4-3 in conference was progress over last year’s 6-7-1 overall and 2-3-1 conference records. Not only that, but Moraine Valley also hosted the first region playoff game, finishing in the top four, both of which haven’t been done since 2009. Unlike in previous seasons, the Cyclones also boasted a bursting roster, topping out at 22 players.
“The numbers were fantastic. I hope we build on that,” said head Coach Jim Knawa, who finished up his 10th year at the helm. “Overall, it was a pretty good season. And we didn’t lose a step all year because we had a really strong bench.”
With typical seasonal injuries, players filled positions where needed. The only hiccup was a rotating goalkeeper. Throughout the year the Cyclones had six different keepers, mostly field players not used to defending in the net. Diana Lozano (Richards) stepped up and played a majority of the latter half of the season in that critical position. She later was named to the All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference second team.
Alyssa Braun (Shepard) was the leading Cyclone scorer with 18 goals followed by Maggie Hacker (Sandburg) with seven. Braun was named to the All-NJCAA Region IV second team and All-Conference first team while Hacker had a nod to the conference second team. As always, the defense was solid and played a pivotal role for the Cyclones. That group was comprised of Kortnie Hanold (Shepard), Xitlaly Mandujano (Hubbard), Katie Gribbon (Marist), Denise Ruiz (Reavis), Samantha Reyes (Marist), and Liliana Cabrera (Hubbard). Several Cyclones also received awards. Hanold and Esmeralda Padilla (Kelly) were named to the All-Region first team while Alexis Delgado (Reavis) earned All-Region second team honors. Hanold and Padilla had nods to the All-Conference first team while Delgado was second team All-Conference.
The Cyclones shut out seven teams, but were shut out five times showing their sometimes hot and cold nature, Knawa said. But overall the squad gelled and played well. Looking ahead, the Cyclones could return 10 players in addition to another recruiting push, which bulked up this year’s roster. Things are looking up.
“We lost to strong teams this year and we need and want to get to that level and compete with those powerful programs like Waubonsee and Lake County. We’re going in the right direction,” Knawa said.
November 5, 2014
Cyclones hit roadblock in semis
Playing Waubonsee Community College is never an easy task, and the Cyclones hit
their biggest roadblock in the NJCAA Region IV semi-finals Nov. 4 when up
against the Chiefs.
Moraine Valley’s defense let too many opponents slip past for goals, losing the match 5-0. Although the Cyclones played one of their best games, they couldn’t compete with a team that has averaged 5.1 goals per game this season. Keeper Diana Lozano was busy at the net, saving 26.
November 3, 2014
Cyclones defeat Spartans in penalty kicks
When it comes to playing Elgin Community College, the Cyclones keep things
interesting. In the NJCAA Region IV quarter finals Nov. 1, Moraine Valley went
into two overtimes and won on penalty kicks to advance to the semi-finals.
Going into this playoff game, the Cyclones had already bested the Spartans in their prior meeting in September, winning 1-0 in overtime. The Cyclones dominated the whole game but struggled to find the back of the net except for their first and only goal by Alexis Delgado. Elgin countered to tie it up through two overtimes. The Cyclones stuck to the plan of making shots on goal to move the goalie for the penalty kicks. Maggie Hacker, Esmeralda Padilla, Delgado, and Alyssa Braun each scored on the penalty kick. In the net, Diana Lozano saved one for the 4-3 victory. She had six saves in regulation time.
Next the Cyclones face conference rival and soccer powerhouse Waubonsee Community College on Tuesday, Nov. 4.
October 27, 2014
Six Cyclones earn pre-playoff honors
Six Cyclones were recognized for their performance this season. Esmeralda Padilla, Kortnie Hanold and Alyssa Braun were named to the All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference first team while Alexis Delgado, Maggie Hacker and Diana Lozano had nods to the second team. All-NJCAA Region IV first team honors went to Padilla and Hanold with Braun and Delgado on the second team.
October 23, 2014
Cyclones blanked at home
The Cyclones ended their regular season on Oct. 22, getting shut out by a tough Oakton Community College squad, 2-0. Carly Trinley was at the net and saved 11. Now the Cyclones are preparing for playoffs which start Nov. 1, noon, at home against rival Elgin Community College, a team they defeated in overtime during the regular season.
October 21, 2014
Cyclones make a statement in narrow loss
The Cyclones went into their game Oct. 20 uncertain of what to expect from a
tough College of DuPage squad. The Chaparrals tied with Waubonsee Community
College, which is the top team in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference, so
Moraine Valley knew they’d have at least a battle at home. With the challenge in
mind, the Cyclones proved their mettle in a close 1-0 loss.
