Lemont’s Jerantowski is 2013 Chicago Fire/SouthtownStar Girls Soccer Player of the Year
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media June 14, 2013 8:24PM
Lemont's Kim Jerantowski kicks the ball to save it from running out of bounds. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 17, 2013 6:59AM
Kim Jerantowski has made a habit out of making defenders look silly, using her dribbling skills to amaze fans with a wide array of crossover moves.
There’s nothing she enjoys more.
“I just love beating people,” she said. “Dribbling past people is just a lot of fun. My biggest strength is probably dribbling.”
Jerantowski, a junior midfielder who’s committed to Northwestern, finished with 21 goals and 17 assists and led a young Lemont squad to a fourth-place finish in Class 2A.
Her strong all-around play and leadership abilities helped her earn the title of 2013 Chicago Fire/SouthtownStar Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
“I’m really grateful to get this honor,” Jerantowski said. “I can’t believe it. It just shows that all my hard work paid off.”
Jerantowski knows plenty about hard work. Watch a Lemont game and it’s a rare moment when Jerantowski is not sprinting. It’s also rare that she’s not near the ball, no matter where it is on the field.
“Having a player with such a great work rate and a player as competitive as Kim was so vital for our team,” Lemont coach Rick Prangen said. “She carried us all year.
“In my 20 years of coaching, she’s the best player that I’ve ever had.”
Jerantowski, a standout since her freshman year, has scored 64 career goals. This year, she showed how big of an impact she can have even without scoring.
Case in point: the Indians’ 3-1 win over Normal West in the supersectional.
Jerantowski set up both second-half goals for Lemont, beating two defenders down the end line to set up Maddie Bermele with a brilliant assist and perfectly placing a corner kick that Reilley Sullivan headed home to seal the Indians’ trip to state.
“Passing was definitely one of the things I wanted to improve going into this year,” Jerantowski said. “I was also really focused on just being a leader on the field. That was my main goal. I wanted to be that one player that kind of brings the team together.”
She helped bring together a team that had four freshmen and three sophomores in prominent roles. After the 2012 season ended with a stunning loss to Providence in a regional final, the Indians made it back to state for the second time in three years. They had a third-place finish in 2011.
“We definitely exceeded expectations,” Jerantowski said. “This was the most rewarding season of them all. From Day 1 to our last game, we improved drastically.”
Jerantowski credits her competitive nature for her success.
“The main thing is I’m very competitive,” she said. “I just don’t want to ever let my teammates down.”
With her college plans in place, Jerantowski is excited about her future.
“Northwestern saw me last September and contacted me and we stayed connected,” she said. “I visited and really liked it. I like the Big Ten atmosphere and it’s great academically, too. It’s a good fit.”
First, though, she’ll attempt to win her third state medal next season, and she wants the big one this time.
“Next year, I want to win state,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to improving for next season. I just have to work hard.”
Working hard has never been a problem.