Girls Soccer: Sophomore Hannon already showcasing scoring talent
Maine South's goalkeeper Emily O' Grady ,10 cheers on her team during their match Thursday night against Riverside-Brookfield. | Adam Alexander~For Sun Times Media
Updated: July 2, 2012 9:16AM
Leslie Hannon came into the state playoffs with one goal.
Like so many other Maine South players this season, the sophomore is providing a preview of the future while playing in the present.
Hannon scored in the team’s 7-0 win over Taft in the regional semifinal at Maine South and then headed in the first goal in the Hawks’ 3-2 overtime victory over St. Ignatius in the championship match. It was the program’s sixth regional title in a row.
Seniors accounted for only two of Maine South’s nine goals in the regionals.
“We have a lot of young girls who have played minutes,” said Maine South coach J.J. Crawford, who carried only five seniors on the roster this spring. “We will have some positive momentum heading into next season.”
Emily O’Grady, Lexi Kiotis and Jessica Schmidt are three other sophomores who have contributed major minutes on the field this season.
Crawford said O’Grady is one of the top keeper talents he’s coached.
“She works really hard at her craft,” he said. “One of the best one-on-one goalies I’ve seen. She can shut a player down. I’ve coached two all-staters before, and she should be in that conversation, if she keeps progressing.”
Kiotis and Schmidt are two midfielders to watch the next two seasons. Schmidt’s season was cut short after she tore her MCL.
“Injuries are never lucky, but at least it wasn’t an ACL,” Crawford said. “She should be ready late summer or early fall. There won’t be any surgery. As far as knee injuries go, she got a good break.”
Meanwhile, Kiotis, in her second season on varsity, is one of the most dynamic players, as well as one of the most positive.
“She’s able to open things up for us on the outside,” Crawford said. “Her and Jess together help our team speed. It’s nice to have someone like Lexi who has that ability to attack out of the midfield.
“She can run and run and run.”
After slipping past St. Ignatius in a game Crawford called “one of the top-10 most exciting games I’ve been part of,” the Hawks were scheduled to play top-seeded and top-ranked Loyola on Tuesday at the Niles North Sectional. The winner advances to Friday’s regional final.
Maine South lost to the Ramblers 2-0 on May 7.
“Clearly, they are the better team,” Crawford said. “But we have a shot. We will take our puncher’s chance and see what happens.”