In the first half, the Cyclones dominated but just couldn't find the back of the net. A penalty kick blocked by DuPage didn’t stop Moraine Valley from holding the score to 0-0 at the half.
The second half was nearly identical to the first. Moraine Valley was in possession of the ball more often than not. With about 12 minutes left, DuPage played a ball through the middle to their forward at half field. It was a foot race where the Cyclones couldn’t catch up or stop the goal in time. But Moraine Valley continued to push. With five minutes left in the game, the Cyclone goalie came out of the box to grab a ball and was given a red card, leaving the team with one less player. The defense stepped it up a notch and didn’t allow any other goals.
October 20, 2014
Cyclones dominate before playoffs
The Cyclones shut out yet another team—their seventh this season—with Daley
College becoming the latest victim Oct. 17. Earning their fourth straight win,
the Cyclones are gearing up for a couple tough opponents before playoffs begin.
Within the first five minutes of the game, the Cyclones came on strong, and Alyssa Braun scored the first goal. Although the Cyclones possessed the ball for most of the first half, they played rushed, leading to many poor quality shots and zero goals.
With a one-point lead at halftime, the Cyclones nearly lost the shutout which helped the team re-focus. Soon thereafter, Braun scored a second goal which helped get the monkey off the team’s back. Alexis Delgado took a free kick which hit the cross bar and bounced down. Stephanie Aimone ran through the box and finished it for the third goal. The Cyclones then got some help from the Bulldogs. Samantha Reyes saw the ball bouncing out of the box, took a couple touches and aimed towards the net. The ball deflected off one of the eight defenders in the box and in for a fourth Cyclone goal. Kenya Torres took the ball close to the box and earned a foul, which resulted in another free kick. Delgado took this again which bounced off the cross bar where Kristina Cypser finished it to seal a 5-0 victory. Diana Lozano took over in the net and saved five.
October 16, 2014
Cyclones playing strong
In one their best performances all season, the Cyclones defeated an always
competitive Morton College squad. The women in green won 3-1 on Oct. 15.
The players moved the ball well, had a great passing game, took numerous shots on goal, and communicated well. At the seven-minute mark, Maggie Hacker scored the first goal, which held until the second half. Twenty minutes in Morton tied it up. The Cyclones kept pushing and eventually went ahead with a goal by Diana Lozano with 14 minutes left. Esmeralda Padilla gave the Cyclones some insurance with the final goal two minutes later. Hacker and Alyssa Braun had assists while keeper Allison Nash saved four.
October 14, 2014
Second straight shutout
In their second matchup in less than a week, the Cyclones continued their
domination of Prairie State College. Between both games, Moraine Valley has
shutout the Pioneers and scored nine goals. Their most recent 4-0 victory was on
Alyssa Braun had a big game, scoring three times with Esmeralda Padilla getting the fourth goal. Kortnie Hanold had an assist.
October 9, 2014
Cyclones blank Pioneers
There was nothing but domination Oct. 8 as the Cyclones overtook Prairie State College in a 5-0 victory. The goals came early and often thanks to two players. Alyssa Braun (Shepard) scored three times while Cecia Esquivel scored the rest. They had help from Denise Ruiz, Maggie Hacker and Diana Lozano who had assists.
October 2, 2014
Another tough blow
The Cyclones suffered another setback Oct. 1 in a 5-2 loss to a tough College of
Lake County team.
Despite playing well, the Cyclones gave up four goals in the first half alone. But it wasn't a blowout. Alyssa Braun scored both goals unassisted keeping Moraine Valley in the game. Diana Lozano took over at the net for a second game, saving eight for the night. Kristina Cypser also spent some time as keeper.
September 29, 2014
Setback for Cyclones
The battle was back and forth Sept. 28 between the Cyclones and Madison College, but ultimately Moraine Valley came out on the short end, losing 3-2. Maria Gabino and Maggie Hacker scored with an assist from Samantha Reyes. Diana Lozano was back in the net, saving one for the game.
September 25, 2014
Boyer saves 22 in shutout loss
It’s never fun to lose, but the Cyclones have battled and lost against some
tough teams including their recent 3-0 loss Sept. 24 to Lake Michigan College.
In only their third loss of the season, it was one of the hardest matchups to date. Within the first four minutes of the game, the Cyclones gave up a goal. Not to be outdone by an early setback, Moraine Valley continued their defensive push and did not allow any more goals in the first half while taking some shots of their own.
