LANSING, Ill. (May 13, 2023) – Some talented siblings and a busy coach have been a winning combination for TF United girls soccer.
Led by South Suburban Conference Player of the Year Alanis Gonzalez and sisters Karen and Berenice Zepeda, United finished the regular season with a 10-game conference winning streak.
United (12-4, 10-1 South Suburban Blue) also has won six in a row overall heading into the IHSA playoffs.
It’s the 10th seed among 17 teams in the Class 3A Shepard Sectional and opens postseason play on Wednesday against the eighth-seeded hosts in the Mother McAuley Regional semifinals.
It’s been a successful debut season for coach Aaron Zambrano, who is juggling two jobs. He’s also an assistant at South Suburban College.
“My nights and days are packed,” said Zambrano, who noted that spring is the offseason for college soccer. Still, he’s helping to run open gyms and oversee weight training for the Bulldogs among other duties.
But he jumped at the chance to take over the United program when the head coaching position opened up, and he’s glad he did.
It helps that he has plenty of familiarity with the players. Gonzalez’s older sister Amaris, who was herself named conference player of the year in 2021, now plays at South Suburban.
And United’s four all-conference seniors this year — Alanis Gonzalez, Berenice Zepeda, Katie Juarez and Zayda Gil — all are heading to South Suburban to continue their careers. Sophomore Yanetzi Alba also was named all-conference, and Zambrano was named Coach of the Year.
Alanis Gonzalez was leading the state in assists through Thursday with 28.
“It shows the high vision she has on the field,” Zambrano said of Gonzalez. “A lot of our goals are from her and Berenice connecting. She has a high soccer IQ.”
Berenice Zepeda has 20 goals and 10 assists.
“She’s been a leader on the offense,” Zambrano said. “She’s been playing since a very young age, which is very good. She’s able to see the field, recognize her opportunities.”
Berenice Zepeda has been slotted in at outside winger, with Karen Zepeda, a sophomore, playing “strictly up top,” according to Zambrano.
After a successful regular season, United has had a few days off from games to prepare for the playoffs.
“We’ve been working this whole season, just for this moment,” Zambrano said.
United fell 25-14, 25-12 to Reavis on Thursday.
The Red Wolves’ doubles team of Kailey Klausner and Breanna Lopez finished 2-2 on Friday at the IHSA state tournament in DeKalb.
Klausner and Lopez won their opener 13-21, 22-20, 21-10 against a team from Illinois Math and Science, fell 21-8, 21-9 to a team from York, defeated a Lyons duo 21-11, 21-10 and lost 21-18, 21-15 to a team from Naperville Central.
In singles, South’s Glory Ike fell 21-18, 21-17 and 21-12, 22-20 to opponents from Maine South and Naperville North respectively.
After Friday’s action, the Red Wolves were tied for 30th with 1.5 points.
The Red Wolves will have two sprint relay teams competing in the Class 3A state meet May 19-20 at Eastern Illinois’ O’Brien Field in Charleston.
The quartet of Taylor Poole, Laniya Porter, Nyrobi Moore, and Janiya Lucas finished fifth and beat the state qualifying standards in the 400 and 800 relays at Wednesday’s Thornton Sectional. They ran 49.05 in the 400 relay and 1:44.38 in the 800 relay.
Rashiyah Warfield was sixth in both hurdles for South, running 16.80 in the 100s and 51.99 in the 300s.
Other notable efforts for the Red Wolves were turned in by Earehc’ Hill (sixth, 400, 1:03.72), Yanitzia Luna (third, 3,200, 15:17.37), and the fourth-place 1,600 relay team (4:30.96).
South finished 12th among 14 teams with 18 points. Homewood-Flossmoor (136) won the title.
Rodrigo Arceo went the distance for the shutout, allowing three hits and striking out five, as the Red Wolves blanked Argo 3-0 on Thursday. Moises Mata homered for South, Calvin Stuckey was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI, and Khanion Gresham contributed a triple and an RBI.
South lost 6-4 to Evergreen Park on Wednesday, Rakim Ali and Mata each went 2-for-4 with a double. Jayden Armstrong tripled and drove in a run.
Emily Dominiak pitched six innings for rhe win and was 2-for-4 with two runs as the Red Wolves beat Washington 13-2 on Wednesday.
