Coach: Eric Cournaya
Last year: 12-6-1; lost 5-1 to Hinckley-Big Rock in Class 1A Aurora Central regional semifinals.
Top players: Enrique Anaya (Jr. MF), Eddy Eastwood (Sr., D), Keith Latham (Sr., D), Mike O'Donnell (Sr., GK), Saul Sanchez (Jr., MF)
Outlook: The Chargers are coming off a great 12-6-1 season and will turn to senior stopper Eddy Eastwood, fellow senior sweeper Keith Latham and goalie Mike O'Donnell, yet another senior. "For the season I expect us to be in the mid to top tier of the conference," Chargers coach Eric Cournaya said. "I feel we will be able to play a good style of the possession game. We should be able to tie or top last year's record and make a good run in the state tournament." Juniors Enrique Anaya and Saul Sanchez are expected to patrol the midfield while sophomore Victory Franco should be a fine addition to the defense.
Coach: Mark Gianfrancesco
Last year: 15-6-3; lost 3-2 to Naperville Central in Class 3A Naperville North sectional semifinals
Top players: John Barnes, Jr., MF, Ryan Milligan, Sr., D, Michael Rueffer, Sr., GK, Nick Samperi, Jr., D
Outlook: Batavia will be a much different team than a season ago, when a senior-laden squad won a conference title and advanced to the Class 3A sectional semifinals before losing a heartbreaker to Naperville Central. The Bulldogs only return four players with varsity experience. They'll turn to a good mix of inexperienced juniors and seniors as well as sophomores Kevin Collins and Adam Heinz and freshman Andrew Barrowman. Needless to say, the team will likely have a difficult path to success this season. "They're young and going to just be learning what it takes to play at this level," Batavia coach Mark Gianfrancesco said. "We're just going to have to be patient."
Coach: Ryan Estabrook
Last year: 7-8-2; lost 3-0 to St. Charles North in Class 3A Elk Grove Village regional championship.
Top players: Matt Butz, Sr., F., David Goodyear, Sr., MF, Beck Nebergall, Jr., MF, Josh Poythress, Sr., MF, Alex Zefron, Sr., F
Outlook: There's a good group of experienced players returning this fall for a Vikings squad that will look to finish on the bright side of .500 after an inconsistent 2011. Seniors Josh Poythress and Matt Butz are a proven scoring combo, but the Vikings will need others to step up, including midfielders David Goodyear, Beck Nebergall and Grant Bracken. Senior Alex Zefron and Phelipie Graske both will need to find the back of the net, while the back line will need to mature quickly. Junior Brian Pacilio is the only defender who returns with varsity experience. Look for newcomers Sam Urben and Madison Oleson to be key players on defense.
Coach: Scott Parillo
Last year: 12-7-1; lost 1-0 to Marmion in Class 2A Freeport (DeKalb) regional championship.
Top players: Marshall Farthing Sr., GK, Alex Gil, Sr., F/MF, Alec Koczka, Jr., D/MF, Anthony Parillo, Jr., MF/F
Outlook: Kaneland will need to replace the scoring they lost since Jordan Escobedo graduated, but they Knights have plenty of reasons to be excited this spring, especially with senior Alex Gil and junior Anthony Parillo returning. Plus, the team has a strong presence in goal in Marshall Farthing and is experienced, boasting a roster of 9 seniors, 10 juniors and a sophomore. "We have a lot of experience which is something we haven't had in the past," Kaneland coach Scott Parillo said. "The biggest thing is we have to stay healthy. We're not starting the season healthy and hope to be healthy (early in September.)" Tyler Siebert, Sam Rymarz and Arsim Azemi also return for the Knights squad that has a great deal of talent and experience, but it can only be utilized if the guys stay healthy enough to battle for 80 minutes every night. "It's all predicated on whether we can stay healthy," Parillo said. "We've got some bigger teams on our schedule like Geneva which are only going to help us in the long run."
Coach: Ricky Del Toro
Last year: 19-8-3; lost 2-1 to Chatham Glenwood in Class 2A state semifinals. Took 4th place in 2A.
Top players: Flynn Collins, Jr., F, Luke DeSimone, Jr., D, Matthew Switzer, Sr., F
Outlook: Marmion is coming off an unforgettable season that saw the Cadets just fall short of advancing to the Class 2A state championship game in longtime coach Kevin O'Connor's final year at the helm. They welcome first-year coach Ricky Del Toro and while they bid farewell to standouts Mike Frasca and Mick Maley, they return Matthew Switzer, who led the team with 18 assists, as well as Flynn Collins and Luke DeSimone, among others. "We will be a very strong possession oriented team with an attacking flair," Del Toro said. The Cadets welcome a strong class of newcomers. Don't be surprised if sophomore Gavin Sanchew and freshmen Conor Morton and Joe Duffield see a lot of playing time as the Cadets aim to defend the Suburban Catholic Conference title they shared with Wheaton Academy last year.
St. Charles East
Coach: Paul Jennison
Last year: 6-10-1; lost to Larkin 2-0 in Class 3A St. Charles East regional semifinals.
Top players: Brian Gielow, Sr., MF, Michael Macek, Sr., D,
Outlook: A fantastic start to the season has St. Charles East thinking of big things this fall. The Saints finished off a perfect 3-0 during a trip to Carbondale and have started the season 5-0. Last year, they only won six times. "We've been fortunate this year to get a full week of practice before school started," Saints coach Paul Jennison said. "It's an opportunity for better cohesiveness and after being a young team last year, the guys can now continue to progress." Juniors Chris Lucatoro and Mike Novotny both have talent in goal, while senior Michael Macek is back to lead a defense that will likely allow the Saints to remain to compete against most opponents. Forwards TC Hull and Zach Manibog will look to drive home game winners while a steady mix of returnees and newcomers will likely settle in to fill holes left by graduation.
St. Charles North
Coach: Eric Willson
Last year: 14-5-3; lost to Schaumburg 2-1 in Class 3A Bartlett sectional championship.
Top players: Kyle Swanson, Sr., F, Justin Stanko, Sr., D
Outlook: The North Stars took quite a hit from graduation, but they've found a way to rebuild year after year as they won their sixth regional title in seven years last season. This fall they no longer have Garrett Creasor in goal or the dynamite combination of Mike Winhoffer and Tyler Davis. That said, the North Stars will turn to plenty of new faces this season, including Billy Larsen who will replace Creasor in the net.
Coach: Joe Sustersic
Last year: 15-9-0; lost to Wheaton Warrenville South 2-1 in Class 3A Naperville Central regional semifinals.
Top players: Alex Guillen, Jr., GK, Daniel Rotolo, Sr., MF, Danny Talancon, Sr., MF.
Outlook: The Blackhawks only return three starters and four other lettermen so they'll have a bunch of new faces in the mix. Furthermore, the same returnees only accounted for four of the team's goals so offensively the team is going to need some new players to step up. The defense will also be new as the five players who played significantly last fall all graduated. "The 2012 Blackhawks want to prove that they can play with anyone," West Aurora coach Joe Sustersic said. "The lack of experience does not take into account their youthful enthusiasm, ability and desire to succeed." Juan Cerda, Miguel Moreno, Jose Gallegos and Zak Flynn are expected to control the midfield and help create scoring chances for Manny Gurrola, Nay Sirr and Steve Rivera.