NORTH SUBURBAN LAKE
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Coach: Mike Schmitz (fifth year)
Last year: 12-7-2, lost to Highland Park in the Class 3A regional final.
Top players lost: Jake Changelon, Jose Corral (Aurora), Tom Doherty, Mike Osikowicz, Colin Rathe (Illinois Wesleyan), Nate Wille.
Top players returning: Kyle Callender Sr. D, Nate Holicky Sr. MF, Jeff Kreutz Sr GK, John Pothast Sr. MF, Brendan Seeger Sr. MF
Top newcomers: Justin Heuer Sr. D, Nick Mueller Sr. D, Bryan Smith Sr. D, Ian Hesch Jr. D, Tim Burroughs So. MF,
Other notable players: Jorge Bermudez Sr. F, Carlo Fava Sr.. D, Greg Geiner Sr. MF, Justin Marais Sr. MF, Ryan Pyrczak Sr. D, Alex Skowron Sr. F, Matt Montemayor Jr. F, John Repplinger Jr. F, Braven Bacardi So GK, Caleb Pothast So. MF.
Outlook: THe Bears return with a strong core as 14 returning seniors are ready to make some noise. "We are excited by our experience and depth," Lake Zurich coach Mike Schmitz said. "These kids have played a lot of minutes and have worked together over the last couple of years. We've got players that work hard and together in practice and in games."
Coach: Andy Bitta (26th year)
Last year: 20-4-2, lost to Rockford Boylan in the Class 3A Championship game.
Top players lost: Andrew Bitta (Loras), Landon Eyre (BYU), Jose Ibarre (Lake County), Andrew Loksa (Naples-FL)
Top players returning: Marshall Hollingsworth Sr. MF, Sam Kaplan Sr. D, Shane Reilly Sr. MF, Joey Ruppert Sr. F. Adam Witucki Sr. D, Austin Bitta Jr. F, Keenan Busse Jr. D, Lloyd Chatfield So. F,
Top newcomers: Joe Grozier Jr. D, Tomide Owolabi Jr. MF/F, Carlos Schultz So. MF
Other notable players: Ethan Andrews Sr. D, Ryan Fragassi Sr. D, Craig Kym Sr. GK, Zach Labrum Sr. GK, David Ruiz Sr. F, Alex Wealther Sr. D/MF, Tyler Gillespei Jr. MF, Connie McNeir Jr. D/MF, Phillip Williams Jr. D/MF, Nick Vogel So. MF, Tanner Sanks So. D/MF.
Outlook: Last year, the Wildcats produced an outstanding run to become Class 3A state runner-up. What can Libertyville do this fall to follow up? Well, how about a state title? The Wildcats say the hunger there. All-area team captain Marshall Hollingsworth returns with Joey Ruppert, Sam Kaplin and other experienced players. "I expect the players to be dedicated to the team and work on our weaknesses," Libertyville coach Andy Bitta said. Libertyville has started the season with 3 straight victories.
Coach: Ernie Billitier (first year)
Last year: 10-8-5, lost to St. Viator in the Class 3A semifinals.
Top players lost: Eder Alcantar, Jon Dimitriou, Saul Figueroa, Daniel Marcos, Gabriel Marcos, Javier Ramirez (Ashford-Iowa) , Kevin Searle.
Top players returning: Nate Brune Sr. D, Leo Rodriguez Sr. D, Christian Mata Sr. F, Alex Nambo Jr. MF, Alex Terrazas Jr. MF.
