For Resurrection’s Natalie McDermott, Isabel Stefanowicz and Lauren Pogaznik, the three senior captains admit they’re tired of losing.
In 2016, the Bandits won nine games. Last spring, they only won three games
“We’ve been mostly down the past couple of years, but it’s been rebuilding little by little,” McDermott said. “We’ve been kind of in the middle. The seniors, especially the captains, all want to win our conference and get a playoff win.”
Enter new head coach Mike Wasielewski, who has deep roots in high school soccer. He is the main reason the Lane Tech girls soccer program is where it is today. During his tenure at the Chicago school, he led the Indians to four regional titles — one in Class AA and three in Class 3A — and four city championships during a six-year span from 2007-2013.
“Coach Waz is a great guy, has a lot of experience and is very motivational,” Pogaznik said. “He knows we have the potential to win and is pushing us to get there by working together as a team.
“I’ve probably never been this in shape. I feel prepared and that leads to more confidence.
“Last year, we lost a lot of games we should’ve won. We’re ahead of schedule this year, because of our attitude and work ethic.”
Stefanowicz credited Wasielewski for influencing her to play club soccer during the offseason.
“We need to play full out and be positive throughout the season,” Stefanowicz said. “It’s good we have a (new coach), because it’s our last year and we want to win. I’m really excited to have a new fresh start and push myself.”
Wasielewski, who also is the head boys basketball coach at Niles West, said there’s no secret formula to his success at Lane Tech and various basketball stops. His boys basketball background includes a head coaching jobs at Elmwood Park, Waukegan and an assistant job at Stevenson before taking over Niles West.
“The first thing (we did) was to make sure we have a very organized program,” Wasielewski said. “Then we made sure we are doing things the right way as far as committing to practice and the sport.
“From a soccer standpoint, culture along with fitness and fundamentals are important. We’re using games to work on the tactics and grow as the season progresses.”
Wasielewski noted how his captains have already formed a bond.
“The three senior captains have bought in the most,” Wasielewski said. “Those three have bought in starting last summer by doing extra work outside summer camp.
“They worked a lot on their free kicks during club soccer. They’ve really bought into everything and have had such a positive attitude leading us.”
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