When a team loses both its best offensive and defensive players, people expect something of a letdown the next season.
For Kate Vendrely and the Homewood-Flossmoor girls soccer team, that letdown isn't happening so easily. The Vikings have advanced to the 3A Homewood-Flossmoor Sectional where they await a rematch with Andrew today.
"We lost our best scorer and our best defender and people didn't expect much out of us," Vendrely said. "To make it back to sectionals is a great achievement within itself. Now that we're back at sectionals, we can get our revenge on Andrew."
With the losses of 2011 standouts in Times Player of the Year Kelly Lewers on offense and Emily Johnson on defense, expectations for the Vikings were not as great as in years past. But the Vikings managed just fine, and Vendrely has filled in nicely for Johnson on defense while the team is searching for another supersectional appearance in 2012. The Vikings lost earlier in the season 1-0 to Andrew on April 5, and the Vikings and Vendrely know they left plenty of chances on the pitch that evening.
"We had a lot of shots that evening at Andrew," Vendrely said. "We missed a lot of them but this is our chance to finish them and beat Andrew and get back to playing Sandburg."
Vendrely comes from a soccer family. When asked about her off-field interest, the senior sweeper laughed and explained that soccer is her off field interest.
"It's just that my entire family is soccer," Vendrely said. "I've been playing since I was five."
Homewood-Flossmoor coach Charlie Ward moved Vendrely to sweeper this season and is happy with the results that followed.
"We moved her back to sweeper this year because we lost several key defenders from last year," Ward said. "She's been a rock back there. She's the most professional player we have on our team. She comes to practice, she comes to games, and she works her butt off the whole time."
Vendrely knows her and the defense will have to be on the top of their game if the Vikings are going to have success in the sectional.
"We need to be stronger defensively," Vendrely said. "We just need to be tighter defensively. If they can't score on us, we can't lose the game. So if we're tight defensively we should win."