Top newcomers: Jake Cigelnik Sr. GK, Erik VyvermanSr. MF, Carlos Huaracha So. MF
Other notable players: Brandon Asher Sr. F, Jason Dimitriou Sr. MF, Trevor Dinelli Sr. MF, Tony Esparza Sr. F, Nick Goleblowski Sr. MF, Burke Lardner Sr. D, Trevor Larkin Sr. D, Angel Marcos Sr. D, Louis Montenegro Sr. F. Miguel Salgado Sr. GK, Alec Wingender Sr. D, Adam Navarette Jr. D, Josiah Ochoa Jr. F, Harrison Richards Jr. D
Outlook: It's a new coach, as Ernie Billitier takes over for the recently retired Dave Ekstrom. There might be some big shoes to fill, but Billitier played under Ekstrom and was an assistant for the last few years. "I expect our team to be competitive in every contest," Mundelein coach Ernie Billitier said. "We graduated a solid class of seniors and lost a veteran head coach, but I am excited about this opportunity and I am excited about the guys we have in our program." Mundelein added the Pepsi Showdown to its competitive schedule.
Coach: Mark Schartner (23rd year)
Last year: 11-6-2, lost to Libertyville in Class 3A regional semifinal.
Top players lost: Ryan Crane (Wisc-Parkside), Peter Gambino (Iowa), Auturo Hernandez (Mexico), Todd Covin (Miami of Ohio)
Top players returning: Jacob Azriel Sr. GK, Zack Erny Sr. F, Ricky Lekakh Sr. MF, Ryan Lovett Sr. D, Robbie Thomashow Sr. D/MF, Ross Comitor Jr. D, Joe Hugener Jr. F, Quinten Low Jr. GK, Scott Miller Jr. D, Niimi Toshiki Jr. MF, Mike Dobin So. D
Top newcomers: Jeremy Klinestein Jr. MF, Constantine Kuhlman Jr. F, Jared Moelart Jr. MF, Ryan Puszka Jr. MF, Mike Weinstein Jr. F
Outlook: Stevenson started its season with a victory in the Titans Invite. That included a win over a quick Mather team in the championship last weekend at Glenbrook South. "We're off to a great start with good speed, a deep bench and outstanding goalkeeping," Stevenson coach Mark Schartner said. "We have great leadership with both classes of seniors and juniors. I only expect this is a team that will only get better throughout the season."
Coach: Jason Ahonen (fourth year)
Last year: 13-6-5, lost to Libertyville in Class 3A regional final.
Top players lost: Alex Buvala, Brandon Brown, Andrew Piotrowski, Michal Szczepanek
Top players returning: Billy Eddy Sr. MF, Patrick Schulz, Sr, D, Danny Szczepanek Jr. Andrew Solis Jr. F-MF, Brady Walsh Sr GK
Top newcomers: Colin Ciamarra Sr D, Timmy Pieper Jr D, Tony Severini Jr MF, Nick Wegrzynowicz Jr MF
Other notable players: Alex Brunnell Sr. MF/F, Ryan Foster Sr. MF, Daniel Herrera Sr. F, Jeff Kinka Sr. D, Alexis Lopez Sr. MF, Leon Mardehow Sr. MF/F, Niko Milic Sr. D, Joey Stoyas Sr. D, Jon Trout Sr. D, Hunter Wilkerson Sr. F, Nick Hathuc Jr. GK, Sean Kirwan Jr. MF, Bryan Santowski Jr. MF.
Outlook: The defending NSC champs have their sights set on another successful season, and have a good group of returning experienced players who figure to contribute. "Our goals this year are to repeat as conference champs and make a deeper run into the state tournament," Warren coach Jason Ahonen said. Patrick Schulz recently made a verbal agreement to play at Marquette next year. Anthony Colaizzi, who helped Warren become a state runner-up in 2007, has returned as an assistant coach.
NORTH SUBURBAN PRAIRIE
Coach: Marni Polakow (fourth year)
Last year: 16-5-2, lost to Johnsburg in Class 2A regional final.
Top players lost: Jesus Castillo, Jordan Frazer, Alex Grimm, Taylor Krumpos (Concordia-WI), Julio Martinez, Dave Mrnak, Juan Perez (Concordia-WI), Jesse Sanchez, Oscar Segura (Lake County). Danny Vargas
Top players returning: Ryan Geidner Sr. F, Jake Jost Sr. D/MF, Billy Mohr Sr. MF/F, Zak Semitka Sr. MF, Carson Moore Jr. D.
