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Owatonna goalie Greta Korbel (far left) plays the ball in front of teammates Libby Janka and Hailey Fox as Red Wing’s Kylie Stockton (6) battles for position on in a Big Nine Conference contest in the fall. Janka announced she’ll continue to play soccer at Rochester Community and Technical College. (File photo/Southernminn.com)

Owatonna’s Libby Janka played a key role this fall for the girls soccer team when it changed formations and now she’ll have a chance to continue her career at Rochester Community and Technical College.

The Huskies started the season utilizing a three-defender alignment but added a fourth defender to the backline. Janka entered the starting lineup as an outside defender on the left side of the field, where she routinely faced opponents’ top offensive players.

Yellowjackets head coach Bryan Weiss watched Owatonna play Rochester John Marshall in Rochester and came away impressed with Janka after she played well.

“He was looking for more defense,” Janka said. “He just liked how I was more aggressive on the ball.”

Huskies head coach Nate Gendron said Janka defends well one-on-one with opponents, has the ability to win balls in the air and knows when to join the attack.

“One of the things about Libby that’s fantastic is that she’ll do anything you ask of her in that moment,” Gendron said.

Janka came into her senior season determined to improve her play and earn more playing time.

“I knew I was going to have to work harder and try harder,” she said.

Janka is excited to see the differences between the game at the high school level and the college level next season.

Gendron sees RCTC as a good fit for Janka because the program incorporates some of the same ideas he uses at Owatonna.

“I think the small community is going to be beneficial, too,” he said. “The coach really invests in a community and puts a lot of effort into the unification of a team and I tried to do that with our team.”

Janka has already connected with some of her future teammates. She plans to enter the nursing field following her time at RCTC.

Reach Regional Sports Editor Nick Gerhardt at 507-444-2375 or follow him on Twitter @OPP__Sports. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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