West Chicago hopes to return some of that old Recchia magic to the boys basketball program.
On Monday, West Chicago graduate Bill Recchia was hired as the new varsity coach, succeeding the two-year tenure of another ex-Wildcat, Kevin Baldus. Recchia scored a program-record 1,461 points from 1979-83.
“This opportunity presented itself and obviously it was something I could not pass up,” Recchia said. “It’s absolutely an honor to be part of West Chicago again. My goal is to get the level of excitement back at West Chicago basketball.”
Recchia, who played two years at guard and forward at Illinois Tech and a third season at Texas Lutheran before an ankle injury ended his career, coached in the Wildcats’ program from 1988-95. He then started his own State Farm Insurance franchise but returned as Naperville Central’s sophomore coach for two seasons starting in 2005-06.
As of Monday, Recchia had yet to speak with his players; a team meeting was scheduled for Friday. He’ll likely stress a defense-first philosophy.
“We’re going to be aggressive,” he said. “Everyone’s going to know that they played us, let’s put it that way. Our trademark is going to be hard-nosed defense and we’re playing the game for the entire time, there’s not going to be any quit in our team.”
Recchia said competitive “seeds have been planted” in the form of a youth feeder program started by Baldus, whom Recchia coached as a prep.
“I just really want to get the community and student body to get excited about West Chicago basketball again,” Recchia said. “I think what’s been started by the previous coach, Kevin Baldus, is something to really build on, and I want to take it to the next level. And hopefully we can do that.”
We recently noted Naperville Central goalkeeper Mike Pavliga’s program shutouts record. Pavliga’s Redhawks and Galaxy Soccer Club teammate Pat Flynn has done the same on the goal-scoring end.
The Division I-bound (though undecided) Flynn scored his 39th varsity goal in a 3-1 win over Oswego East on Saturday. That eclipses the 38 Chris Prince scored for the Redhawks between 2007-09. Prince still owns the single-season mark of 27 in 2009, but that may also be in jeopardy.
Flynn raised his season total to 18 goals in Tuesday’s 5-0 win over Wheaton North. The all-sectional player and team tri-captain has five regular-season games remaining and, as the Redhawks are 13-0 and coming off a state runner-up finish, may be around awhile in the state series.
Metea Valley art teacher Karly Olson has composed a winning look in black and gold.
She coaches the Mustangs’ girls tennis squad, which improved to 21-4 on the season after Tuesday’s 4-3 win over Waubonsie Valley. On Thursday Metea seeks the program’s first win over defending Upstate Eight Conference champion and host Neuqua Valley.
An interesting sidelight to Tuesday’s match is both Olson and Waubonsie tennis coach Phil Galow are art teachers.
“I teach two classes at Waubonsie in the mornings and we chat about how our teams are doing,” Olson wrote Tuesday in a late-night email. “It makes for a fun, competitive atmosphere when our teams face each other. I think there is a mutual respect on both sides.”
Against Waubonsie, Kelsey Chin improved to 16-2 at first doubles, and Metea earned the win on doubles strength. The teams of Tyler Proszowski/Kaitlyn Hammerly, Madison Madrid/Delaney Early (unbeaten on the year) and Hannah Moore/Melissa Frantzen all went home winners.
The Mustangs started rolling when on Aug. 25 they won their own Mustang Quad for the first time, beating Benet, Evanston and Oswego. On Sept. 8 the girls competed at a four-team St. Viator invitational without losing a match. Ana Woods, Emily Dixon, Nandita Baloo and Maddie Collins are also part of Metea’s success story.
Olson reported that her pre-Waubonsie pep talk actually occurred Monday. Intensity then percolated.
“I’ve never seen them so focused, and it showed on the court,” Olson noted. “They took care of business where they needed to and made their presence known.”
“I can’t wait, personally,” said Beth Maroney, who hopes 300 other Glenbard South supporters feel the same about simultaneously celebrating the schools’ 40th year and raising dough for its new turf field.
Maroney is part of a booster club effort titled “Taking it to The Bank,” a $60 per person fundraiser from 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Oct. 6 featuring raffles, games and a silent auction at The Bank Restaurant in Wheaton. Appetizers and dessert are on the docket as are the soulful stylings of Raiders alumnus Megan Hickman & Company.
“I think there is some beauty in the fact that she is a graduate,” said Maroney, who hopes like-minded folks gather to support the Raider Stadium Project.
That project hosted its first varsity contest with an Aug. 29 boys soccer loss to Lisle, followed two days later by the football team’s thrilling win over Bloom Twp. This week the eight-lane track will get a fifth layer applied to its surface, with the lanes striped next week.
“There’s been great feedback,” said Glenbard South athletic director John Treiber. “We’ve had very good compliments, no negatives. Once you have it, you can’t believe how long you’ve gone without it. It’s amazing — you don’t have to worry about weather anymore.”
In addition to Maroney’s marketing efforts, Glenbard South types extending to retired track and cross country coach Andy Preuss are spreading the word. Ticket sales were to close Thursday, but you know how these things go — they’ll be available at Friday’s homecoming football game against Riverside-Brookfield. And no one will ever decline donations.
Julie Fonda, Glenbard South softball and girls basketball coach and Class of ’96, is appealing to all the classmates she can find.
“It’s hard to say because we haven’t done this before, but you put together alumni and community members that care about this school, and you can put together powerful things,” she said.
“We’d love to kind of create a rallying point for the school to go forward not just for the turf but even further.”
Maroney hopes the rally reaches critical mass Oct. 6.
“The bottom line is an event is only as fun as the people that attend,” she said, “so we want everyone to show up.”
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