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updated: 9/1/2011 10:41 PM

Boys soccer/Northwest season preview

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  • Senior Markus Fiordaliso, right, is looking to help Buffalo Grove take a big step up in the Mid-Suburban East.

       Senior Markus Fiordaliso, right, is looking to help Buffalo Grove take a big step up in the Mid-Suburban East.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Palatine's Jon Clark (17) and Conant's Joe Bosco (3) will be part of the battle for Mid-Suburban West supremacy this season.

       Palatine's Jon Clark (17) and Conant's Joe Bosco (3) will be part of the battle for Mid-Suburban West supremacy this season.
    Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

 
By Mike Garofola
Daily Herald Correspondent

MID-SUBURBAN EAST

Buffalo Grove

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Coach: Richard Carlson (first year)

Last Season: 7-11-1, 3-7-1

Graduation Losses: Alex Hughes (MF).

Ones to Watch: Seniors Markus Fiordaliso (MF, all-MSL, sectional), Nick Landsberger (GK), Alex Masciopinto (F), Matt Bloom (D), Joey Madio (MF), Chris Racz (D), Luis Marquez (F), Julian Ramirez (D); junior Alexis Herrera (D).

New Faces on the Pitch: Seniors Eric Kotlyar (D), Starsky Correa (MF), Matt Poleszuk (D); juniors Kiril Likhovid (D), Irving Eloyza (MF, transfer from Wheeling), Alberto Eloyza (F), Demo Drakoulis (F).

Lowdown: New Bison head coach inherits most of 2010 club including all-MSL MF Fiordaliso, while adding a pair of club players in Kotlyar and Likhovid to bolster the back line. Plus there's a late arrival in Eloyza, who moves over from crosstown rival Wheeling after his family moved into the area. The return of the quality marksman Masciopinto, who missed most of 2010 to an injury, along with Eloyza gives the Bison more firepower this fall, and perhaps the components to challenge for a division title. "I am fortunate to come into a situation where we have a great group of kids who have a very good work ethic, and (who) are willing to do all the things needed in order to compete at a high level," began Carlson. "The guys who are back haven't forgotten our (overtime) loss to end last season, and I think it has been the perfect motivation for all of them." Carlson says it has been too long since a side from BG has played for a MSL championship, and it is one of the goals he believes is attainable with this group.

Elk Grove

Coach: Joe Bush (seventh year).

Last Season: 14-7-0, 8-3-0, MSL East champs (lost to Fremd 3-1 in MSL Bowl).

Graduation Losses: Nick Jordan (MF, All-State, all-area, MSL East co-POY, Western Illinois), Rafal Borys (D, MSL East, co-POY, all-MSL, all-area, Illinois), Cesar Rodriguez (F, 33 career goals, all-MSL, sectional, Harper), Ernesto Rodriguez (F, two-time all-MSL, Harper), Matt Ginter (D), Mike Ginter (D), Irving Cruz, Danny Cardenas, Vlado Radanov, Juan Jaramillo, Frankie Ortiz, Ben Stram, Carlos Cisneros (club soccer).

Ones to Watch: Seniors Eddie Rodriguez (MF-D), Trevor Cwiok (D), Mike Ragano (GK, 4 shutouts), Jesse Schultz (D); juniors Justin Gavros (MF), Conor Murphy (F).

New Faces on the Pitch: Seniors Jesus Lara (F), Zach Solorio (MF), Steve Medina (D), Tyler Popp (D), Miguel Rodriguez (MF), Gio Garcia (MF); juniors Guillermo Anaya (D), Ben Castellanos (MF); sophomores Manny Pillado (D), Jonathan Arzeta (MF), Daniel Alvarez (GK).

Lowdown: The first Elk Grove side to qualify into the MSL Soccer Bowl after breaking the stranglehold of division rival Hersey -- Grens historic season came to an end in a sectional semifinal overtime loss to Bartlett, thus signaling the end of an incredible three-year ride for a superb cast, who began in the lower levels, and worked to eventually earn a coveted divisional crown. "We lost 14 of 20 players, 94 percent of our scoring, and our entire back line," said Bush, "however, the returning seniors have been successful all throughout, and I really feel they are motivated to keep the program moving forward." The departures of the Rodriguez' duo up top, who created more than half of the Grens' goals, and the departure of Jordan in the middle and Borys in the back will surely test the staff this fall, but Bush will lean on the likes of Cwiok and Schultz in the back, and Gavros and Rodriguez in the middle of the park to keep things going while the youngsters find their way.

