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Rosary entered the season relying on its starters to play heavy minutes, a situation that didn't get easier when the Royals lost leading scorer Megan Conlin in their ninth game to a season-ending knee injury.
So it's no wonder coach Jessie Wilcox is so impressed by the play of seniors Rachel Choice and Emily Bakala, and junior Quincy Kellett, who often stay on the court all 32 minutes.
"We ask a lot of those three," Wilcox said. "They don't want to come out. They don't want to lose. It's just that hard-nosed attitude. That's the kind of leadership we need."
Her counterpart at Aurora Central Catholic, Mark Fitzgerald, has been more concerned with his team's youth. Fitzgerald only has two seniors on his team.
That has led to a bit of an up-and-down season with much promise for the future.
"The talent is there, the ability is there, sometimes the execution is lacking," Fitzgerald said. "We'll get there. This is too good of a team, too talented of athletes, to play this inconsistent. We only have two girls graduating so we have a long time to work together."
Three of a kind: The Nebraska women's soccer team won the Big Ten championship this year. The Cornhuskers graduate several key players, but next year they bring in 13 recruits -- including three from the area.
Geneva's Michaela Loebel and St. Charles East's Amanda Hilton will join South Elgin's Savanah Uveges in heading to Lincoln. Hilton and Uveges will be roommates.
Loebel and Hilton both have had their basketball seasons cut short by knee injuries. They were in street clothes Saturday when the Vikings beat the Saints 63-56 in St. Charles.
Hilton will be back for the soccer season this spring while Loebel is still hoping to return later during the basketball season.
"I went running two days ago and everything felt great," Loebel said Saturday. "I'm going to get another MRI and see from there. I'm being smart about it."
Loebel, a point guard on the basketball court and a forward in soccer, can't wait for the chance to play college soccer with Hilton, a midfielder, and Uveges, who can play defense or forward. Loebel said the three have played club soccer together with the Strikers for four or five years and also played travel basketball together.
"We never imagined we'd all play together (in college)," Loebel said.
Target on their backs: With an 8-0 record and two wins over Geneva in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division, Batavia has gone from the hunter to the hunted.
The Bulldogs sure felt like that after coming from 5 points down in the fourth quarter last Friday to beat St. Charles North 63-57.
"It was definitely one of the more physical games we've played," said Batavia senior Erin Bayram, who scored 15 points in the win.
"They have good size and they are just an intense team the whole game. I did expect that coming in because this whole year I know their coach and their team has been fired up wanting to beat us. We saw it coming the whole time. We've noticed they have been at a lot of our games scouting and stuff. We knew we're the team that has been on their radar all season."
St. Charles North will get another crack at Batavia next Thursday on its home court. The North Stars bounced back from Friday's loss to beat Larkin 67-47 on Saturday night behind 22 points from Morgan Rosencrants and 18 from Nichole Davidson.
"We gave them (Batavia) a battle against the best team in the conference," St. Charles North coach Sean Masoncup said. "We are trying to steadily grow our program. The thing with (St. Charles) East was a big win for our program and this is another great night. We can show we can play with anyone when we work hard."
Looking ahead: The postseason pairings don't come out for another week, but that hasn't stopped the anticipation of a possible third meeting between Geneva and Batavia.
With 59-51 and 75-68 wins in the regular season, Batavia ended a six-year drought against Geneva.
Of course, the last time Batavia swept the season series, Geneva got even with a regional victory.
"We can't let one player beat us and that's what happened," Vikings coach Sarah Meadows said of the second loss when Liza Fruendt scored 51 points. "The hoop was the size of a pool. Everything she shot was going in. She was shooting from the 10-foot line and it went in. That's hard.
"On a positive we played great offensively. We played them twice, we weren't very good offensively the first time, (the second time) we were awful defensively. We have to put those two together. We'll see them in regionals. Our kids are jacked for that. It's hard to beat somebody three times."
It's been over two weeks since Fruendt's record-setting night, and she still has well-wishers coming up to congratulate her.
"It was a little overwhelming at first to be honest," Fruendt said. "All this attention, I don't need this. It's good for our team and it's been fun to share it with the girls. Our team is reaching different milestones. It's just fun. We're getting near 20 wins, just another milestone."
Batavia has won 16 games this year. The Bulldogs won 8 games Fruendt's freshman year, 13 the next and 18 last year.
Getting hot: Morgan Seberger's scoring is picking the last couple weeks for Geneva.
The senior scored 18 points in the loss to Batavia and followed with 21 points with four 3-pointers at the McDonald's Shootout. On Saturday she again drained four 3s and scored 20 points in the win over St. Charles East.
"It's my senior year," Seberger said. "Going into playoffs we want everyone on our team to want success and to get us farther than we have in past years. We just want to keep working together and get everyone on the same page and help us get through February and maybe get into March."
To get into March, Meadows knows her two needs to improve at two things: 1) getting off to better starts, and 2) playing better defense.
"We're starting off games really slow," said Meadows, whose team trailed Batavia 7-0, St. Thomas More 9-0 and St. Charles East 14-6.
"We start the game and it's 0-9, 0-10 and we call a timeout and scream and they decide they want to play," Meadows said. "It's frustrating because you should be ready to go. We have to do better in that area."
Meadows also hasn't been happy with the 75 points Batavia scored, 65 by St. Thomas and 56 from the Saints.
"Offensively I haven't been disappointed," Meadows said. "It's more defensively. We're putting some points on the board. Defensively we have to get better."
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