Last Line of Defense: Gator’s Raquel Hess


Crystal Lake, IL- We were lucky to sit down with our second Lady #YoungGuns (Cary-Grove HS’s Sarah Graham was our first) in sophomore Raquel Hess from Crystal Lake South HS recently. We caught up with her family at their home in Crystal Lake. Rick, Jessica and Colton joined their daughter/sister for a great look into the life and times of a great student-athlete. Her older sister McKenna was out with friends. Raquel is very gifted in many sports but has decided to concentrate on her incredible soccer talent. Listen to Raquel tell us in her own words what it’s like for a 16 year old to take care of business. We also have Jay Mueller, her soccer head coach at CLS, and Chemistry teacher, head coach of basketball Mark Mucha and Kristian Rockall, her current Force coach, give us their perspective on Miss Hess. Sit back and relax, this is gonna be good!

Please click here to listen to Raquel:



Besides her time travelling, practicing and playing, Raquel also finds the time to maintain a lofty GPA. Teacher/Coach Mark Mucha tells us what he thinks makes Hess so special.

Mucha begins, ” I have had the pleasure to have Raquel Hess in Chemistry this year.  I wish every student in my classes had the qualities and characteristics that she has.  She is smart, driven, respectful, mature, organized, modest, fun-loving, and an overall great kid to be around.

Her work ethic is top notch, spending a lot of time inside and outside of class working on the content.  Raquel and I often talk about how much time she studies outside of school for chemistry tests and I often tell her to spend less time studying then she does.  I don’t often tell students that, but I know it doesn’t matter with Raquel.  She wants to excel at everything she does and no matter what I tell her she will still go above and beyond to ensure she succeeds.”

RH shows her props in volleyball

Hess wouldn’t think of taking an easier path as Mucha sees it, “Although she has many strengths, she is not satisfied with where she is at.  She is aware of her weaknesses and is always looking for opportunities to improve on them.  You don’t see that in many kids her age. I only get to see Raquel in the classroom, but being a football and girls basketball coach here at South I know all these things translate to athletics and the soccer field.  I’ve had a few conversations with her about playing basketball here at South and haven’t had any luck yet, but knowing the type of student-athlete she is I am not going to stop trying to convince her to play. ”

Word has it that some coaches from other girls sports may covet Raquel to play on their team. Though I’m kidding, Raquel misses the sports she had to give up to concentrate on soccer. Jay Mueller who is the head coach of the Lady Gators tells us what he saw in a young Raquel.
Mueller begins,  “Raquel impressed me from the first day of tryouts when she was a freshman.  She was confident and vocal in all our drills and was not at all intimidated by playing with girls 2-3 years older, many of whom were returning varsity players. She immediately showed me not only did she deserve to be on the team, but that she would be an integral part of either our midfield or defense for the next 4 years.
She started the year playing center mid, which is not her most natural position, but she learned quickly and established herself as a major presence in the center of the field. A few games into the season, after some injuries to our D, Raquel moved to center back, where she had more experience, and has been a mainstay and a dominant force there ever since. She’s a smart player who positions herself well, she’s a ball-winner, and despite being only a soph(omore) she is developing into a vocal leader for our team.”
Mueller continues, “Raquel is also one of the toughest kids I’ve coached. Last year in our regional semi against DC she played about the last 15 min with a fractured collarbone (which wasn’t diagnosed until a couple days later). Unfortunately of course she couldn’t play in the regional final and her presence was missed as we gave up 4 goals, the most in any game all season. You could tell then, that not playing was more painful to her than the actual injury ever was.”
He concludes, “I don’t have any experience with Raquel as a student, but she does get very good grades and the teachers I’ve spoken to say that she is a very hard working student.”
Finally, we read how Kristian Rockall evaluates Raquel, “I have been Raquel’s soccer coach the past year. When I took over the team her previous coach suggested that I offer the captaincy to Raquel and that proved to be a wise decision. Raquel represents many of the core values that are important in being a great captain and teammate. She is a hard working student-athlete on and off the field, and gives her best effort in every task she undertakes. I can’t recall Raquel missing any practices or games which shows an outstanding commitment to her team.”
Rockall explains, “Raquel is very well liked by her peers because she is caring & outgoing, and always finds the right way to communicate with her teammates in a respectful & honest manner. On the field Raquel is a courageous warrior like figure who provides much resilience and stability to the defensive line. Raquel has a bright future, not just on the soccer field but in anything she chooses to pursue.”
We at are for full disclosure. My wife Joann and Rick Hess are cousins. So what, you say? I agree, Raquel is another fine example of what we look for in our #YoungGuns series.