By sticking to the same principles and strategies he has for the last three years, Cyclone women’s head soccer Coach Al Palar is banking on that approach to yield fourth straight championships in the conference and region.
Palar, entering his fourth season at the helm, has created a winning culture within the Moraine Valley soccer program, and this season should emulate the last three, which included perfect records in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (6-0) and NJCAA Region IV (17-0).
“I still fully expect to win the conference and the region and not lose a game in both of those competitions. There should be better competition within the region, which is good. It’s always better when it’s more competitive,” Palar said. “Our team is very deep this year. Several players can come off the bench and make an impact for us on the field. We’ll have a number of standout players.”
Nine returning sophomores, who experienced the fierce competition at nationals last November, will be accompanied by 12 incoming freshmen. Returners Brooke Janeczek (Lockport Township), who was last year’s leading scorer and Region Tournament MVP, Patty Rzadkosz (Reavis), Yesenia “Yesi” Perez (Eisenhower), and Karen Montoya (Eisenhower) all will be looking to have strong seasons on the attacking side while Sylvia Kordaczka (Lockport Township) and Jen Warja (Andrew) will be strong leaders in the back.
Freshmen Jasmine Quezada (Thornton Fractional North), Anna Kois (Stagg) and Iris Cruz (Hubbard) will be huge additions offensively. On the defensive side, Lauren Pikulski (Lockport Township) and Veronika Stafira (Stagg) will immediately step into big roles. Freshman goalkeeper Maribel Carmona (Reavis) will carry the weight of clearing the net.
This new combination of players and tried and true methods all aim to get the Cyclones where they need to be once again—at the top.
“I am still sticking to my principles that have won the program three straight conference and region championships—creating a competitive and winning culture within the team, keeping it simple and making sure we are always enjoying what we are doing,” Palar explained. “I’m excited to start the season and can’t wait for our first game.”
For the second year, Luis Navarrete joins Palar on the sidelines as assistant coach along with newcomer Cristina Monarrez. The team’s home opener is Saturday, Aug. 25 at noon against Kishwaukee College.