Seniors Carmen Guerrero (from left), Amanda DiForti and Reagan Peschke and junior Lena Lembcke are captains for this season’s Riverside-Brookfield girls soccer team. (BILL STONE/Contributor)

As fourth-year varsity players, seniors Amanda DiForti and Carmen Guerrero knew pre-game music was an unofficial ritual before Riverside-Brookfield High School girls soccer matches, especially home ones.

That temporarily changed last season.

“Sometimes [the speaker] works. Someone dropped it,” DiForti said.

Luckily, the speaker came to life before the Bulldogs’ April 5 home game against perennial power St. Francis. 

And so did the Bulldogs.

“Someone just started blasting music and it ended up being a dance party,” said junior Lena Lembcke.

The Bulldogs translated that energy into the highlight of this season to date — an emotional 2-0 Metro Suburban Conference victory.

RBHS (4-6-2) lost to St. Francis 5-0 in last season’s Class 2A sectional quarterfinals. DiForti and Guerrero especially remember their 7-0 regular-season defeat as freshmen.

“When we beat them, Carmen and I looked at each other and we were like, ‘We did it. We did it!’” DiForti said. “And we both started tearing up. It was a very big moment for us.” 

“The way we played together and as a team was just amazing. I’ll never forget that last second and everyone running on the field and being so happy,” Guerrero said. “We had our fans in the stands. It was so loud and so great. One hundred percent the greatest victory in the four years I’ve been here.” 

The Bulldogs’ four captains — second-year captains DiForti and Guerrero, senior Reagan Peschke and Lembcke — hope this sets the tone for more great memories. 

DiForti, Guerrero and Lembcke have been varsity starters since they were freshmen. Peschke joined the varsity halfway through her freshman year.

“[I like] the camaraderie that we all have. A lot of us have known each other for many, many years and we’ve just built this incredible relationship,” Peschke said. 

“I hope I’ve helped show that the soccer team at RBHS is a group of really great girls and added to the bonding we all share.”

Guerrero (offensive midfield), DiForti (defensive midfield) and defender Lembcke have been keys in the center of the field. At 5-foot-10, Peschke has found goalie to be a perfect fit.

“I think that being tall gives you a greater range in goal, and I think I’m perhaps a little intimidating,” she said.

As a captain, Guerrero likes to organize events, such as breakfasts after Saturday morning practices or bowling to celebrate coach Ivek Halic’s birthday. 

There are postgame meals at Irish Times Pub & Restaurant, where DiForti works. DiForti also encourages group breathing exercises and gravity stretches, which can become humorous.

“Especially the younger girls, the freshmen — I’ve tried to take them under my wing, talk to them and feel welcome on our team,” Guerrero said.

Leading scorers are junior Natalie Rubi (4 goals) and junior Nina Bretz and sophomores Hazel Hall and Niamh Larson (3 goals each).

Against St. Francis, Bretz and Rubi scored with assists from DiForti and Bretz. Peschke (15 saves) and defenders Lembcke, junior Jessica Sharenow, sophomore Cassidy Erb and freshman Lucy Drenth achieved another of the team’s six shutouts.

“It was definitely challenging,” Peschke said. “I’m really grateful we have strong defenders who make me feel more confident.” 

DiForti, who leads the Bulldogs with seven assists, was lost to a torn ACL and meniscus in her left knee during the 5-0 home victory over Elmwood Park April 12. She will undergo surgery May 3. 

“One of my biggest things as a captain was just being prepped [together] for the game mentally. I’m going to be there for my team as best as I can,” DiForti said. 

The Bulldogs are 2-0-1 in their last three games, also beating Marian Catholic 6-0 April 10. 

They hope to continue the momentum. 

And they plan to continue the pre-game dance parties.

“Those have really stuck with me because I feel we’re hyped up and we come out all ready to play,” Lembcke said. “That’s a core memory of mine with my team.”