When it comes to winning, Riverside Brookfield girls soccer coach Marisa Dobbertin knows all about that.
During her high school playing days, Dobbertin and her twin sister, Marcy, played big roles helping Sandburg grow into a soccer powerhouse in the mid 1990s.
After Lincoln-Way had dominated the South Suburban soccer scene for years, the Dobbertins helped the Eagles get past the Knights and advance to the state finals in 1996 and 1997. Sandburg finished second in the state in 1996 before suffering a heartbreaking quarterfinal loss to New Trier in 1997.
Dobbertin finished her senior season in 1997 as the team’s third leading scorer, helping the Eagles go unbeaten in 23 of their 27 games that spring. Current Riverside Brookfield supt. Jack Baldermann was the principal at Sandburg during Dobbertin’s playing days.
And now, Dobbertin is hoping to put the Bulldogs on the winning path.
“This season is off to a great start,” said Dobbertin, who played alongside former All-America and Northwestern star Katie Hertz in high school. “The players are pushing themselves and each other to meet our goals.
“Our main goal is to win conference for the first time. Half of our players are new to varsity this year. Some may say we have a young team, but they show great promise and are very driven by the great leaders we have on the team.”
The Bulldogs are led by five key returnees-senior midfielder Ellie Bergstrom, senior forward Gaby Galindo, junior forward Yuritzi Chavez, junior defender Kelli Beimal and sophomore goalie Anita Balciunas.
But for Riverside Brookfield to improve on its 9-8 overall record from a year ago, newcomers Andrea Leibrandt (defender), Giulia Bova (midfielder), Karen Lopez (midfielder) and Anna Tess (midfielder) will have to rise to the occasion.
“Although a handful of starters graduated last year, we’re already seeing many players stepping up their game to fill their void,” Dobbertin said. “If we can improve our possession skills and speed of play, we anticipate a winning season.”
Dobbertin also is hoping her squad can make a run at the Metro Suburban Conference crown this season. A year ago, Riverside Brookfield posted a 6-3 record and finished second.
“Our biggest conference competition is Fenton,” Dobbertin said. “They took the conference title last year. We lost three 1-0 games to them last year.”