They grabbed the W that Sunday night with only five skaters and a skater in net due to illnesses and scheduling conflicts.
“This year, again, we barely had enough players to field a team, but it looks significantly different from last year. We lost most of our AAA players, (yet) are still pulling from 11 different schools,” said Naper Valley head coach Bill Mathey. “All of the girls are close; they work well together and move the puck well.”
But, they only have 14 girls on the roster and most of them are double-rostered, so when there are conflicts, the team has a very short bench.
Still, Naper Valley is off to a 6-1-1 start with 33 goals for, 11 goals against.
New Trier leads Metro Girls with a 10-2 record (20 points), but they also have played the most games.
Loyola (8-2-1) is in second with 17 points, followed by Barrington (7-1-1, 15 points) and Fenwick (6-1-1, 13) and Naper Valley.
New Trier leads Metro Girls with 91 goals scored, while Fenwick has surrendered the fewest (7 in 8 games).
“Coming from different teams and different organizations and with all of the different levels of skill,” this team is still very close, Mathey said. “When we have all our players in attendance for the games, we are really successful and can put the puck in the net.
“But every game is a challenge and we are always worried if we will have enough players to compete. With all the challenges (these girls face), they still have bonded and learned to play through the tough games.”
Junior forward Megan McCormick (Hinsdale Central) leads Naper Valley with 9 goals, 4 assists. Senior forward Nicole Nudera has 4 goals, 6 assists.
Other key Naper Valley players are junior Maggie Korneta (Waubonsie Valley), junior center Sophie McBane (Naperville North) and goalie Ashley Ommen (Plainfield East).
Freshman defenseman Courtney Swenson (Bolingbrook) also has shined.
“We will try to go as far as (we can in) the league playoffs, but are ineligible for the state tournament,” Mathey said.
Combined girls high school teams with 6 or more schools are not permitted to participate in the State Tournament.
Mathey, 48, lives in Aurora and works as a heat and frost insulator for Local 17. He has been coaching for 12 years, 2 with Naper Valley.
He also has coached for the Sabres and has led two teams to state championships, including a 19U team last season.
On The Bench With … Naper Valley Head Coach Bill Mathey
The 2020 Stanley Cup Champion Will Be: “I’m so busy coaching two teams that I don’t have time to watch the NHL, but, go Hawks.”
All-time Favorite Chicago Blackhawks Player: Denis Savard
Hardest Slapshot on Naper Valley: Megan McCormick
Most Accurate Shot: Maggie Korneta
Fastest Skater: Megan McCormick
Best Playmaker: Sophie McBane
Player Who You Could See As a Coach One Day: Teegan Mathey
Ross Forman has written about Illinois high school hockey for more than 15 years and is the only sportswriter to have covered Illinois High School hockey every year during that stretch. He played locally and then at Indiana University before becoming a referee. Ross was a referee for the State Championship game several years ago at the United Center. Contact Ross by email at Rossco814@aol.com.