Change doesn’t bother Lyons’ Kowalski
Chicago 3/19/11 Lyons' Ari Kowalski (2) kicks the ball past Saint Ignatius' Caroline Coughlan (4) at Saturday's varsity game at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago. Allison Williams~for Sun-Times Media
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Katie Camden Hinsdale Central
The team’s top defender made the adjustment last season after playing midfield previously. The senior helped lead a defense that did not allow a goal until the sectional final. “Her composure in 1-v-1 situations and ability to quickly cover ground will make us sound in the back,” Devils coach Michael Smith said.
Gabrielle Foster St. Joseph
Foster, the Chargers’ top scorer last season, leads a rebuilding process after St. Joseph lost eight seniors to graduation.
Ruby Gonzalez Oak Park-River Forest
Gonzalez (11 goals) is among five starting juniors returning for the Huskies (11-9-2, 4-2) in coach Ignacio Ponce’s second year. “We’re looking to her for some scoring damage this year up top,” Ponce said.
Bridget Hillsman Fenwick
The senior Providence-signee is one of the top returning midfielders for the Friars (10-9-1, 5-4), who finished fourth in the East Suburban Catholic.
Casey May Hinsdale Central
As the Devils’ scoring leader last season, the senior forward guided Hinsdale to a pair of upsets in the playoffs over Lyons and Morton before losing to Downers South in the sectional final.
Gianna Milaro Nazareth
The Purdue recruit was named East Suburban Catholic player of the year while steering the Roadrunners to a conference title, its first in a girls sport. Milaro has 56 goals and 34 assists during her three-year career.
The senior goalkeeper is one of four key seniors returning for the Hornets (7-13-2, 4-2), who lost only one senior to graduation.
Abbie Pasquinelli Lyons
The senior and junior Emily Lange both are converting from midfield to forward and will be counted on to score. “She will be instrumental in our attack,” Lanspeary said.
Cali Pyzdrowski Fenwick
The Marquette-bound senior midfielder is expected to give the Friars some scoring punch after losing in the regional final last season.
Lauren Wilkes Oak Park-River Forest
The junior was used as a midfielder last season, but could see action as a forward. “She’s one of those silent players that rarely get a lot of recognition,” Ponce said.
Updated: April 15, 2013 10:12AM
Now that Ari Kowalski has signed with Indiana, the all-State Lyons senior is preparing to make another major change in her life.
The defender from last year’s West Suburban Silver champion is getting ready to switch positions.
“We may move her to midfield and become a playmaker this year,” Lyons coach Bill Lanspeary said.
Kowalski, a Western Springs resident, has some experience in the midfield with her Sockers FC club. That’s where she may wind up again when the Lions open the season at 5:30 p.m. Thursday against Waubonsie Valley at South campus in Western Springs.
Kowalski is the top returning player in the conference and was selected one of the top 12 players at showcases in Arizona and Florida in the offseason. She was invited for a weekend in Michigan during the summer to participate in a player development program through the Sockers.
“There were 20 girls from my age group and we all trained together,” Kowalski said.
Recruited by Indiana as a defender, Kowalski said she is capable of playing midfield or anywhere else her coach puts her. She orally committed to Indiana more than a year ago when Mick Lyon was the coach, but he retired following the season in November. Amy Berbary was named Indiana’s new coach in February, the same week Kowalski signed.
Kowalski is not the only Division I player for Lyons (15-4-4, 6-0), which lost last spring to Hinsdale Central 2-0 in a Class 3A regional final. Junior midfielder Erin Fitzgerald recently verbally committed to Cornell.
Kowalski broke a family tradition by deciding to attend a school besides Missouri, which is where her two older siblings went.
“I loved the school (Indiana),” Kowalski said. “I love the conference. There were kids for LT that go there. I visited my junior year and it was pretty. I loved the atmosphere of the Big Ten.”
Kowalski was named a co-captain at Lyons, along with senior forward Abbie Pasquinelli. The new captains organized team training runs during the offseason.
“I’m really excited,” Kowalski said. “Our team has great chemistry. We have a lot of great players no matter what (happens).”