Also contributing offensively for South (15-13) were Christina Aguilar (2-for-3, triple, 2 runs), Rebekah Whitfield (3-for-4, 2 runs) and Abby Kleidon (3-for-4, double, 2 runs).
Ximena Valdivia qualified for the Class 3A state meet by finishing second in the 800 at Wednesday’s Thornton Sectional with a time of 2:26.63.
The Meteors finished 11th among 14 teams with 22 points. Also for North, Jadyn Goshay was fifth in the 400 (1:03.66), Isabella Schassburger (15:26.49) and Athzirit Rivera (15:57.32) finished 4-5 in the 3,200, and Jamia Pearson was third in the pole vault (2.15m, 7-0.5).
The Spartans set two program records and qualified for state in two relays and five individual events at Wednesday’s Class 2A Hillcrest Sectional.
Marian finished second in the 12-team field with 102 points, 26 behind first-place Tinley Park.
The Spartans had program records in the sprint relays. Autumn Price, Brooklyn Holmes, Bethany Peoples, and Mia Rodriguez won the 400 relay in 48.91, while Kayla Robinson, McKenzie Mixon, Price and Peoples went 1:44.74 in the 800 relay.
Rodriguez also advanced in the 100 (second, 12.57) and 200 (first, 25.61), while Kayden Porter won the shot put (11.59m, 38-0.25), Price was second in the long jump (4.82m, 15-9.75), and Antonette Baker took second in the triple jump (10.48m, 34-4.75).
Other noteworthy efforts included Holmes (third, 100, 12.91) and Trinity Cowles (fourth, discus, 26.54m, 87-1).
Mitchel Stanton pitched a two-hitter with eight strikeouts as the Spartans beat Oak Forest 6-2 on Thursday.
Kevin Denty went 4-for-4 with a stolen base and two RBI for Marian (14-14). Jonah Weathers went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs.
The Spartans fell 8-4 to St. Patrick on Wednesday.
Denty was 2-for-3 with a double, walk, run and RBI, while Weathers went 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBI.
Marian beat Nazareth 25-23, 25-14 in East Suburban Catholic action on Thursday.
Tony Soto had 18 assists and three aces for the Spartans (22-7, 3-4 ESCC), while Brandon Painter had eight kills and Joe Staack had five kills. Seb Jaculbe added eight digs, one more than Parker Knueppel.
Spencer Bandstra struck out five and walked none over five innings, and Cody DeJong and Josh Vis completed a four-hitter as the Vikings blanked Calumet Christian 8-0 on Thursday.
Aaron Gouwens slugged a two-run double for Illiana (16-7), while Isaac VanderWoude, Matt Bultema, Kevin Corcoran Jr. and Tanner Post had two hits each.
Corcoran pitched a two-hitter with one walk and 13 strikeouts as Illiana blanked Bishop Noll 10-0 in six innings on Tuesday.
DeJong was 4-for-4 to lead the Vikings’ offense.
Illiana also beat Noll 12-1 in five innings on Monday. Gavin Meyer homered and pitched three innings for the win, while Tyler Balkema was 3-for-3.
Mikayla Derks threw a one-hitter, allowing no earned runs and striking out eight, as the Vikings beat Hobart 8-1 on Thursday.
Maya Wondaal was 2-for-3 with a walk and three RBI for Illiana (14-6). Derks, Lexi Miedema, Lydia VanderWoude, and Lauren Sherwood all contributed doubles.
Illiana lost 6-1 to Hebron on Wednesday. Cayden Peterson pitched a five-hitter for the Vikings, allowing two earned runs and no walks.
The Vikings lost 164-179 to Munster on Palmira’s back nine on Wednesday. Scoring for Illiana were Donny Woo (43), Isaac Sherwood (44), Van Corcoran (44) and Zach Davids (48).
The Vikings shut out River Forest 5-0 on Thursday. Earning straight-sets wins in singles were Ava Lindemulder (No. 1), Kate DeVries (No. 2) and Kaitlin Dykstra (No. 3), Illiana won the two doubles matches by forfeit.
Illiana shut out Griffith 5-0 on Wednesday, not dropping a single game. Winning in singles were Avery Olthof (No. 1), Lindemulder (No. 2) and Dykstra (No. 3). Kate DeVries and Abby West won at first doubles, and the Vikings won by forfeit at second doubles.
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