Could Mahomet go 20-0?
Bulldogs coach Jeremy Davis won’t necessarily say that, but he did acknowledge that his Mahomet-Seymour girls’ soccer team is the favorite to win the Apollo Conference going into the spring season.
With nine starters returning from a team that went 10-0 last year, the Bulldogs are seeking to sweep the conference for a second straight season.
The team lost All-State and All-Midwest midfielder Nyah Biegler but returns All-Apollo and All-Sectional striker Cayla Koerner, who scored 49 goals in 18 games last season. The team also returns Brea Benson, an All-Apollo and Honorable-Mention All-Sectional selection last year.
“I see Mahomet as the favorite to win the conference again,” said Mt. Zion head coach Jonathan Moore. “They have several good players returning and seem to reload every year.”
Mt. Zion figures to reload as well. Gone from a 14-4 team are three All-Apollo players, which included leading scorer Brenna Frommelt, but the team returns three seniors that are expected to make significant contributions – midfielder Katie Olger, forward Wrigley Donahue and defender Macie Fleming.
Taylorville coach Hayden Eldred and Lincoln’s Beth Rayman, though, give Mahomet the edge, a sentiment that is echoed by Mattoon coach Ryan Ghere.
“The favorite has to be Mahomet until someone beats them,” said Ghere. “They have been very good for several years. This year will be no different. I think we have a group of girls that can compete with them, though.”
Mattoon graduated four seniors from last year’s 14-5 team that went 7-3 in the Apollo but returns two players who accounted for 82 of the team’s 105 goals last season.
Faith Niebrugge, an All-Apollo first team and IHSSCA All-Sectional striker headed to Parkland College, scored 43 goals and added 14 assists last season. She is the school’s all-time leading scorer. Lily Ghere, who scored 39 goals and added 27 assists, was a first-team All-Apollo selection and made the IHSSCA All-State Team.
Mattoon and Mt. Zion tied for second place with a 7-3 record. After these two teams, the conference dropped off.
Taylorville finished fourth with a 3-7 record and finished the year 5-11. The team lost first-team All-Apollo scorer Karla Collado, who finished her career as the schools all-time leading scorer, as well as starting goalkeeper and Apollo second-team selection Rozella Colbrook.
“We have a couple of returning letter winners, but most will be fresh and inexperienced,” said Eldred.
Charleston and Lincoln tied for last in the conference with 1-8-1 records. Both schools feature new coaches. Charleston will be led by former all-sectional standout Ali Carlson, while Lincoln is led by Beth Rayman. Sophomore Ella Garrett led CHS in scoring as a freshman with 14 goals, but the team lost Parkland commit Mallie Hanner to graduation. Lincoln returns All-Apollo second team members Hattie Mourning and Jenna Bowman.