Glendale is now a Class 3 program and hope to return to the Final 4 this year from a quarterfinal group that lacks a private school. Rolla will be their challenger in District 10 and the winner of the Sectional, against either Parkway West, Rockwood Summit or Union in District 9, will be in the drivers seat to claim the Final 4 berth. The Falcons finished fourth in 2012, losing to eventual champion Cor Jesu 1-0 in the semifinal and 3-1 to St. Joseph in the 3rd place match.
The Falcons will rely on four seniors who have played together since Middle school and a senior goalkeeper who transferred into the District this year. Megan Burke, who played with Opfer on the SLSG IL ECNL club team, has already made an impact in the Falcon’s four games thus far, providing good work on the end line. Opfer, the attacking midfielder, will look to Kenzie Robbins (Drury) to be the main point of attack with Dani Pearce and Olivia Wolfram anchoring the defense. Alison Hawkins, Mary Powell and Marissa Bannigan are freshman who will get plenty of minutes along with juniors Kristin Knetzer and sophomore Kate Arthur.
The Angel’s already know they have a target on their back as teams want to measure themselves against the Champions but the status quo reigns as the season opens. A full bench meant you needed a roster to keep track of the players and it’s a deep and strong group, likely ready for a deep run yet again. No freshman this year but the six who were part of the Championship run last year – Emily Burton, Grace Dressel, Hannah Gruensfelder, Gabby Lawlor, Mallory Stock and Megan Sullivan – are joined this year by Ellen Donlin who moves up to the Varsity as a sophomore. Ellen looks like a strong addition with pace and technical skills that will be used at outside back.
Other newcomers include juniors Sydney Rogers, a defensive midfielder; Tess Aiello at forward, Clare McGrath at center back and Ashley Lewman at right midfield.
Taking a guess at the likely lineup we’ll see in May, after Coach Maureen McVey has given her entire bench the opportunity for minutes to learn their roles as well as make a claim for minutes, here’s what I would expect
Forward – Mallory Stock, Emily Burton (both sophomores)
Midfielders – Courtney Benning, Carly Wickenheiser, Gabby Lawlor (a pair of seniors and a sophomore)
Defensive midfielders – Kelly McLaughlin (sr) and Hannah Gruensfelder (so)
Defenders – Molly Olwig, Anna Martin and Megan Sullivan (a pair of seniors and a sophomore)
Goalie – Kelsey Ponder
Another note for observers – this is Carly Wickenheiser’s team, much like it was Alli Magalletta’s last year. Keep your eye on #14.
A nice combination of seniors and sophomores essentially, a nod to the strength of the class of 2017 that I’ll be exploring across the Metro area in the coming months.
The Angels play Monday at Visitations while hosting Helias on Wednesday. Next week features Eureka, followed by three games Friday-Saturday April 10-11 as they host the St. Louis Classic. Check one out and tell me what you think!
PHOTO GALLERY – St. Joe host Glendale
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