Giovanni Bailon, Fenton
Bailon missed the first six games of the season recovering from a hip fracture, but once the senior forward returned, boy, did he make an impression. Combining great speed with skill, Bailon always warranted the opposition's attention, forcing him to battle double-teams. Bailon won most of the battles, finishing with 13 goals and 2 assists in the regular season. "He has been an absolute pleasure to have in our program," Fenton coach David Alvarez said. "He is a major factor in the respect that Fenton has gained as a soccer program during his career. Bailon will finish with more than 60 goals and over 30 assists.
Max Carey, WW South
A unanimous all-DVC selection, the senior forward was a game changer this fall, scoring 17 goals and dishing out 4 assists for Wheaton Warrenville South. He accounted for half the goals the Tigers scored in the regular season. "His presence and leadership on the field make him an intricate part in our ability to threaten and our ability to defend," Tigers coach Guy Callipari said. "His vision coupled with his technical ability to serve, pass, dribble or shoot, keeps most defensive systems off balance and reinventing." Carey is considering Wheaton College or Gordon (Mass.).
Kyle Dal Santo, Benet
The senior goalkeeper is no stranger here. This is the third consecutive year he's been named to the Daily Herald All-Area team. "Technically as good as any player I have ever seen at the high school level," Benet coach Sean Wesley said. "He had no technical weakness: distribution, reflexes, hands, footwork and positioning." He finished the regular season with 11 shutouts and a 0.55 GAA. