Player of the Year: Lauren Koehl keyed St. Charles North’s run
By Steve Nemeth For Sun-Times Media June 12, 2012 5:44PM
St. Charles North's Lauren Koehl is The Courier-News Player of the Year. | Jon Cunningham ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 14, 2012 6:35AM
After a season-opening 2-1 setback, St. Charles North rebounded with four straight wins during which Lauren Koehl chalked up six goals and two assists.
More notably, before Naperville North avoided a shootout by scoring 42 seconds prior to the end of a fourth overtime to decide the state’s 3A championship, the North Stars reached that finale with seven straight triumphs that included a goal or an assist in all but one of those victories.
That kind of productivity made Koehl the obvious choice for The Courier-News Player of the Year.
“There’s no question she deserves that honor. Anyone who saw her play during the last part of the season would agree,” veteran North coach Ruth Vostal said. “She’s extremely talented, has speed, strength, and her work rate makes her great.”
Against one of the area’s toughest schedules, Koehl compiled an eye-popping 57 points based on 23 goals scored — including seven match-winners — plus a double-digit tally for assists (11) that demonstrates her field vision and ability to work with teammates.
The type of talent the North Stars had on their 19-6-2 squad also made Koehl one of three from her team to earn Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association All-Sectional status.
“Lauren may not be so vocal, but she’s a big leader by example. Everyone sees how hard she works and players know to not only look for her to get open, but that she’ll get them the ball as well,” Vostal added. “She’s simply a very coachable player, but one who also stepped up under pressure.”
While it generally takes several quality shooters and a capable goalkeeper to win a penalty kick shootout, Koehl’s was the decisive conversion in the sectional title win over Schaumburg. Then her early strike against Barrington made the difference in the supersectional squeaker. Trailing by a goal in the 3A semifinals versus Downers Grove South, Koehl tallied the equalizer before halftime in North’s 2-1 win.
“From a team standpoint, I’m so proud to have been part of a team that finished second in the state when no one believed we would,” said Koehl, an Illinois State signee. “Losing the title the way we did will always be disappointing, but it was an amazing year. Individually, scoring the only goal in a supersectional match against a quality team like Barrington is a personal highlight.
“I’ll always remember my teammates who I’ve played alongside since grade school as well as coach Vostal. I’m a little concerned and excited about playing at that (collegiate) level, but ISU came to me and the coaches and players made me feel it was the best place for me.”