Hersey

Coach: Darren Llewellyn (sixth year, 57-39-11).

Last Season: 6-13-1, 3-7-2.

Graduation losses: Jesus Lupian (Robert Morris), Artur Folta (D, all-MSL), Joe Cappuccitti, Michael Williams.

Ones to Watch: Seniors John Krok (MF), Jared Martin (D), Matt Brant (MF), Chase Monckton (D), Sean Reynolds (MF), David Pfeiffer (D); juniors Irvin Velasquez (GK), Ben Juarez (MF), Steve Barrios (F), Nik Vukovic (MF-F); sophomores Sean O'Connor (MF), Connor Reynolds (F).

New Faces on the Pitch: Sophomore Mike Kaczor (MF), John Freitag (MF).

Lowdown: After going so young last season, Huskies' were not able to keep themselves on pace to challenge for their fourth division title in 6 years, and would end up free-falling in the MSL ladder for the first time in recent memory. However, Llewellyn forecasts things will be bright and sunny this season with the arrival of field turf to what was always one of the least-favored pitches to play on, and perhaps a style of play a little different from opponents have come to expect from this side. "The turf is so much faster compared to the grass we used to play on (here) so it should be fun, because we have players who can attack and play on this surface," says Llewellyn, whose tactical approach is still one of the most difficult for opponents to solve. There's plenty back this season, with MF Krok among the best around, and if not for an injury-filled season last fall, the three-year veteran could have proved just that. Twelve are back this year after Huskies opened with just four returning players in 2010.

Prospect

Coach: Kurt Trenkle (sixth year, 47-39-8).

Last Season: 12-6-2, 6-5-0.

Graduation Losses: David Spudic (MF, all-area, MSL, sectional, Hope College), Mike Eggert (D, Bowling Green), Brayhan Nunez (MF, all-area, MSL, sectional), Mario Morales, Michael Hamman, Sean Flahavin, Jeff Geldmyer, Anthony Hasto, Jason Johnson, Erik Larsson, Mike Ryndak, Matt Sandel, Patryk Sitko, Chris Young.

Ones to Watch: Seniors Patryk Ruta (MF, 9 g), Brad Reibel (GK, all-MSL, 0.78), Bill Cooney (F, all-MSL, 5 g, 7 a), Alex Schnef (F, 5 g), Richard Lenke (F, all-sectional honorable mention, 10 g), Stefano Delomas (MF), Gustavo Osorio (MF); junior Ethan Graven (D).

New Faces on the Pitch: Senior Ihor Lehkiv (MF).

Lowdown: The Knights return more experience than any other side in the division, including a dynamic quartet capable of being highly influential figures in the final outcome of a match, while also having a valued commodity between the sticks in Reibel, who is one of the best around the area. "We are fortunate to have a strong core of front-line players returning in (Cooney, Ruta, Lenke and Schref) who will provide problems for opponents, but in addition, we also have the technical talent (in the middle) to allow possession, instead of last year's direct approach," says Trenkle. With this firepower in place, this should be one of the more entertaining sides to watch this fall, and one that Trenkle believes aspires to be in the MSL Cup in mid-October before going on a long run through the playoffs. The aforementioned can each attain double digit scoring numbers, and although the Knights boast more offensive power than most -- the success of this club will depend on how it can control the middle of the park, and how quickly a new back line can gel and defend in front of its all-star keeper.

Rolling Meadows

Coach: Peter Mikulak (eighth year, 35-71-14).

Last Season: 7-11-1, 6-5-0.

Graduation Losses: Declan Delaney (MF, all-MSL, Bellarmine University), Steven Kay (D, all-MSL, Valparaiso), Josh Koutas (MF, St. Louis), Kyle Krzeski (D, all-MSL, Virginia Tech), Chris Sanchez, Carter Gibson (GK).

