Wheeler goalkeeper Kadie Spoor stepped right into the net at the start of the season, and the freshman has helped put the Bearcats in position to win their first regional championship.
“She’s fearless,” Wheeler coach Bryan Murray said. “She’s absolutely fearless in the box. She an instinctive, smart player who picks up things from one game to the next.”
Spoor allowed just one goal in three sectional games to help the Bearcats to their second-straight sectional championship. Wheeler (16-1-2) hosts Boone Grove (13-4) at noon in Saturday’s Class A Regional Championship.
“It was a pretty awesome feeling to hold the sectional plaque,” Spoor said. “It’s amazing to win it as a freshman.”
Spoor, who has 10 shutouts to her credit this season and has allowed just 12 goals all year, gave Murray the ability to focus on other areas of the team during summer practices because he knew the keeper position was in good hands.
“We worked on field because we knew we had some skill coming in the net,” he said. “I have not coached a better freshman. She’s a special player. She will be one of the best keepers in the area if she keeps working.”
Starting immediately as a freshman was not a problem for her because of how quickly the rest of the Bearcats accepted her and made her feel like a part of the team.
“They were really accepting,” she said of her teammates. “We are like a family. It was really easy bonding with the girls.”
Murray said Spoor’s teammates have tremendous confidence that she will get the job done.
“She was in a situation where there would be growing pains, but there have not been many,” he said. “The girls know she’s going to make plays. There’s no worry that she won’t direct her wall or come off the line at the right times.”
Spoor credits her teammates in the back — Marissa Sosa, Madalynn Crowder, Emily Jackson and Christie Hansen — for helping her have such a solid season.
“You have your own spot to fill and you have to be strong in your spot,” she said.
Murray noted that Spoor responded after the team’s only loss of the season to Griffith, including helping the team to a 1-1 tie against Kankakee Valley.
“She has taken command of the box and taken the defense on her shoulders,” he said. “She has been vocal the last few weeks and taken a leadership role in the back.”
Spoor said she and her teammates relish the chance to win Wheeler’s first regional title. Wheeler beat Boone Grove 5-0 on Sept. 21.
“I’m extremely pumped and nervous and excited for the game,” she said. “Boone Grove’s a good team. If we play like we can play, we can win. We want to make history and win the first regional.”