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What matters is not how you start, but how you stop.

For Michaela Quinn, a freshman from York University’s graduating class, her entry into high school soccer four years ago ended with a frustrating 3-11-1 season.

This spring, thanks to Quinn’s 18 goals and 20 assists, the Dukes won the West Suburban Silver Conference title for the first time in 13 years, won a regional title, reached the sectional finals and finished the season with an 18-2-1 record.

Quinn, a multi-sport athlete who will run cross country and track at Indiana University, was named captain of the 2024 Daily Herald DuPage All-Area girls soccer team.

“In my younger years here, the team chemistry wasn’t always right, so I made sure to change that,” she said. “So I got to lead a program and accomplish a lot of things that hadn’t been done in a long time.”

Quinn is now second on York’s all-time goalscoring list with 39 assists. She has scored 45 goals.

“Her competitive spirit was so strong in the games,” said York coach Stevan Dobric. “I’ve seen players give 110%, but Michaela was special. She scored goals out of nowhere, except when she wanted to, worked hard and created something out of nothing. She did that several times this season.”

She pushed her teammates because she realized that their combined talent could give them the opportunity to be among the state’s elite teams.

“She always pushed in training, like she does in every game,” Doric said. “She always pushed, so they were successful because they not only went through their routine, but improved technically and tactically. She was the driving force behind that, along with other older players who also pushed that forward.”

Ava Hansmann, the Dukes’ other fourth-year player, was impressed with Quinn’s leadership qualities.

“Michaela is not only a great player but also a great leader,” she said. “To be a great player you have to be able to be a good teammate and that is what Michaela excels at. On the field she can use her speed and quick technical skills to easily glide past defenders. When I watch her from the back line I always have complete confidence in her and I feel like I can be relaxed and stress-free when she has the ball. She is undoubtedly one of the most talented players I know.”

The Dukes’ biggest win of the regular season was undoubtedly the shootout victory over Lyons, which ended the Lions’ 47-game winning streak in the conference.

“We were 1-0 down at the start,” said Hansmann. “But their resilience, their inability to give up and their constant pursuit of success motivated the rest of the team to keep fighting.”

With the addition of two highly-rated players, Stella Kohl and Sophia Musial, York’s roster now features 12 seniors this spring, providing a potent attack that has more than tripled the offensive output of Quinn’s freshman season.

“Our coach talked a lot about how we were able to break through a lot of defences with our front pressing,” Quinn said. “We kept going through it and gave 100% in training, which led to a lot of goals from the front line and we did very well scoring from midfield.”

Off the soccer field, Quinn helped the Dukes win two cross country state titles. She was also a key contributor on the girls basketball team.

“I think from my perspective, she’s always had her competitive spirit, I think she was born with it,” Dobric said. “She’s super humble, hardworking and always striving to improve. As a freshman, she wasn’t as big or strong, but she still had the will and every aspect of her game improved, which was reflected in her stats as well.”

As a freshman, York’s Michaela Quinn (left) played on a team that won three games. This year, Quinn led York to a record of 18-2-1.

Michaela Quinn (14) of York throws the ball against Downers Grove North during a Class 3A Hinsdale Central Sectional semifinal game at Hinsdale Central High School in Hinsdale on Tuesday, May 21, 2024.

Lexi Keown, 17, of Downers Grove North challenges Michaela Quinn, 14, of York for the ball during a Class 3A Hinsdale Central Sectional semifinal game at Hinsdale Central High School in Hinsdale on Tuesday, May 21, 2024.

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