Top newcomers: Tommy Tritschler So, GK, Iven Hernandez Fr. MF/F, Eric Pedersen Fr. D.
Other notable players: Nicholas Brito Jr. MF/F, Joshua Hallett Jr. D, Eric Van Treeck Jr. D, Jon Bohmann So. MF, Alex Brito So. D, Adam Harvey So. MF/F, Danial Lonski So. D, Robert Miranda So. MF, Jeremy Pasterz So. GK, Jon Lonengan Fr. MF.
Outlook: The Sequoits had a great run last year, compiling 16 victories. But 10 seniors from the run have graduated, taking with them a load of experience. So, how can Antioch keep the success rolling? "I expect us to compete while rebuilding," Antioch coach Marni Polakow said. "We're left with a number of underclassmen this year, but these guys are a solid group."
Coach: Shane Rivette
Last year: 11-11, lost to Dundee-Crown in Class 3A regional quarterfinal.
Top players lost: Coby Colbert, Esteban Diaz, Andrew Noda, Emilio Salinas, Christian Medrano, Steven Cervantes, Anthony Pecorini.
Top players returning: Nick Kramer Sr. MF, Ryan Patterson Sr. GK, Gabriel Velarde Sr. D, Andres Velarde Jr. MF, Daniel Villa Jr. F
Top newcomers: Carmelo Flores Sr. F, Eric Cahill Jr. D, Marcos Delgado Jr. MF, Keegan Cray Jr. GK, Ron Torres Jr. D, Eric Villa Jr. F, Tim Oehrlein So, MF, Omar Valadez So. MF
Other notable players: Jesse Aranda Sr. MF, Eric Ortiz Sr. D, Piotr Staron Sr. D, Alex Zepeda Sr. F, Ricky Zamora Sr. MF, Ryan Flores Jr. D.
Outlook: The Bulldogs had a some bite last year, but they've lost some key players and need to figure out how to replace them going forward. It could be a rebuilding year -- but don't overlook these 'Dogs. "We're losing some important starters from last year, but we've still a lot of experience," Grant coach Shane Rivette said. "Our success will be determined if we can come together with some new players joining the varsity."
Coach: Kevin Kullby (seventh year)
Last year: 11-10-5, lost to Burlington Central in Class 2A supersectional.
Top players lost: Joey Burchard, Matt Dexheimer, Nathan McMahon (IIT), Brandon Stanley, Brandon Werchek (Chicago Fire Academy),
Top players returning: Mark Beadle Sr. D, Scott Brugioni Sr. MF, Tom Langbein Sr. F, Zack Reimer Sr. D, Jonathan Stanley Sr. MF.
Top newcomers: Chris DeRue Sr. MF, Mark Gerrits Jr. MF, Trevor Ray Jr. F, Richard Galat So. D, Joey Savino So. F.
Other notable players: Sean Donovan Sr. D, Will Hill Sr. GK, Morgan Hannum Sr. F, Allen Johnson Sr. MF, Kevin Nadelhoffer Sr. D, Kyle Neeve Sr. D, Roberto Tre Re Sr. GK, Bojan Zgonjanin Sr. MF, Lucas Istvanek Jr. MF, Ramon Marin Jr. MF, Jonathan Borzick So. MF
Outlook: The Eagles intend to soar on another strong run. Lakes missed reaching the Final Four of Class 2A last season, but 14 seniors return with only a couple of losses to graduation. They did lose sophomore Brian Werchek, who recently decided to commit to the Chicago Fire Academy. "Hopefully, with all the experience, we can compete just like last year," Lakes coach Kevin Kullby said. "There's a lot of experience all over the field and we've got a bench that can help us."
Coach: Hugo Tellez (second year)
Last year: (15-3-4), lost to Rockford Boylan in the Class 3A sectional final.