Ones to Watch: Seniors Miguel San Roman (F), Josh Galvan (MF), Dave Giedrojc (D).

New Faces on the Pitch: Juniors Liam Brady (MF), Noe Zarete (MF); freshmen Kou Glaser (MF), Arthur Giedrojc (F).

Lowdown: Always a side that struggles to find depth, it still manages, much to the credit of Mikulak, to be a hardworking group, which combines plenty of energy for 80 minutes to compete with almost every opponent, especially in the MSL, where last season the Mustangs finished firmly in the middle of the table. "We lost 13 to graduation (including a trio of all-conference players) so early we need to work to find our identity as we go through the usual growing pains, but (at) the same time (still) be able to play with that level of energy that we expect from our guys," says Mikulak, who likes what he has up top and through the middle from a few returning veterans and several newcomers.

Wheeling

Coach: Ed Uhrik (eighth year, 64-84-10).

Last Season: 6-16-1, 2-9-0.

Graduation Losses: Dan Speidel (D, all-MSL), David Eloisa, Arturo Escobedo (GK), Matt Rosen (GK), Roberto Anaya, Yonic Carillo, Roman Dzundza, Freddy Diaz, Dan Dumiter, Cesar Aguila, Omar Lopez, Osvaldo Solano, Irving Eloiza (all-MSL, sectional, transfer to Buffalo Grove).

Ones to Watch: Seniors Sergio Nunez (MF), Alan Flores (D), Alfonso Noveron (D), Giovanni Gomez (MF), Daniel Dumiter (D), Adan Gonzalez (MF), Rogelio Laredo (GK), Lee Kresner (GK); junior Irving Balboa (F).

New Faces on the Pitch: Junior Alfredo Jimenez (MF); sophomores Nathan Lunde (D), Jose Garcia (F), Alfredo Rocha (D).

Lowdown: Wildcats endured a rather rough ride last season with experience as their downfall and not enough size to compete for 80 minutes in a rugged conference such as the MSL. Things appeared to be on the upswing with so many back after a year of experience, but a late transfer by its talented all-star Eloiza struck a major blow to the 'Cats, especially in the middle of the park where he was electric at times and proved so dangerous. "Obviously, any team would miss someone like Irving, who not only was a terrific player, but a really good kid, but we (still) had a lot of good people coming back, and we feel after we sort a few things out, we could be a serious contender in what looks like a wide-open race in the MSL East," offered Uhrik. Both Balboa and Garcia will need plenty of attention up top, as each is skilled and quick on the ball, while co-captains Flores and Noveron will help anchor a new back line, while providing their technical talent on the ball to help build the Wildcats' attack.

MID-SUBURBAN WEST

Barrington

Coach: Scott Steib (12th year, 214-63-24; career 274-91-31).

Last Season: 13-7-3, 10-2-0, MSL West co-champs.

Graduation Losses: Charlie Giovenco (D, all-area, Valparaiso), Taylor Williams (F, all-area, MSL, sectional, DePauw), David Pacheco (MF, all-MSL, Parkland College), Dan Barber (D, all-MSL), Max Mohr (D, all-MSL), Matt Bosworth (F), Eric Buchel (D), Will Cotopolis (GK), Lasse Hattaja (F), Collen Hollensteiner (MF, DePauw), Nikko Maher (D), Steven Polasik (GK), Parker Seagren (GK), Austin Walsh (MF).

Ones to Watch: Seniors Grant McAndrew (MF), Reid Strain (F), John Guntin (F); juniors Craig Zahour (MF-D, all-MSL), Ethan Claes (MF).

New Faces on the Pitch: Seniors Colter Williams (MF-F), Max Redpath (GK), Jacob Dreiling (GK), Bryan Adams (MF-F), Brett Qualiardi (D), John Gallagher (D), Brian Sheetz (D), Mark Plescia (MF), Tyler Deacon (MF).

