COLUMBIA, ILL. — The Columbia girls soccer team's formula this season has been simple.
It begins with an offensive attack that is clicking on all cylinders and is powered by one of the area's best goalkeepers.
The Eagles have scored at will this season, peppering opponents with 123 goals while allowing just 13 behind a stellar defensive wall.
As Columbia prepares for its first state semifinal in over a decade, the Eagles know that formula wouldn't be as successful without the play of senior goalkeeper Rylee Iorio.
“My team knows that I'm there if they need me,” Iorio said. “I feel like there are a lot of girls on this team that are fantastic. I have gotten chances to showcase my talent, so it does feel good to be there for the team those times I'm needed.”
Iorio, a three-year starter between the pipes, will lead Columbia (25-2-1) into a Class 1A state semifinal against Lisle at 5 p.m. Friday at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.
For junior midfielder Reagan Mauch, who has contributed on offense with nine goals and 13 assists, having Iorio behind her has been a comfort.
“Rylee is just great back there, she means so much to us because she is so steady and dependable,” Mauch said. “Everyone on this team has a role to play. We have confidence that Rylee will get the job done back there and do her part to help us win.”
Iorio has recorded every win in net for the Eagles this season and boasts a 0.34 goals against average with 18 shutouts.
The senior netminder has developed a knack for knocking down routine saves as well as the tough ones including a big one in Columbia's 2-0 win over Althoff to claim the sectional title last week.
“Rylee has brought us consistency for three years,” Columbia coach Jamey Bridges said. “She's been nothing but the same for three years. She really is our heartbeat. You saw what she meant Friday. She is definitely a special talent.”
Iorio, who was on the All-America watch list for topdrawersoccer.com, needs two more special performances to end her high school career on a high note.
“I worked so hard in the offseason because I knew that was (the last chance at a state title),” Iorio said. “It feels good to see the hard work pay off. Now is a great time for me, for us. Everyone has worked hard and we're not done yet.”