High School Sports Notes
April 7, 2013 7:20PM
Updated: May 9, 2013 6:23AM
T.F. co-op lost eight seniors from last season’s 17-4 squad, but the United returned a lot of young talent.
Then freshman Nicole Vega was added to the mix, bringing T.F. co-op’s offense to another level.
Vega scored four goals Saturday in an 11-3 win over Rich East to bring her season total to 34 goals in 10 games. The four was actually her low for the week. She scored seven goals in a win over Oak Lawn and five in a victory over Bremen.
“Nicole is our goal scorer, and whenever you have a goal scorer like her, you have a chance to win,” T.F. co-op coach Alejandro Lagunas said.
The United are 8-2, with losses to Willowbrook in the Windy City Ram Classic – T.F. co-op bounced back to finish fifth in the event – and Shepard, the same team that ended its season in a regional semifinal last year.
Sisters Monica and Andrea Munoz and Marian Catholic transfer Debo Akinsanya also have been key to the strong start.
“Little by little, we’re getting that confidence back from last year,” Lagunas said. “We started the season afraid of how it might be different from last year, but we’re starting to trust each other. The sky’s the limit for us.”
Girls Track and Field
Homewood-Flossmoor claimed second place by a half-point Saturday in its invitational after the Vikings finished fourth in the 1,600-meter relay to end the meet.
Although triple-jump champion Chardae Greenlee was H-F’s only winner, the Vikings had depth to score 90.5 points to finish behind team champion and relay power Rock Island (102.5).
Runner-up finishers for H-F were Jayla Stewart in the 100 hurdles, the 800 relay and Rachel Wilson in the discus.
H-F got a third place from Greenlee in the long jump and fourth-place finishes from the 3,200 relay, 400 relay and Antoinette Broughton in the 200 dash.
“There’s some areas that we’re really, really strong,’’ H-F coach Rob Assise said. “The short sprints, the hurdles, Chardae in the long and triple jumps. The state meet, obviously, is the elite athletes. I think we have a few girls who can do that.’’
Assise said H-F’s best relays are the 400 and 800 but that the longer relays look strong, too.
“We’re a little more versatile than we have been in the longer sprints,’’ he said. “Our 4-by-400 has a really good shot of qualifying for state. Our 4-by-800 qualified last year and we’ve got three girls back.’’
Not only is Stagg one of the most improved teams in the area, the Chargers are looking like a postseason threat.
After finishing 14-22 last season, Stagg sits at 8-5 with victories over Marist, St. Rita and Waubonsie Valley.
“In general, Stagg volleyball hasn’t been where I want it to be or where I want it to go,” Stagg coach Lauren Royer said. “I’ve said it before, I think this is the team to really bring a name to this program.”
The Chargers are led by outside hitters Kamil Barnas and Mike Scatena and libero Sean Runyon.
“(Runyon) has taken on a huge role as a starting junior libero,” Royer said. “Not only in terms of ability, but his leadership as a junior; the guys look up to him. I knew he would be a great threat defensively, but I’m a little surprised with his leadership.”
Barnas and Scatena form a strong 1-2 punch on the outside. Scatena returns after missing most of last season with an injury.
“When Mike’s on, he’s unstoppable,” Royer said. “It’s nice to see him and Kamil offset each other, so when we run through all six rotations, we really don’t have a weakness.”
T.F. South senior Andriana Johnson would be the No. 1 singles player at most schools in the state. Instead, Johnson sits at No. 2 singles behind Jessica Gomez (30-0), a likely contender for the state singles crown.
That suits Johnson just fine. A state qualifier in tennis, Johnson has one of the strongest mental approaches on the team.
That approach was evident when she stormed back from a six-point third-set deficit for the No. 2 singles crown at the 12-team Lockport Tournament. Trailing 17-11, Johnson closed out the match by outscoring her opponent 10-2 for the tournament title.
“I was focused,” Johnson said. “I was diving, doing splits. I just really wanted to win. That was my toughest match of the year.
“I go third games in tennis, too. If the game is close, its a mental thing. Both people have the chance to win, but you have to believe you can win. I’ve been playing tennis for a while and it definitely helps with my mental approach.”
Johnson is 29-1 on the season.