Lowdown: A 0-4-2 disastrous start left the Broncos gasping for air, until they turned around their fortunes with a marvelous 13-2-1 run to finish level on points in the MSL table with Fremd, which earned the right to advance into the MSL Cup by virtue of its 2-1 victory midway through the 2010 season. "That was quite a turnaround for us last year after such a rough beginning, and one to remember, and although we return just six players from that squad, many of our 'new' guys have been in our program for 3 years, who we believe will blend with our veterans to give us a chance to complete in the MSL," says Steib, who is nearing 300 career victories. The Broncos' coach figures his top three, which collectively scored 13 last season, will be good for plenty more, with Zahour and McAndrew running the show from the middle of the park to provide a kinship with their big striker Strain -- a potential top finisher in the area. Once past its own tournament, and the annual trip to the highly competitive Great Midwest Classic just outside of Indianapolis, look for the club to be match ready for the regular season, and ready to challenge for a top-four finish in the league.

Conant

Coach: Jason Franco (fourth year, 46-27-17).

Last season: 11-9-1, 6-5-0.

Graduation Losses: Michael Zentner (D, all-area, MSL, Dominican University), Hugo Gonzales (GK, MF, NIU), Thomas Kozlowski (F, all-MSL), Stefan Zaharinov (Lake Forest), Bobby Potratz (Dominican University), Shivam Patel.

Ones to Watch: Seniors Billy Belmonte (D), Dan Ruzich (D), Zach Conrad (MF, 5 g, 4 a), Joe Bosco (MF), Nathan Cornell (F, all-MSL, 5 g), Michael Natalino (F); sophomore Tristan Conrad (F).

New Faces on the Pitch: Seniors Silas Lin (MF), Sean Cox (GK), AJ Frey (D), Andres Alfaro (F); junior Curtis King (D).

Lowdown: Cougars will be yet another side which can say they can challenge for a division crown as they return six seniors from their first-11. Sophomore (Tristian Conrad) was a key figure as a rookie last fall, who won over the hearts of the Cougars' faithful with his play, Conrad and Alfaro give Franco size up top, while the duo of Natalino and Cornell are dynamic with extra speed and pace to cause plenty of trouble for opponents. "There's a talented senior class (back) this fall, and when you add some up-and-coming underclassmen to the mix, we feel that we may have enough to help us remain competitive in what looks to be a very deep MSL," said Franco. Veterans Belmonte and Ruzich will keep the Cougars organized along the back, yet are more than quite capable of going forward to help fuel the attack when needed.

Fremd

Coach: Steve Keller (14th year, 170-97-49).

Last season: 17-3-2, 9-2-0, MSL West champs d. Elk Grove 3-1 in MSL Soccer Bowl

Graduation Losses: Spencer Filosa (MF, Daily Herald POY, MSL West POY, all-state, Eastern Illinois), Lorenzo Savino (F, all-area, all-MSL, sectional, 17 g, Harper), Scott Sutarik (GK, all-area, MSL, sectional, 0.82 goals against, Liberty University), Al Bochat (D, all-MSL, Harper), Alex Prelipceanu (D), Matt Burkhardt (F, Washington University).

Ones to Watch: Seniors Brian Hindle (MF, 4 g, 5 a), Yusuke Kanada (F); juniors Matt Briars (D), Jeremy Kosacz (MF), Nick Tambellini (MF), Ryota Wada (F); sophomore Eric Leonard (D, all-MSL).

New Faces on the Pitch: Senior Steven Soltykiewicz (GK), juniors Nate Hellwarth (D), Jon Magnusson (D) Colton Caesius (GK); freshman Brock VonHolt (MF-F).

Lowdown: Vikings clearly had the best first-11 in the league last season and rightly deserved to capture its seventh MSL championship in its history after defeating Elk Grove in the 34th MSL Cup. Is another title challenge a serious possibility for this side? "We lost an awful lot of talented players," admits head coach Steve Keller, who said so long to the top field player in the area in Filosa, one of the best GK's with Sutarik, two-thirds of his back line in Bochat and Prelipceanu, and a goal-scoring threat with every touch in Savino. "That was a very good group of players which were together for three years, but we've got five starters back, some new guys who are out to prove themselves," Keller said, "and the type of character, attitude and work ethic which tells me we can possibly compete for a top spot when it's all over." With Leonar, the reigning champs have one of the bright back line stars of the area, and while Keller is confident in his new keeper tandem, he is excited about Kanada and Wada, and what they can provide up front, and if a breakout season from one or both can help pave the way to a return to the top. Summer league title proves Vikings will be heard from this season.

