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Inspired by her brother, Maxine Arvanetes makes it work as goal-scoring spark for Andrew. ‘A huge influence on me.’

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Sophomore forward Maxine Arvanetes has quite a soccer role model in her older brother, Johnny, who earned all-state honors last fall for Andrew.

Maxine is carrying on the family legacy this spring for the Thunderbolts, making a huge difference coming off the bench in her first varsity season.

“Johnny has made a big impact on me,” she said. “He’s so good. He puts the time into it — he takes it seriously. I’m really proud to call him my brother, and he has a huge influence on me.”

Like brother, like sister?

Arvanetes’ sixth goal of the season was her biggest. She scored Tuesday night to help rally Andrew to a 2-1 win over Homewood-Flossmoor in a Class 3A Joliet Central Sectional semifinal.

Paige Swaw scored the winning goal for the top-seeded Thunderbolts (17-5-2), while Emily Crotty and Grace Wood each tallied an assist.

Andrew will play at 5 p.m. Friday for the sectional title against third-seeded Lincoln-Way Central (11-5-3), which beat Lincoln-Way East 1-0 on an overtime goal by Madi Watt. The Thunderbolts and Knights split a pair of regular-season games.

Evie Regas scored the goal and Cristina Ramirez made seven saves to lead fourth-seeded H-F (18-6-1), which had its deepest postseason run in 12 years come to an end.

Andrew's Maxine Arvanetes (2) dribbles down field during the Class 3A Joliet Central Sectional semifinal game against Homewood-Flossmoor in Joliet on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Troy Stolt/for the Pioneer Press)
Andrew’s Maxine Arvanetes (2) dribbles up the field against Homewood-Flossmoor during a Class 3A Joliet Central Sectional semifinal game on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Troy Stolt / Daily Southtown)

Regas gave H-F the lead in the 14th minute, poking in a rebound after Dakota Dixon got free on a breakaway but had her shot attempt broken up by Andrew goalkeeper Kadence Jones and a defender.

Arvanetes, though, provided the answer for the Thunderbolts just over seven minutes later. Crotty took a free kick from 45 yards and sent the ball into the box, where Arvanetes was able to get her foot on it and volley a shot into the top of the net.

“It was really exciting,” Arvanetes said. “Emily played a great ball into the box and I hit a great volley. I thought it was great teamwork.”

Soccer has been a big part of Arvanetes’ life as long as she can remember.

“My whole family plays soccer,” she said. “A bunch of cousins and other relatives play. I’ve been playing since I was really young in elementary school. I love the friendships, the teammates.

“Winning and celebrating with them is always so cool.”

Andrew's Paige Swaw (19) shoots the ball on a volley during the Class 3A Joliet Central Sectional semifinal game against Homewood-Flossmoor in Joliet on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Troy Stolt/for the Pioneer Press)
Andrew’s Paige Swaw (19) volleys a shot against Homewood-Flossmoor during a Class 3A Joliet Central Sectional semifinal game on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Troy Stolt / Daily Southtown)

Arvanetes has thrived in her role as a reserve for Andrew coach Loren Zolk, who knows she’s always ready to come in and provide a spark.

“She’s one of those natural, shifty goal scorers,” Zolk said. “That goal she scored was unreal. Coming across the body and having the ability to tap it, that’s such a hard thing to do.

“She’s consistent, and then she has those flashes of brilliance.”

Zolk sees big things ahead for Arvanetes. He expects her to start showing some of the dazzling moves her older brother displayed in his career.

“Johnny is a little more of a dancer on the ball,” Zolk said. “Max has that ability, but we’re not allowing her yet to do that. We’ve kind of got her on a short leash.

“As she grows, she’ll have those moments where we let her go.”

Andrew's Maxine Arvanetes (2) receives a pass during the Class 3A Joliet Central Sectional semifinal game against Homewood-Flossmoor in Joliet on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Troy Stolt/for the Pioneer Press)
Andrew’s Maxine Arvanetes (2) plays the ball forward against Homewood-Flossmoor during a Class 3A Joliet Central Sectional semifinal game on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Troy Stolt / Daily Southtown)

Arvanetes also plays volleyball at Andrew, again following in the footsteps of Johnny, who also participates in that sport.

“It’s fun connecting with different types of people, and it’s really cool being active in multiple sports,” Maxine said. “Volleyball helps a lot with hand-eye coordination, and I think that helps me coordinate with my feet, too.”

Swaw delivered the game-winner, hammering in a shot from 15 yards off a pass from Wood with 18:33 left in the game.

Swaw was grateful to be in position to become the hero after Arvanetes started the comeback.

“Her foot skills are great,” Swaw said of Arvanetes. “We really needed her up top. She was able to score that goal and tie the game for us, and we finished it off from there.”

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Steve Millar , 2024-05-22 14:53:20

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