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This season's Fenwick girls soccer team has a lot to live up to, especially after last year's squad made school history.
The Friars will look to defend their first ever East Suburban Catholic Conference title, a feat they pulled off with an impressive 7-1-1 record last year. But they'll have to do it without five starters that have since graduated, including All-state selection Mia Patrevito and the program's all-time career leader in goals and points in Clare Madden. Patrevito is now playing at Illinois State University, while Madden, who tallied 51 goals and 88 points in her career at Fenwick, is playing at the University of Colorado.
It won't be easy replacing Madden's 24 goals from last season, but Fenwick head coach Robert Watson has six starters back from last year's team to help smooth the transition. Seniors Sydney Galvez-Daley (goalkeeper), Audrey Galvin (defense) and Meredith St. Clair (defense) are back as well as juniors Lizzie Cusick (defense), Maddie Stupinski (midfielder), and Molly Wallach (midfielder). Galvez-Daley recorded 10 shutouts during the regular season last year and thwarted 12 shots on goal in a 4-2 win over cross-town rival Oak Park (The two teams are not scheduled to play each other this season).
The Friars also return four players that saw significant time on the field last season. Lauren Frank (midfielder), Caroline Murphy (forward), Mimi Payne (forward) and Momo Chapa are all back in the fold and expected to make an impact from the get-go. Frank and Payne are juniors, while Murphy and Chapa are sophomores.
Juniors Bridgett Hillsman (midfielder) and Emily McGann (defense) as well as sophomore Jackie Mannion (midfielder) highlight 10 newcomers on the roster this season.
Watson said he hopes to get enough outdoor practices in before the season begins March 21 at Morton, something last year's team wasn't able to do due to consistent inclement weather.
"The girls obviously deal with tough weather on the front end of our season, and our fields aren't located on our school campus, so we face some scheduling challenges when the weather doesn't cooperate," he said. "Even with the mild weather, we have not been outside to train yet. Last year, we had one outdoor training session before our first game. We are hoping for a few more this year."
The Friars, who finished 15-8-3 overall last season and made it as far as a regional title game before falling to Hinsdale Central, host Providence on March 31 for both their home and ESCC opener (12 p.m.).