Name: Katie O’Malley
School: Lyons Township, senior
Why she was selected: O’Malley scored two goals in Lyons’ regional final win over Glenbard West and scored two goals in the Lions’ sectional semifinal win over Downers Grove South. She was selected the Athlete of the Week in an online vote. Here is her interview with Sports Editor Joshua Welge.
Welge: How motivated has your team been during this playoff run after getting upset by Glenbard West last year in the sectional final?
O’Malley: We were so disappointed and wanted to make a change. We thought it was our last year to go far. We all wanted to prove to ourselves that we could go far with this team. As long as we had the camaraderie and the team effort with everyone we’d be able to keep going.
Welge: What’s made this particular team special?
O’Malley: I think it’s all of our friendships with each other. We all weren’t really close at the start of the year. It was a lot of different people from different groups and clubs and underclassmen. What’s special is the friendships that we started to form right away and everyone’s skill that we wanted to use and try to go far.
Welge: Can you describe the connection you seem to have with Caroline [Mortonson, who had two assists Saturday]?
O’Malley: My first year with her was last year when she was a freshman and she already proved to be one of our best players, for sure, which was amazing. We played with each other a lot last year but we never connected as well as we have this season. From that experience, we know where each other are. We use it to connect passes and break the defense. It’s hard to defend us.
Welge: How did you decide on committing to Illinois State?
O’Malley: I was at nationals for soccer and their coach came up to me and said she was interested. We communicated back and forth. The interest that she showed when I went on my visit was great. The school was just everything I wanted – close to home, good school, the girls on the team were nice. They were making a rebuild for their team and I wanted to be a part of it.