The Riverside-Brookfield girls soccer team finished with a 10-10 record last season including a 5-5 mark in the Metro Suburban Conference. Although the break-even record obviously suggests the epitome of mediocrity, the numbers lie regarding the Bulldogs’ measured improvement under fifth-year varsity head coach Marisa Dobbertin.
Riverside-Brookfield defeated Chicago Washington 4-1 for its first-ever regional championship last season. That landmark victory came fresh off an 11-6-1 campaign in 2009, the best overall record in the girls soccer program’s seven-year history.
The Bulldogs lost a solid senior class to graduation, notably goalkeeper Anita Balciunas, midfielders Anna Tess, Kaitlyn Vranek, Emily Chapman, along with defenders Andrea Leibrandt and Kristy Frampton. Fortunately, 10 varsity players return along with an influx of 13 newcomers.
“We lost several great players last year,” Dobbertin said. “Our returning players are a very talented bunch. We feel that although more than half the team consists of new players, we will have a very deep bench.”
Junior midfielder/defender Katy Linhart returns as a three-year varsity player along with junior forward Bridget Brewer, the Bulldogs’ leading goal scorer last season. After suffering an ACL tear last season, senior forward Karen Lopez also returns to add offensive punch for RB. Brittany Janney, a junior midfielder/defender, has great speed and plays with tremendous intensity. Alleigh VandeMerkt is another multiple position junior, while Elena Duve is the listed starting goalkeeper for RB.
Danielle Sanchez, Brittany Kozlowski, Eva Perez, Emily Waas, Carmen Shelbrack, Salem Baer, Hannah Claywell, Rachel Corcoran, Justine Esposito, Colleen Cody, Nina Waszak, Haley St. Paul, Lia Sanhez, Jordan Krikie, Madison Powers, Samantha Friend and Caroline Waas round out the varsity roster.
“Our hopes are to win a conference title, another regional championship, and [hopefully] our first sectional game this season,” Dobbertin said. “The girls are motivated and ready for a good season.”
Riverside-Brookfield will battle Illiana Christian, the Metro Suburban Conference defending conference champion, along with Elmwood Park, Fenton, Ridgewood, Timothy Christian and conference newcomer Glenbard South.
“Illiana Christian has great talent and toughness,” Dobbertin said. “Last year, several teams were one game away from sharing the [conference] title. It’s a fun conference because every game is a tough, hard-fought match between two talented teams.”
Along with 12 conference games, RB will play five nonconference matches highlighted by an encounter with Morton.