Hoffman Estates

Coach: Matt Sriver (eighth year, 45-80-17).

Last Season: 5-10-2, 2-7-2.

Graduation Losses: Sishuh Zerihun (F, all-area, MSL, sectional, 19g), Cesar Vargas.

Ones to Watch: Seniors Mike Gordon (GK, all-MSL), Alex Corona (F), Lennie Roa (MF), Mike Wnek (D), Nick Cardenas (MF), Kevin Castro (MF), Andres Pena (D), Oscar Salas (D); juniors Alex Tooren (D), Luis Ortiz (F), Jake Kubota (D).

New Faces on the Pitch: Senior Jose Sanchez (MF); junior Victor Sanchez (MF); freshman Misael Vargas (F).

Lowdown: Much like division rival Schaumburg, the Hawks endured far too many bumps and bruises to continually fill the injury reserve list -- forcing Sriver and his staff to cut and paste his roster in order to stay afloat at times. "Depth and injuries have been something we've had to deal with the past couple of seasons, and we've always felt if we could stay healthy, that we (could) be able to compete with just about anyone on any night," began Sriver. "We had a very positive camp, and we played some good soccer during that time, but we need to build some confidence and camaraderie as a (team) in order to take that next step." Sriver believes his GK (Gordon) is among the best in the area, and if the Hawks' can find themselves a goal scorer or two to replace the departed 3-year star (Zerihun) then their rebuilding project will take a leap forward as well.

Palatine

Coach: Willie Filian (21st year, 288-125-40).

Last Season: 13-9-1, 6-4-1.

Graduation Losses: Kosta Ristecki (MF, all-area, Robert Morris College), Jorge Caballero (F, all-MSL, Harper), Ivan Garcia (MF, all-MSL), Martin Rodriguez, Stephan Tabiteau, Mike Fink, Anthony Barrett, Ryan Sutter, Mike Woodin, Alex Wasiunec, Jonathan Aburto (Harper), Ethan Chaplinsky (Illinois)

Ones to Watch: Seniors Jon Clark (MF, all-area, MSL, 7 g, 10 a), Jack Reynolds (F), Evan Held (GK), Jeremy Velinski (D), John Livaditis (F), Tim Murphy (MF); sophomore Kyle Clancy (D).

New Faces on the Pitch: Senior Piotr Karpierz (MF), Jason Palmas (D); junior Saul Gutierrez (F), Ullses Alcaraz (D), Josh Lee (F), Johnny Enriquez (MF).

Lowdown: Talent-wise, from the attacking side of things, the Pirates may have enough to be considered one of the favorites in the division. With the usual magic touch of longtime head coach Filian, who can tinker with the best of them, it's a hunch this club will be there in the end. "If we can clean things up in the back, and play with more defensive passion, we can be a good team and be able to compete with most everyone because of our depth, and ability to go forward, beginning with Jon Clark," offered Filian. The three-year starter is the ultimate attacking player in that he can and will track back to defend, unselfishly provide helpers to teammates, finish, and play a high-tempo game that will test any opponent. Pirates will still be dangerous in set-piece and dead-ball opportunities, and have complimentary players in Reynolds, Velinski and newcomer Karpierz to insure just that. Clancy, Palmas and Alcaraz hold the key in a the Pirates rebuilt back line.

Schaumburg

Coach: Hamid Mehreioskouei (eighth year, 81-60-6).

Last season: 6-14-0 (4-7-0).

Graduation Losses: Blake Nelson (MF, all-MSL), Mark Bielanski, Bobby Khalili, Gus Alvarez.

Ones to Watch: Seniors John Franco (MF), Joey Faleni (MF, all-area), Jake Savino (F), Ben Beard (GK); junior Kacper Wasilewski (MF); sophomore Norikazu Honda (F).

