Girls Soccer Defeated at PepsiCo Showdown


Vinnie Bellissimo

The girls varsity soccer team lines up for the National Anthem before their game.

By Michael McKay, Sports Editor

The varsity girls’ soccer team has taken part in the PepsiCo Showdown, one of the largest high school soccer tournaments in the nation for the past two Saturdays. 49 teams were present, playing at Olympic Park in Schaumburg.

Over the course of the tournament, the girls played a total of four games. They were placed in a very difficult bracket, which included the #2 seed Libertyville High School, #4 seed Wauconda High School, #10 seed Deerfield High School, and #45 seed Marist High School. The Niles West girls were ranked #44, so their bracket was one of the toughest at the tournament.

Unfortunately for the girls, they came out of the tournament win-less; however, head coach Milutin Cejovic believes the girls played very well despite the fact that they lost.

“It didn’t make sense for us to play in that kind of bracket,” Cejovic said. “But it was a good tournament with some tough competition. It’s good to play teams that you normally wouldn’t play. The girls never stopped playing their hardest.”

Cejovic believes that the losses are valuable teaching moments for the team, and could better prepare and motivate the girls later on in the season.

“It definitely sucks when you lose, but you learn when you lose. You have to be able to push through adversity,” Cejovic said. “The girls kept playing, and they always said no to giving up. The losses give the girls some bite to want to start winning again.”

Perhaps the girls’ best game of the tournament was against Marist, where they lost the game in penalty kicks.

“We had a lot of confidence and intensity throughout the game, and we were very excited when we were leading by a goal nearing the end of the game,” senior Halle Laude said. “But we ended up losing the game in penalty kicks.”

Regardless of the losses, the girls are still high spirited and are hoping to continue their season on a more positive note and compete in the playoffs.

“Seeing their final goal to tie the game in the final minutes took the wind away from us,” junior Jacey Trufin said. “Especially since we already had a few players out, and then Halle got a yellow card, so it was hard to close out the game without having those players. The penalty kicks were difficult.”

Their next game is scheduled at home on Thurs., April 18, at 5:00 P.M., as it will be the start of the Niles West Tournament, carrying into Sat., April 20.