Top players lost: Armando Alvarez, Jimmy Avila, Jose Garcia (Lake County) Andres Gomez (Lake County), Luis Leon, Eduardo Pulido, Osvaldo Rios, Emmanuel Salgado (Lake County), Eduardo Sanchez
Top players returning: Jordi Rubio Sr. F, Abraham Valadez Sr. D, Lorenzo Cortez Jr. MF, Edgar Rodriguez Jr. D, Mauricio Salgado Jr. F.
Other notable players: Junior Martinez Sr. MF, Jorge Vazquez Sr. MF, Abraham Murua Jr. MF/F, Miguel Salgado Jr. MF/F, Cesar Garcia So. D
Top newcomers: Ivan Gomez Sr. GK, Mariano Narvaez Jr. MF, Balam Mean Jr. D, Jose Portilla Jr. MF, Sergio Valdivia Jr. D, Jose Martinez So. GK, Ediberto Ramirez So. MF/F, Oscar Rodriguez So. D
Outlook: The Panthers keep getting closer for a Final Four state trip. Could this year finally be the year? Round Lake was stopped by state champion Rockford Boylan last year in the Class 3A sectional final. Maybe this fall, the Panthers have what it takes to advance. "My boys were not satisfied," Round Lake coach Hugo Tellez said. "We beat ourselves against Boylan. Starting this year in camp, the kids all had that game in there heads and they want it bad. They're going to play with anger and not let up until they step off the field. The kids want to play with pride out there."
Coach: Shannon Etnyre (sixth year)
Last year: (5-14-1), lost to Fenton in Class 2A regional semifinals.
Top players lost: Andy Clark, Allan Kwon (Lake County), Aaron Melcer, Misha Pavelko, Matt Tomback, Giedon Yim.
Top players returning: Tim Allen Sr D, Shawn Aumiller Sr. Eric Lang Sr. MF, MF, James Lee Sr. MF, Justin Moon Sr. F, Paul Woo Sr. D, Evan Borden Jr. F, Brad McGee Jr. D, Matt Tabrizi Jr. MF, Jeremy Cohen So. D, David White So. MF.
Top newcomers: Ricky Ceja So. F, Jon Ramierez So. GK, Jon Veloz So. MF, Randy Veloz So. MF, Brad Burrows Fr. MF.
Outlook: The Cougars are on the rise -- both in ability and expectation. Vernon Hills will be a team that may be overlooked by some foes, as in recent years. "With a strong number of returning players and some key newcomers to our program," said Vernon Hills coach Shannon Etnyre, "we're looking for a top-three finish in the Prairie Division and a higher seed going into regionals."
Coach: Pat Heckmann (first year)
Last year: 11-10-2, lost to Lakes in Class 2A regional final.
Top players lost: Christian Avitia, Tyler Carolin, Gerard Ledvora, Riley McLean, Eric Morales, Luis Rodarte.
Top players returning: Irving Ramirez Sr. MF, Jeff Holman Sr. F, Roberto Gonzalez Jr. F, Valatine Ramirez Jr. MF, Ha-Min Song Jr. F, Tim Worzala Jr. MF
Top newcomers: Kyle Bock Jr. F, Tommy Fox So. D
Other notable players: Christian Argomaniz Sr. D, Krzysztof Bachowicz Sr. D, Alex Juarez Sr. D, Eric Swanson Sr. MF, Marco Arreguin Jr. F, Alan Avitia Jr MF, Sean Horndasch Jr. MF, Jesus Marquez Jr. MF, Brandon Morales Jr. MF, Christian Tapia Jr. GK, Nick Ledvora So. MF.
Outlook: Pat Heckmann takes over for longtime coach Terry Stevig, who retired over the summer. Heckmann was an assistant and moves into the head coaching role. The good news for him is that there are plenty of players back with some experience. "We do have a lot of returning varsity players back," Heckmann said. "We're hoping we can be competitive in every game. Our kids are all into the game and they know how to work together."
EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLIC
Coach: John Halloran (seventh year)
Last year: 12-9, lost to Warren in Class 3A regional final.