New Faces on the Pitch: Seniors Nick Abel (D, transfer from St. Viator), Peter Piers (D), Drew Simon (F); sophomores Christian Michalowski (D), Matt Rushing (D).

Lowdown: Plenty of injury problems in first-11 stretched the depth of the Saxons' roster and for their head coach -- making the start of the 2010 campaign a difficult one to say the least, as it never improved as the season went on. "There were times that we dressed just 13 players, which really put extra pressure on everyone, while totally taking away any of rotation which is so important to the way we play, but this year, we're healthy, and have the best depth since I've been here," says Mehreioskouei. With a group which appears to be fully healthy and fit, the focus has been on the strengthening the back, and a pair of newcomers to the club in Abel, from St. Viator, and Michalowski, from club soccer, should be just what the doctor ordered. The senior trio of Franco, Faleni and Savino give the Saxons' balance, experience and the type of attacking magic which can help this club climb up the MSL ladder this fall.

NORTHEASTERN ATHLETIC

Christian Liberty Academy

Coach: Jed Bennett (third year, 10-23-2).

Last Season: 8-9-0, 1-4-0.

Graduation Losses: Shamil Tajuddin (MF, Loyola).

Ones to Watch: Seniors Mike Hennek (MF, 28 g, 8 a), Kiefer Bennett (MF, 9 g, 6 a), Johnny Karr (D), Carl Forsythe (D), Mike Milkowski (D), Noah Johnson (D); juniors Tom Salsgiver (D), Jack Salsgiver (GK), Dave Colbert (F, 8 g, 8 a).

New Faces on the Pitch: Senior Luke Comerouski (MF); junior Beni Filimon (F).

Lowdown: Vast improvement in just the second year of existence for the Chargers, who went from just 2 victories to nearly finishing .500 last fall. "We now have a solid group of experienced players on our roster, including (in) the middle, where we should be our strongest," said Jed Bennett, "and if we can shore things up along the back, we look to compete for a conference championship and a deep run into our regional when the postseason comes around." Bennett figures Rockford Christian to be the team to beat in the NAC, but feels his 1-2 strike force of Hennek and Beachler are the type who can change the course of a match. Veterans along the back line, including GK Salsgiver, should result in a decline in goals against as well.

WEST SUBURBAN GOLD

Leyden

Coach: Mark Valintis (fifth year, 47-33-13).

Last Season: 19-4-2, 5-1-0, WSC Gold

Graduation Losses: David Wisniewski (F, two-time all-state, all-area, 61 career goals, Triton), Arnoldo Reyes (MF, all-area, 45 career assists, Lewis JC), JC Duarte (MF, all-WSC, Aurora University).

Ones to Watch: Seniors Fernando Camacho (D, 4 a), Arthur Bernaciak (D), Oscar Chavarria (MF, 5 g, 5 a), Krystian Drozdz (F, 6 g, 8 a), Marco Granda (GK, 0.74, 13 shutouts); junior Juan Recendez (MF, 5 g, 6 a)

New Faces on the Pitch: Senior Volodymyr Bereskyy (MF); sophomore Edwin Mazon (MF).

Lowdown: Every season has its surprise club -- and the 2010 Eagles were clearly that side as Valintis' lads came within one match of reaching the final four of the 3A state tournament. "Last year was a memorable season for Leyden soccer, and one that we all are very proud of, but we lost 17 seniors to graduation from that team, so we'll need some of our new guys to step in to be productive players to help us compete for a conference championship," says Valintis. Gone is prolific scorer Wisniewski, who created so much trouble and space for others, while the loss of the talented, and underated duo of Reyes and Duarte in the middle of the park will be difficult to replace. However, the Eagles do return a strong back line, beginning with Camacho and Bernaciak, in front of three-year starter Granda between the sticks, and creative MF's Recendez and Chavarria, who appear to have the tactical know-how to fuel the attack.

CSL North

Maine West

Coach: Mike Divicenzo (11th year, 112-75-40).

Last Season: 14-5-7, 2-2-1, regional, sectional champs, lost to Libertyville 3-1 in Loyola supersectional.