After halftime, the Cyclones came out strong putting the pressure on. Fifteen minutes in, Moraine Valley earned a free kick. Esmeralda Padilla crossed the ball toward Lake Michigan’s box and Maggie Hacker missed the goal on the first attempt. Alejandra Hernandez-Lopez attempted a second shot that the goalie saved. Without a point on the board, the Cyclones lost some steam but never gave up an offensive drive. Unfortunately, Lake Michigan scored two more times with 20 minutes left. Alexis Boyer had a huge game for the Cyclones, saving 22.
September 22, 2014
Cyclones deny Bulldogs
The Cyclones faced South Suburban College for the second time this season (Sept.
20), confidently defeating the Bulldogs 3-0.
This was a tough game for the Cyclones because after their last encounter, a 9-3 win, they were confident in an easy win. The first half yielded zero goals for Moraine Valley with some missed opportunities.
Around five minutes into the second half, Maggie Hacker headed in a cross to score the first goal. Once the Cyclones scored, they relaxed and scored 15 minutes later with Alyssa Braun finishing a ball that was crossed in from Alexis Delgado. The Cyclones scored their final goal with 10 minutes left in the game. Braun scored again off a great play and pass from Maria Gabino. Alexis Boyer saved three in her fourth shutout.
September 18, 2014
Cyclones win in OT
It might have taken some extra minutes, but the Cyclones came out ahead Sept. 17
in an overtime match with Elgin Community College to end a losing skid.
The teams were matched, and Elgin looked to counter the entire game. Moraine Valley possessed the ball often and early, but couldn't find a goal. Kristina Cypser nearly scored in the first 10 minutes as did Alexis Delgado, who had a shot from the outside that made the goalie work. Although the Cyclones gave up a few dangerous chances to the Spartans, keeper Alexis Boyer came up with big saves to maintain a 0-0 stalemate.
At halftime, the Cyclones tried not to over pursue the net. Moraine Valley continued to pressure and slowly break down Elgin. In the last 10 minutes Maggie Hacker made a good shot, but it hit the crossbar.
In starting overtime, the Cyclones made sure to keep pressuring a tired Elgin squad. Less than two minutes in, Diana Lozano beat a defender down the side of the field, looked to hit the ball across the box, which ended up finding the back of the net for the win. Alexis Boyer finished with eight saves and her third shutout.
September 15, 2014
Cyclones fight through loss
Although the Cyclones dropped their game on Sept. 13 to Southwestern Illinois
College, the 5-0 score alone doesn’t indicate the way Moraine Valley performed
on the field.
Southwestern Illinois is ranked #6 in the nation, but the Cyclones never gave up during the match. The coaches made sure the players were in the defensive mindset, were looking for counter attacks and worked to maintain a 0-0 score in the first half. For the first 20 to 25 minutes the Cyclones played solid and kept the score deadlocked at 0, frustrating their opponents. An unfortunate Cyclone breakdown let the first goal in. Then Southwestern had a cross that Moraine Valley tried to clear, but went in the goal instead. The letdown of losing two goals kept the Cyclones off center for a few minutes, allowing a third goal to finish the half.
The Cyclones came out in the second half playing well and seeing some chances to score. Southwestern found two more openings to score with only 14 minutes left in the game, but still had to deal with a tough defensive block. Alexis Boyer helped keep the Cyclones from suffering an even larger deficit by saving 22 in the net. The rest of the defense played well including Kortnie Hanold, Xitaly Mandujano, Esmeralda Padilla, Kathleen Gribbon, and Sam Reyes
September 11, 2014
Cyclones struggle to stop Chiefs
The Cyclones faced their always tough rival, Waubonsee Community College, on
Sept. 10 and took a beating. Moraine Valley lost the contest 7-1.
Maggie Hacker scored the lone goal with an assist from Alejandra Hernandez-Lopez. Alexis Boyer had her work cut out for her this game, saving 18 in the deluge.
September 9, 2014
Offense on fire in shutout
The offensive fire combined with a blockade of defense helped the Cyclones tack
on another win Sept. 8 with a 7-0 shutout of Daley College.
It took nearly 18 minutes before the Cyclones found the net, but once they did, the goals kept coming. Moraine Valley had four by halftime. Cecia Esquivel scored twice while Alyssa Braun, Alexis Delgado, Esmeralda Padilla, Maggie Hacker, and Aileen Zermeno each scored once. Alejandra Hernandez-Lopez, Maria Gabino, Hacker, and Braun had assists. Alexis Boyer’s job was easy at the net this game thanks to the defensive barricade.
After this game, Braun was ranked #12 in the NJCAA Division I in scoring with six goals and two assists.
