By Bob Narang

When it comes to the fresh start of a new season, Streamwood seniors Alex Bonilla and Michaela Gunderson are both excited and ready to hit the pitch this spring.

The Sabres have plenty of individual and team goals coming off a disappointing 5-11 overall finish in 2017.

For Bonilla, she’s just happy to be back on the field after sitting out all of last season with an injured ankle.

“I didn’t play at all last year,” Bonilla said. “It was really hard, and I was pretty sad all spring.

“I’m really excited to play and willing to do anything for the team since I missed out in 2017. I’m hoping to have a big year, and hopefully the team will do well.”

Gundersen, a midfielder, is among the six returning starters. The three-year varsity player is aiming for a memorable final high school season.

“Last year, we focused on our defense, so hopefully we can strength our midfield and get a few more shots on goal and win some games,” said Gunderson, who will play at Benedictine University in the fall. “Since the fall, I’ve been in the gym every morning at 6 a.m. for an hour.

“The workouts have been pretty intense. It’s definitely helped me a lot, giving me a goal and something to work for.”

Junior defender Brianna Yi gained a unique perspective during the offseason that she hopes will help her game. Besides playing for her club team in the fall, she also coached her younger brother’s indoor team.

“It was different, because I got to see the game from a different perspective and learn to see the game the way a coach would,” Yi said.

Juniors Paulette Carranza and Melanie Ramirez also are core pieces for the Sabres the next two months. 

Despite the tough 2017 campaign, Ramirez believes the experience will help the team grow.

“I learned a lot last year, even though our record wasn’t very good,” Ramirez said. “This year, we have to stay together and motivate each other. We know we’re better than that.”

Streamwood coach Kristin Duffy also knows the intangibles will help the program break new ground.

“The key to this season is to create a team bond and chemistry that will help the program in the long run,” Duffy said.

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