Girls Soccer: New faces aplenty as Lady Hubs kick off season

Rochelle opens 2020 campaign at Byron Invitational

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ROCHELLE — The 2019 campaign was difficult for the Rochelle girls soccer team, but with an anchor on defense and rising talent around the field, coach Koby Stern is looking forward to seeing what the Lady Hubs can accomplish this spring.

Rochelle kicked off practices Monday afternoon, and the Lady Hubs will open their season with a weekend showing at the Byron Invitational on Saturday, March 21. The Lady Hubs are looking for players to step up and fill voids left by former starters and graduating seniors Sarah Craven, Cora Martinez and leading goal scorer Olivia Piloni.

“I’m really excited to get the season started,” Stern said. “We lost quite a few players, but we’re returning quite a few as well and we have a lot of new faces… I thought the girls built a really strong bond last season and they learned how to play with each other. I’d like to see us improve on our understanding of the game and our tactics.”

Senior and Kishwaukee College commit Viviana Belmonte will return in net as a third-year starting varsity goalkeeper. Senior Kaitlynn Ost and sophomore sister Madison Ost will command a lot of the action on defense and in the midfield as well. The Lady Hubs, now members of the Interstate 8 Conference, are seeking to improve on a 2-14-2 season in 2019.

“Having Viviana in goal is going to be huge for us,” Stern said. “Madison will be a good returning player for us, and Kaitlynn will be getting playing time as well… I’m hoping for us to have a really fast passing game this season, so I’d like to see us pass the ball really well and play with a lot of energy and pressure.”