With third state soccer championship, Althoff girls establish winning tradition in Illinois

The Althoff Catholic girls soccer team added another state championship to its rich and successful program history.

On Saturday, Althoff (15-9-2) got a first-half goal from Britt Wilhelm, and goalie Anna Brewer made it stand up and the Crusaders beat Williamsville 1-0 to claim the IHSA Class 1A championship at North Central College in Naperville.

It was their second state title since 2021 and third going back to 2010.

“There were so many different story lines connected to this group with this season but it was just such a close-knit group and really, it just came down to them being a team in every sense of the word,” Althoff coach Skip Birdsong said.

Izzy Border and senior goalie Anna Brewer, who missed the first 10 games with an injury, were major contributors to the club’s success.

Border scored a team-high 9 goals and Brewer was superb in goal going 9-3 with a 1.07 goals against average.

Other key contributors were seniors Molly Lanter, Ava Katsikas, and Addison Larimore. Brewer will continue her soccer career at Southwestern Illinois College next year. Lanter, Katsikas, and Larimore will move on to college and pursue degrees, but will not play soccer.

“They’re all focusing on studies and not playing soccer,” Birdsong said. “A couple of others could have played certainly at the next level but they’re gonna focus on academics and get on with their lives in that regard.”

Despite starting the 2024 season 0-3, the Crusaders closed with a flourish, winning their final 11 straight games to claim the championship.

“We just came together as a team the second half of the season,” Birdsong said.

Birdsong believes that with three state titles since 2010 and two in the past three seasons, Althoff Catholic has become one of the premier girls programs in the metro-east and also in the state of Illinois.

“Obviously there’s a number of programs that are strong in the area year in and year out and we’re certainly going to try continue to build upon what we accomplished this year and what’s been accomplished in the past with the program as well,” Birdsong said.

“We’ve got a lot of players returning from this year’s team, so, we’re hoping to continue next year and see where we go next year.”

Here is a look back at the Crusaders’ previous state championships and key players from each of those teams:


Althoff Catholic shut out Arlington Heights St. Viator 5-0 to win the IHSA Class 2A championship. Meghan Pawloski scored three goals while Alexis Jones and Kelsey Dinges each scored a goal to lead the Crusaders.

After graduation, Pawloski went onto excel at the University of Illinois in soccer while Dinges continued her career at Miami of Ohio University. Jones continued her career after graduation as a member of the McKendree University soccer team.

The 2010 Crusaders championship squad logged a perfect 27-0 record that season with 15 shutout victories.

“That 2010 just sticks out for me,” former Crusaders and current SWIC coach Juergen Huettner said. “It was an amazing team that had all those Division I players on it and we were like a college team. It was probably the best team I ever coached.”


Althoff Catholic blasted Timothy Christian, 7-0, to win the IHSA Class 1A championship. Reagan Moody and Torri Calvert led the way with four and two goals respectively. The Crusaders finished the 2021 championship campaign with a 22-2 record.

Moody moved on to play soccer at the University of Illinois. Since graduation, Calvert has been a mainstay for the Maryville University women’s soccer team.

Kylie Petroski, another top player for Althoff then, played two years of soccer at Southwestern Illinois College, while Julia O’Neill thrived on the pitch at Marquette University.