close
close
Posted in

Olivia Del Toro, West Aurora over Plainfield South

Junior midfielder Olivia Del Toro has a deep appreciation for passing moments.

Del Toro, who plays in the attacking position, also knows how to step up when opportunity beckons for West Aurora. And for her it’s like receiving a good book as a gift on a sunny day.

“I think I’m really good at reading the room,” Del Toro said. “I just need that little bit to grab that moment and I take my photos. I am always super motivated and energetic.

“I’m always looking to go when I get the ball. I always want to score.”

That’s exactly what she did in the 16th minute on Tuesday afternoon. Del Toro’s goal lifted the Blackhawks to a 1-0 Southwest Prairie Conference win at Plainfield South.

Del Toro has now scored a team-best 13 goals for West Aurora (7-6-1, 4-2-1). She also contributed six assists this spring, but this is a story that has been in the works for several years.

Two years ago, as a freshman, Del Toro suffered a season-ending injury in her varsity debut against East Aurora. Last spring, she opted to play club to optimize her recruiting profile.

The James Madison recruit is now the orchestrator and driving force of the Blackhawks.

West Aurora's Sarahi Carlos (9) congratulates Olivia Del Toro (10) on her goal against Plainfield South during a Southwest Prairie Conference game on Tuesday, April 30, 2024 in Plainfield, IL.  (Steve Johnston/The Beacon News)
West Aurora’s Sarahi Carlos (9) congratulates Olivia Del Toro (10) on her goal against Plainfield South during a Southwest Prairie Conference game in Plainfield on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. (Steve Johnston / The Beacon-News)

“As an attacking midfielder, I just like the feeling that I am always in control of how the game is going,” said Del Toro. “I want to be the leader of the team.

“If we need to go fast or slow down and relax, I want to connect all the pieces together and choose how the game will be played.”

Senior goalkeeper Abi Dietlin, who made six saves for the Blackhawks on Tuesday, called Del Toro the lightning rod who is an impactful two-way player.

“Olivia is a great addition to our team,” said Dietlin. “I like that she plays as a midfielder because she not only controls the attack, but also the defense.

“I always feel confident when the ball is in her feet, knowing she can break through any defense in front of her.”

West Aurora's Sonia Alanis (22) clears the ball against Plainfield South during a Southwest Prairie Conference game on Tuesday, April 30, 2024 in Plainfield, IL.  (Steve Johnston/The Beacon News)
West Aurora’s Sonia Alanis (22) clears the ball against Plainfield South during a Southwest Prairie Conference game in Plainfield on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. (Steve Johnston / The Beacon-News)

Del Toro started playing at the age of 4. Her father Ricky, an assistant coach for the Aurora University men’s soccer team, was her mentor.

“My father played in the same position, attacking midfielder,” she said. “He always says he sees himself when I play, just the way I run.”

Jorge Espana needed no introduction to the younger Del Toro in his first year as West Aurora’s coach. He teaches with her father in the foreign language department at West Aurora.

Espana has known Olivia since she was a child.

“There’s nothing surprising about her talent,” Espana said. “It has always been self-evident. She owns the ball and just sets the rhythm of the game.

‘If we have to attack, she will. If we need to slow down, she has a great instinct for that.

West Aurora's Olivia Del Toro (10) works the ball up the field against Plainfield South during a Southwest Prairie Conference game on Tuesday, April 30, 2024 in Plainfield, IL.  (Steve Johnston/The Beacon News)
West Aurora’s Olivia Del Toro (10) works the ball up the field against Plainfield South during a Southwest Prairie Conference game in Plainfield on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. (Steve Johnston / The Beacon-News)

Del Toro’s personality is embedded in her playing style and her approach to the game. She has a keen sense of the field, which is reflected in her competitive nature and desire for success.

“When I was younger, I loved music, participated in choir and learned to play certain instruments,” she says. “Now I love my science classes and want to become a pharmacist

“I’m pretty quiet until you get to know me, and my leadership style is definitely more exemplary.

Most importantly, according to Espana, Del Toro is blessed with an instinctive drive that transcends coaching.

“Olivia has that quality that is impossible to teach because she just has the hunger to score,” he said. “She just makes a difference.”

A lifetime around the game has created an unbreakable bond for Del Toro.

“The game is my passion and everything I love to do,” she said. “When I’m on the ball, I’m just me and I’m free.”

Patrick Z. McGavin is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.