The Plainfield North Lady Tigers are off and running in defense of their Southwest Prairie Conference after having found the back of their opposition's net a staggering 40 times already while only ceding 5. Then again, this was the team who was expected to go far this season after taking a negligible hit so far as graduating Seniors go - the 2012 Squad is nearly intact from last season. And that Team Chemistry is a huge advantage.
Still, the Lady Tigers shouldn't let themselves get ahead of themselves. They must take their conference foes seriously as any one of them can pull off an upset if they are not careful. Plainfield East, for instance, is a much improved team and have already compiled a 7-3-0 (2-1-0 SPC) record and are just cocky enough to challenge their district rivals, North 6-1-1 (3-0-0 SPC).
Of course, it just doesn't end with the Plainfield East Bengals challenging because another district rival, the Plainfield South Cougars 4-2-0 (1-0-0 SPC) will surely have something to prove to both the Bengals and Tigers when they meet them for back-to-back matches April 26th and May 1st respectively. The Oswego lady Panthers, were expected to challenge before the season began and may still do so, even though they have come out of the gate 2-4-0 (1-1-0 SPC) and have already lost to Plainfield East. Plainfield South meets Oswego on Thursday and this is an important match for both squads if they are to compete for the conference crown. And let's not forget about the Plainfield Central Wildcats (3-2-0, 1-1-0 SPC) either, although they did get spanked 4-0 by North's Lady Tigers already. Still, if Plainfield East or South can tame Plainfield North, then conference will be up for grabs.
Every conference game is crucial and the contenders must remain focused and deal with the inevitable bumps and bruises while trying to avoid serious injuries to their starters. The Southwest Prairie Conference is getting better each and every season, but their are a number of squads that are not particularly deep and that could prevent some from competing this season. Still, I would not overlook any team because on any given day each are capable of pulling off the upset.
Nevertheless the Plainfield North Lady Tigers have earned the right to be called the team to beat and I suspect may go very, very deep in the IHSA State Playoffs this season. Yes! They are that good. But I must admit that I am a fan of the underdog and don't particularly like runaway championships. Hopefully the SPC will have multiple teams peaking at the right time and steal some of the thunder from other area conferences that have dominated the sport for as long as they have.
As for the SPC as a whole, there are many, many good players and picking an All-Star Team would be difficult at best, but if I were to ever entertain coaching these are some of the players that would make me successful right from the get go:
Jillian Hetfleisch, AnnMarie Bachmann, Brittni Viehman
Hunter Coppes, Trisha Carr, Nikki Anderson
Miranda Lambert, Brittany Brewer, Carli Schlaker
Britney Lenza, Brigid Hanley, Paige Fuller
Erica Lopez, Karissa Hahn, Briana Meeks
Callie ODonnell, Kelsey Gill, Ashley Handwork, Heather Handwork
Alex Truhlar, Abby Banks, Ashley Boros, Lexus Rose, Taylor Schwebke
Uzo Okeke Ewo, Paulina Mucha, Lisa Engelsman
As always though, I wish the best to all of our conference teams and players, especially when the State Playoffs begin.
Good Luck and Play Safe!
SPC STANDINGS THRU APR 03, 2012