Senior Natalie Rubi and her Riverside-Brookfield High School girls soccer teammates faced many obstacles to finish the 2022 strong and share the Metro Suburban Conference title.
The Bulldogs hope they have the upper hand this season with 16 returning varsity players and eight returning starters.
“We can see a great team forming, but going into a game we have to play every game at our best to prove we are a top team,” Rubi said.
Seniors Lena Lembcke, Jessica Sharenow, Nina Bretz and Rubi are team captains for the Bulldogs, who finished 11-10-3 overall in 2022 after a 2-6-1 start.
The Bulldogs already are 5-2 this season. They won the round-robin Glenbard South Invitational last month with three shutout victories over the host Raiders, Lake Park and Montini.
Sharenow and Lembcke (6 goals, assist in 2022) anchor the back line as veteran central defenders for new senior goalie Piper Blair.
In 2022, Stabenow received honorable mention all-sectional. Sharenow, Lembcke, Bretz (6 goals, 9 assists) and junior Hazel Hall (10 goals, 4 assists) were All-MSC honorees.
Rubi (11 goals, 3 assists), senior Sophie Swicionis (goal, assist), junior Katherine Newberry (2 goals, assist) and sophomore Lucy Drenth (goal, 2 assists) also are returning starters. Other varsity returnees are senior Monique Sandoval (4 goals), juniors Niahm Larson (7 goals, 5 assists), Madison Bisiules (goal, 7 assists), Ericka Pacheco (3 goals, 2 assists) and Cassidy Erb and sophomores Ella Caputo (2 goals, 2 assists), Isa Hernandez (goal) and Raleigh Jesswein.
So far this season, Larson has six goals and two assists, including four goals in the Glenbard South Invite victories.
Hall (3 goals, 2 assists), Rubi (3 goals, assist) and Bretz (2 goals, 3 assists) have accounted for the other goals. Swicionis (assist), Drenth and Erb have contributed at outside defender.