AHS girls soccer head coach Gwen Sabo talks with her players in last year's bitter cold season-opener on the road at Mascoutah. (Photo by Brad Piros)

ALTON - Alton High School Athletic Director Chris Kusnerick announced that girls soccer head coach Gwen Sabo would be taking a sabbatical, and not coaching the Lady Redbirds this school year.

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Earning the promotion was assistant coach Shayna Lacey.

Lacey has been with the Redbirds program for the last three seasons at the JV level and is also heavily involved with local club team the Alton Irish.

Most recently, she has taken on the role of assistant coach for Lewis and Clark Community College's women's team.

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A former player like Sabo, Lacey played collegiately as a defender at Evansville University after a standout high school career at Torah High School in Boise, Idaho.

“Coach Lacey has an extensive background in high school and club coaching in the area," Kusnerick said. "She brings to the table a wealth of experience and knows our program and our student-athletes.”

“We will miss Gwen this spring, but will be glad to have her return to AHS girls soccer next school year and feel we have a good support system in place to assist Shayna with her new role," Kusnerick added.

Sabo and her husband Ryan Howland have a one-year-old daughter at home and another child on the way. The reason for Sabo's temporary departure from the team is that she is due to have her second baby in April, right in the middle of girls soccer season.

She felt as if it wouldn't be fair to the team if she wasn't able to give it her all coaching and feels that Lacey is a great appointment for the position.

"I really appreciate Alton working with me," Sabo said.

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