WHEATFIELD | In the wild, cougars tend to be loners who don't usually roam in groups.
Kankakee Valley senior defender Jen Sobierajski considers it her job as a senior leader to make sure the Kougars in Wheatfield buck that trend.
"She's a quiet leader, but a leader nonetheless," coach John Hufnagel said. "She takes herself seriously."
The current K.V. senior class has been together since elementary school and has formed a tight circle. Sobierajski said they've taken steps to extend that camaraderie to each new class.
At 5-4, Sobierajski is a bit smaller than most of the top-level players in the back end. She makes up for that deficiency with speed and tenacity, though.
"I'm very aggressive and I never back down," she said. "I'm a proactive player and I try to instigate plays, but I still know my responsibilities in the back."
Despite her tendency to extend her range, the defensive captain said she can only remember a handful of times during her career when she was unable to get back in time to catch up with the ball.
"It's a disadvantage for her to play against taller players, but she makes up for that," he said. "We've work with her on getting position and she's a phenomenal competitor who makes plays."
As a team, the Kougars (8-6-2) have been a streaky team all season, finishing with a 2-0 loss to West Lafayette. Hufnagel said he designed the schedule to become more challenging as the postseason nears.
Sobierajski said it's helping the Kougars identify how they can improve.
"Some days, we're not as mentally prepared (as we need to be)," Sobierajski said. "Against a team like Crown Point, because we know them, we think about it and prepare all day."
Still, Sobierajski is confident in his team heading into the postseason.
"I'm very comfortable with this team," she said. "As long as we keep up our intensity, I think we can beat Crown Point (in the sectional opener)."