September 8, 2014
Cyclones play smart to shut out Trojans
The Cyclones continue to play off their opponents mistakes and gel as evidenced
by a shutout of Triton College on Sept. 6. Both teams hadn’t put a loss on their
record to date.
Right from the start the Cyclones were moving the ball well and weren’t looking to force the offense. That patience paid off with a cross from Maggie Hacker to Alyssa Braun for a goal within six minutes. The duo would score again before the 15-minute mark as Hacker pressured the defense into missing a clearance of her pass to Braun, who found the back of the net again. In the 39th minute, Kristina Cypser scored off a cross from Diana Lozano, who played a nice game on the outside. Just before the half ended, Braun scored her third goal off a pass from Kenya Torres. The Cyclones were sitting comfy with a 4-0 halftime lead.
The goal for the second half was defensive minded, and the team responded to the challenge. Additional goals were unnecessary, and the Cyclones played disciplined ball to hold Triton scoreless. Denise Ruiz had a shot after receiving a cross from Esmeralda Padilla to seal the 5-0 win.
This latest victory was an all-around team effort. Alexis Boyer had eight saves at the net, and the defense of Kathleen Gribbon, Samantha Reyes, Kortnie Hanold, Xitlaly Mandujano, and Liliana Cabrera were starting to gel as a unit. Alexis Delgado and Alejandra Hernandez-Lopez turned in solid efforts in keeping Triton out of the defensive zone.
September 2, 2014
Cyclones dominate Bulldogs
The offense was on fire Aug. 30 as Moraine Valley dominated South Suburban
College in a 9-2 victory.
Before the game, the coaches stressed taking advantage of mistakes, evidenced by five unassisted Cyclone goals. Maybe due to some pre-game jitters, Moraine Valley played a little flat before freshman Maggie Hacker was fouled in the box and scored off a penalty kick. After earning that first goal, the Cyclones continued scoring in a well-balanced effort. The team gelled, especially the defense that included sophomores Kathleen Gribbon and Sam Reyes and freshmen Kortnie Hanold, Xitlaly Mandujano, Liliana Cabrera, and Alexis Boyer. Freshman Alexis Delgado had an excellent game on both sides of the ball. She owned the left side of the field and wreaked havoc, beating the outside back the whole time and crossing the ball in.
All the goals were built up well and off pressuring the ball. Freshman Alejandra Hernandez-Lopez scored off a cross from Hacker, and sophomore Alyssa Braun scored unassisted in the first half as did freshman Kristina Cypser with 14 second left on the board.
Coming off the bench both Cypser and Esmeralda Padilla scored unassisted in the second half along with Denise Ruiz, Cecia Esquivel, who had an assist from Braun, and then Braun who was assisted by Esquivel.
Boyer played well in the goal distributing the ball, communicating with the defense and saving two.
August 22, 2014
Cyclones looking to break through in 2014
In his 10 years managing Cyclones’ women’s soccer, Jim Knawa has not had the
high number of athletes come out for the team as he did this year. Not only were
the numbers good, but the quality of players and recruiting efforts have all the
makings of a successful 2014.
There’s a nice balance of athletes that can and will alternate from forward and midfield, which includes the nine returners. In addition to some walk-ons, Knawa credits his assistant coach James Kline for recruiting five top players in the off-season. Although Moraine Valley bid farewell to 2013 All-Region and All-Conference player Patricia Tuxford, who is now playing at Calumet College of St. Joseph, the three captains include returning All-Conference players Katie Gribbon (Marist) and Samantha Reyes (Marist) along with Diana Lozano (Richards). Alyssa Braun (Shepard) played for the Cyclones in 2012 and was the second leading scorer with eight goals and seven assists. She should be a big offensive contributor.
The Cyclones’ ace in the net will be newcomer Alexis Boyer (Tinley Park). She’s one of the top keepers in the south suburbs and fills a position Moraine Valley typically struggles to occupy. Kristina Cypser (Shepard), Cecia Esquivel (Eisenhower), Alexis Delgado (Reavis), Kortnie Hanold (Shepard), and Alejandra Hernandez-Lopez (Reavis) were the recruited players, most of whom will alternate with forward and midfield positions. Delgado and Maggie Hacker (Sandburg) will add some speed to the team with the offense looking to Hacker for some scoring power. Transfer student Esmeralda Padilla (Kelly/Daley College) will lend some experience at midfield and defense while Xitlaly Mandujano (Hubbard) has a good read on the ball.
There’s a lot of flexibility in this year’s squad and more balance among all positions. The players have been bonding and putting in extra workouts at the new Health, Fitness & Recreation Center, all of which should pay dividends this year, Knawa said.
