By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter
Soccer teams have to play 11 players at a time. From there, you rotate players in and try to keep people fresh.
Rockford Lutheran girls’ soccer coach Scott Lofgren only has 16 players at his disposal, but he knows when he calls on them, he can count on every single one of them.
“It’s really nice the way the girls work together to make sure everybody is contributing to the success,” he said.
Those types of contributions are a big part of why the Crusaders have wrapped up their eighth straight Big Northern West Conference title as they head into IHSA Class 1A regional play this week, which is taking place at Rockford’s Christian Life.
The streak is something Lofgren said the girls hold dear to them. He said they do not look at it as eight separate titles, but just one long defense of the first.
“It’s a continuation of the first one,” Lofgren said. “It’s something the girls started a long time ago and that they try hard to continue. You don’t want to be the class to let that go.”
That kind of success puts a big target on your back. Lofgren said each team comes out trying to give you their best shot.
Winning is something that is brought to the girls as soon as they enter the program. Four-year players like Becca Sparkman and Kayla Hicks only know winning, and a third-year player like Krista Carlson will help continue that next season.
Another third-year player knows all about winning as well. Bailey Peck has been to the state tournament in golf three straight years, and is also a part of the highly successful girls’ basketball team at Lutheran.
Peck injured her knee last season. Coming into her junior year, she was an unknown, but her coaches and teammates say she is better than ever. And Lofgren said that all her experience in the other sports only helps when they are on the field.
“Bailey has been able to take pressure and minimize it for everybody,” he said. “When she gets on the field, she gets out there and calms everybody down.”
With the conference title in tow for another year, that ramps up the pressure for the tournament. The team has the goal of making it to the state finals in Naperville, but to do so means they must be on top of their game every time out.
“We know the competition is going to be looking for us, and we have to take it one game at a time,” Lofgren said. “We have to keep putting goals in the back of the net. We can’t afford any scoring droughts.”
In other high school news:
Rockford Christian volleyball standout Peyton Munch has signed with Millikin University, where she will continue her volleyball career.
Munch was an all-confernce performer for Rockford Christian and was an integral part of their first regional championship two years ago when they upset Winnebago. She will take six years of experience to Millikin, including international experience from when she represented the United States in Amsterdam when she was 14.
From the May 9-15, 2012, issue