Top players lost: Shane Einloth, Phil Gross (DePauw), Aaron Ogunro, Ryan May, Tommy Miller, Joe Purtell, Blake Quaiyoom, Jimmy Ryan, Jack Stefanski (Dubuque)
Top players returning: Justin Andreasik Sr. D, Justin Gibbons Sr. D, Pat Hannon Sr. D, Ian Heinrich Sr MF/F, Todd Holup Sr. D, Mike Reed Sr. MF, Christian Avalos Jr. MF/F, Max Heinrich Jr. MF/F, TJ Poll Jr. D.
Top newcomers: Gabe Brouillette Sr. MF, Steve Silwa Jr. GK, Stephen Feely Jr. D, Billy Kloss Jr. MF, Peter Kolb Jr. MF, Tommy Paslaski Jr. D, Shea Ronayne Jr. MF, Michael Scheer Jr. D/MF, Adam Cloe So. MF/F, Michael Zucco So. GK.
Outlook: Year in and year out, the Corsairs always compete for the top of the East Suburban Catholic Conference and this fall expect it to happen again. Carmel also has its sights on going deep in the postseason. "We expect to be competitive in the area and our conference," Carmel coach John Halloran said. "We have a great group of returning players and some very exciting newcomers which we believe can make us one of the top teams."
Coach: Mike McCaulou (eighth year)
Last year: 7-12, lost to CICS/Northtown in Class 2A regional semifinal.
Top players lost: Caleb Longenecker (Goshen College), Bryant Olmos, Byron Perez (Lake County)
Top players returning: Kevin Anderson Sr. GK, Asa Goldsmith Sr. D, Caleb Munk Sr. D, James Garcia Jr. MF, Phillip Longenecker Jr. MF, Kyle Martinez Jr D,
Top newcomers: Nate Cerquone So. D, Jackson Frey Fr. D, Issac Longenecker Fr. F, Johnny Madrid Fr. F,
Other notable players: Diego Gomez Sr. MF, Eder Lopez Sr. F. Manny Trujillo Sr. MF, Ryan Fontana Jr. MF, Jason Koziol Jr. GK, Alex Stickler So. F, Jacob Swearingen So. D.
Outlook: The Rams would like to net an FVC Fox Division title. "We want to compete for the top spot in our division," Grayslake Central coach Mike McCaulou said. " We will try and play great possession soccer and work the ball on the ground."
Coach: Adam DeCaluwe (sixth year)
Last year: 7-14, lost to Lakes in the Class 2A regional semifinal.
Top players lost: Connor Falson, Richard Klarck (Benedictine), Chris Meyers, Andrew Rohrer.
Top players returning: Daniel Bazan Sr. D/F, Mark Lewis Sr. MF, Carson Klarck Jr. MF/F, Arnaud Laroche-Bataille Jr. MF, Michael Rohrer Jr. D.
Top newcomers: Dennis Biesiada Sr. MF, Steven Fletcher Sr. GK, Stevie Streeter Sr. GK, Jacob Hensley So. D, Andreas Thedorf So. D
Other notable players: Claudio Guerrero Sr. MF/F, Ibra Perez-Vera Sr. D/MF, Marco Rodriguez Sr. D, Geovanni Villa Sr. MF, Kip Wetter Sr. MF/F, Sean Blashe Jr. F, John Derango Jr. D, Sintayehu Meyer Jr. MF/F. Baruk Perez-Vera Jr. MF/F, Ernesto Vazquez Jr. F, Jovanny Villa Jr.F, Austin Woodruff Jr. D/MF, Nick Rice So. D,
Outlook: Hard work can pay off -- the Knights are hoping theirs leads to a Fox Valley Fox Division title, similar to the one they won a couple years ago. "The boys worked incredibly hard over the summer, and with the right attitude and approach, will hopefully be reaping the rewards for that hard work," Grayslake North coach Adam DeCaluwe said. "From the top of the program to the bottom, we have more depth than we've had in years and there are several players that are eager step up into more prominent roles."