Girls Soccer Preview: Groph back for another Buffalo Grove run
In this photo from May 18, 2012, Buffalo Grove's Kelli Zickert (left) holds off Fremd defender Jess Rizzo. | Joe Cyganowski~for Sun Times Media
Look out for...Lucy Edwards (Jr.), Lake Forest
The speedy midfielder tallied a rather conservative three goals and three assists last season, but she’s made big improvements and coach Ty Stuckslager has high hopes, calling her “possibly the best player in the area.”
Emily Kellow (So.), Deerfield
The Warriors return 13 players to a team that won the CSL a year ago, and Kellow might just be the best of the bunch. She registered eight goals and three assists in 2012 and forms one of the region’s top tandems with junior JoElla Guagliardo.
Molly Pfeiffer (Sr.), Barrington
Pfeiffer racked up hoards of awards during her 14-goal campaign last year, including all-MSL and all-state accolades. The veteran scoring machine will look to add some more hardware to her trophy case before heading to perennial power Marquette in the fall.
For most soccer fans, picking Argentinean superstar Lionel Messi as a favorite player would be a bit of a cliché.
For Buffalo Grove’s Skylar Groph, it’s as easy as looking in the mirror.
“I think he reflects how I feel,” Groph said. “He’s also very petite, and he’s very fast and can cut along the ball. He’s also a great team player. I’m obviously never going to have his talent, but I aspire to be as effective as is he, despite his size.”
The diminutive Groph, barely over 5-foot tall in soccer cleats, has been a part of Buffalo Grove’s success the past few years. As a sophomore last season, Groph was a key member of a team that reached a Class 3A sectional final and was arguably the top squad in the area.
The amazing thing is that Groph was playing entirely out of position.
“I asked her to play a different position to help the team,” coach Pat Dudle said. “She’s naturally a midfielder, and we had her on defense because we needed some help there. She really solidified the defense for us. She’s just the kind of player who would do anything to make the team better.”
This season, Groph will move back into attack mode at midfield. She will look to improve on a year in which she registered only one goal, as well as make a mark as one of the region’s premier scorers.
“I don’t really want to compare myself to other players from the area,” Groph said. “I just want to try to help my team this year by scoring some more goals. We all work together and help each other out. I definitely wouldn’t be such an impactful player without my teammates.”
The deep Buffalo Grove squad returns four seniors and fellow junior Kelli Zickert, who was an All-MSL selection in 2012 and the team’s top scorer. With so many major players back for 2013 and Groph sliding back into her natural position, the Bison could be looking at a deep playoff run.
“We want to take it one game at a time, of course,” Groph said. “But we just set some team goals for the year, and one of them is to win the conference title, and then just take it from there.”