Graduation losses: Emmett Turner-Jackson (D, all-area, all-CSL, NIU), Jayson LeSeth (MF, all-area, all-CSL, NIU), Austin O'Toole (D, all-CSL, Aurora University), Ryan Ybarra (Dominican University), Alex Blancas (St. Mary's, Minn.).

Ones to Watch: Seniors Tommy Cerri (MF), Spencer Walton (MF), Roman Contreras (D), Christian Herrera (D), Augustan Bolanos-Quintana (F), Mike Wojtan (D), Will Hepburn (MF), Tait Jensen (MF), Ernesto Garibay (D); juniors Jecsan Torres (GK, 0.76, 13 shutouts), Jerry Espinosa (MF), John DeLeon (D), Josh DeLeon (MF), Chayanne Trejo (F); sophomores Nelson Herrera (F, 7 g, 5 a), Jason Gonzalez (D)

New Faces on the Pitch: Juniors Xavier Gomez (MF), Ozzie Fernandez (D), Dennis Chronopoulos (GK), Alex Contreras (MF); sophomore Alex Herrera (F).

Lowdown: Warriors were impressive last season during their postseason run which brought them within one victory of a first ever state tournament appearance. With tight defense, superb goal-keeping, and a dynamic front six centering on Turner-Jackson and LeSeth, West was the talk of the area during the final weeks of the campaign. The Warriors lost the aforementioned duo, plus two others (O'Toole and Ybarra) who will be hard to replace, but Divicenzo's club has everyone else back, plus a few surprise additions to help fuel what hopes to be another memorable year. "We lost 5 (key) starters, four of whom are playing in college, and although most teams would be devastated with (those) losses, this group isn't, because we return 17, many knowing we fell one game short of the state tourney," says Divincenzo, who are all excited to go even further this year." The addition of top talent club players (Gomez and Alex Herrera) adds even more depth and attacking talent, and after a rebuilt back line gets a few matches under its belt, things will be easier for the acrobatic GK Torres, who enjoyed a record-settinbg record year in 2010.

EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLIC

St. Viator

Coach: Mike Taylor (32nd year, 378-118-77; career, 441-178-98).

Last Season: 17-6-1, 8-0-0, ESCC champs, lost to Libertyville 1-0 in sectional semifinals.

Graduation Losses: Jack Horvath (MF-F, all-area, all-ESSC, sectional, Iowa), Bill Krawzak (MF-F, all-area, all-ESCC), Jack Simpson (D, Illinois), Dan Loizzi (D, Illinois, all-ESCC), Scott Faul (GK, all-ESCC), Joe Surdam (D), Matt Morsches (Iowa), Tim Hogaboom, Nick Abel (D, transfer to Schaumburg).

Ones to Watch: Senior Adam Fetter (MF, 5 g, 4 a, all-area, all-ESCC); juniors Troy Wheeler (D), Ashwin Cornelius (MF), Michael Decker (MF-F); sophomore Spencer Moore (MF-F).

New Faces on the Pitch: Seniors Joe Ferrante (D), Alex Freeman (D); juniors Jackson Owen (F), Andrew Ferrante (MF); sophomore Kevin Klinkenberg (MF).

Lowdown: ESCC champions 11 times, including last season, the Lions were this close with eventual 3A state runners-up Libertyville when they were was forced to play a man down for the final 15 minutes in a 1-0 sectional semifinal loss. However, gone from that club are a trio of all-ESCC stars, including all-area players Horvath and Krawzak, and nearly all of its back line, which longtime head coach Mike Taylor must rebuild as well as find scorers to replace the 21 goals Horvath and Krawzak took with them. "The defense will take a little time, but Troy (Wheeler) is ready to be a dominant player in the are back there, and if we can find players to put the ball into the back of the net, we should be very good and ready to compete for another conference championship and more," said Taylor. A two-week journey to Europe over the summer showcased just how dangerous the trio of Fetter, Cornelius and Moore can be, while the club all around them has a good mix of experience and young talent to help the Lions get through what is always a very competitive nonconference schedule.

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