“If we can put some goals in and work the ball in the middle of the field, then we’ll do good things,” Knawa said. “We have our usual tough competition from Lake County and Waubonsee, but I definitely hope to improve from last year (6-7-1 record).”
July 6, 2014
Cyclones sign fifth recruit
The Cyclones wrapped up signing players in the off-season by acquiring
Eisenhower grad Cecia Esquivel.
For four years, Esquivel was a strong contributor to her team. “Cecia was an outstanding forward. She was a four-year varsity player and was very committed to the team,” said her Eisenhower coach Beth Smolenski. “She always showed up ready to work, willing to try new ideas and made those clutch game plays when needed.”
This quick forward has versatility that will be a bonus to a skilled Moraine Valley squad.
“Cecia wraps up a very talented recruiting class this year. We had some concerns about entering the recruiting game late this year, but ended up landing five solid recruits,” said assistant coach James Kline. “Cecia was the icing on the cake. She brings experience, a love of the game and more dynamic speed to our team. Last year we struggled with numbers while having a full roster of talented girls. Depending on how Cecia handles the transition from high school to college, she allows us to either insert her in the starting lineup or bring her off the bench as a reserve without dropping our level of play. I’m excited that she chose Moraine Valley for the next two years, and we hope she scores a lot of goals for us.”
June 20, 2014
Shepard players sign with Moraine Valley
The Cyclones added two more athletes to their squad by signing
forward/midfielder Kortnie Hanold (left) and forward Kristina Cypser from
Shepard High School.
Kristina has the motor wanted in every player. “In the games I saw her play, she never stopped running. She put the other teams under pressure from her hustling. Not only is it great to have a player with that motor, but I also can see it rubbing off and pushing the rest of the team to try to match her effort. We are very excited to have her playing with us and not against her,” said assistant coach James Kline.
Kortnie has a very physical style of play and is a player whose work ethic is second to none. “Kortnie is another talented player we’ve added to an already very talented recruiting class. I’m excited to see what she brings to the program,” Kline said. “We’ve added some size with Kristina and Kortnie, which will make us more dangerous offensively on free kicks and corners. Neither girl shies away from trying to get their head on the ball for a goal which is always a great thing to see.”
May 29, 2014
Two Reavis players sign with the Cyclones
The Cyclones signed two players this week from Reavis High School—Alexis Delgado (midfield) and Alejandra Hernandez (center-mid)—who will join the Moraine Valley family this fall.
Delgado (pictured on left) was a two-year varsity starter at Reavis. She has dynamic speed, great first touch, is left-foot dominate, and is focused and determined not only in games, but practice as well. “Getting a player with Alexis’ talent is huge for our soccer program. Her style of play is very exciting to watch,” said assistant coach James Kline. “Her understanding of the game makes her a very difficult matchup for other teams. We expect her to compete for a starting spot from day one and are excited to have her as a Cyclone for the next two years.”
Hernandez was a three-year varsity player for the Rams. She can distribute the ball well and has the skills to be dangerous to face on the field. “With her signing, we continue to add depth to our squad. Her personality is going to be great for the team. On her signing day, you could tell how excited she was to get started and put her stamp on this program,” Kline said.
The Reavis soccer program prepared the duo well. “Alejandra has a passion for the sport and looks to grow as a player. Alexis only came into the sport as a sophomore in high school, but has an instinctual understanding of the game,” said Reavis girls’ soccer coach Phil Basile. “On behalf of the Reavis soccer program, athletics and school as a whole, we wish these two the best of luck as they advance both their playing careers as well as their educational endeavors. Go Cyclones!”
May 27, 2014
Cyclone signs with Calumet College of St. Joseph
Two-year Cyclone defender Patricia Tuxford (Richards) is now part of the Crimson Wave at Calumet College of St. Joseph. She signed to play soccer and complete her education at the Indiana institution starting this fall.
While at Moraine Valley, Tuxford was an All-Conference player for two years and named to the All-Region team this past season.
“Trish was a two-year starter for me and was one of my co-captains last season. She is a very versatile player with great soccer skills. Her presence on the field motivated her teammates to play at a higher level of competition,” said head coach Jim Knawa.
While at Calumet, she intends to major in Sports and Exercise Science, but she will be missed at Moraine Valley.
"Trish was an easy choice to be the anchor of our defense. Losing her is going to be tough on the team due to her determination and leadership on the field,” said assistant coach James Kline. “Calumet signed a very talented player. I see a bright future for her athletic career and wish her the best."