Home Sports Molly Koch’s is a ‘little freaked out’ by position switch with a trophy on the line. But Libertyville won’t regret it.

Molly Koch’s is a ‘little freaked out’ by position switch with a trophy on the line. But Libertyville won’t regret it.

by staff

Libertyville junior midfielder Molly Koch was forced to play out of position early in the Class 3A third-place game on Saturday.

Star senior forward Ellie Rebmann, who has team highs of 21 goals and 17 assists, suffered an injury in the first half against Lincoln-Way East, so Koch moved to forward.


“I’m not very comfortable there, so I was little freaked out,” Koch said.

But Koch rose to the occasion. She scored the winning goal late in the second half as the Wildcats pulled out a 2-1 victory at North Central College in Naperville.


The Wildcats (18-3-2), who lost 5-0 to Barrington in the state semifinals on Friday, earned their second third-place trophy in three years.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the resiliency of this team after what happened yesterday in a game that was probably a bit more lopsided than it should have been,” Libertyville coach Daniel DePaz said. “But our focus throughout the year was ‘next play.’ We proved that today. We wanted to end on a good note. We wanted to end on a positive note. This is a fantastic group.”

Although Koch expressed discomfort with the position switch, she finished her first full season as a starter with 12 goals and 11 assists.

“Molly just stepped up in a massive way for us,” DePaz said. “Last year she got some good minutes in a lot of games, but this year she stepped up as a leader and was connecting really well with the offense. She played a huge role for us.

“We have a lot of young players. But our leaders helped them throughout the season, and Molly deserves a lot of credit for helping them. Molly stepped up huge today.”

Jenna Krakowski has noticed Koch emerge as a leader too.

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“From last year to this year, I have definitely seen her become a bigger influence on the younger girls,” Krakowski said. “She’s leading in many different ways.”


The Wildcats got on the board first when Krakowski’s sister Shea scored in the 61st minute off a pass from Erin Kelly. The Griffins (21-6) quickly knotted the game in the 62nd minute on a rebound goal by Payton Lucitt.

But Koch took advantage of a nice pass from Jenna Krakowski to score the winning goal in the 66th minute.

“Molly played me that pass, and then I saw the defense shifting, and she made the run behind, and it was open,” Jenna Krakowski said. “So I knew I had to pass it to her.”

Seconds after the final whistle, Koch showed no emotions and didn’t celebrate immediately with her teammates. She said she was “so tired” from the grueling game on a muggy afternoon.

“I just tried to soak in this win,” she said. “I took in that moment. I knew this year I really had to focus and step up. Last year I was a bit more relaxed because I wasn’t getting as much playing time. I knew I had to fill in the shoes of who left. It has been a great journey through the playoffs.”

Bobby Narang is a freelance reporter for the News-Sun.

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