A defender with an offensive mindset

By Bob Narang

DUNDEE, Ill. – Dundee-Crown’s Rylee Quillen had already established herself among the top offensive players in the Fox Valley Conference before the start of her junior season in 2019.

But in order to help the Chargers, Quillen switched from forward to defender last spring. Instead of attempting to score a ton of goals, Quillen’s main responsibilities switched to limiting opposing offensive stars as much as she could.

“It was definitely different switching positions,” Quillen said. “I’m used to playing all the positions, but my club coach really helped me get into defense.

“I had to step up for Dundee-Crown to help our defense. I’m actually trying to play as a defender in college, so this will help. Your whole mentality changes, because you can’t really make a mistake. I’m excited to do something new, especially at this point of my career.”

Dundee-Crown first-year coach Payton Berg said Quillen possesses an abundance of experience. The Chargers won a combined 17 games in Quillen’s first two seasons on the varsity and posted a 9-9-1 mark under former coach Sebastian Falinski (retired) last season.

“Rylee is the type of individual who works very hard and places the team first,” Berg said. “A perfect example of that is when Rylee agreed to switch positions during the middle of last season, because that’s what the team needed.

“She’s now at a position that allows her to continue to showcase her offensive comfort by allowing us to build from the back through her. Rylee’s ability to pick out her teammates’ runs with her services from the back provide another attacking element for us as well.”

Quillen said she’s watched numerous teammates go through the ups and downs in their senior seasons over the past three years. She’s hoping, however, that her final high school campaign ends on a high note.

“I’m excited for this year, because I’ve watched so many other girls come to this point of their careers,” Quillen said. “With us playing in the PepsiCo Showdown is also getting me more excited, because it makes the season even better.”

Bio On The Reporter: Bob Narang has been covering prep recruiting and sports for the past 25 years. His work also appears in the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald, Athlon Sports and the Daily Chronicle.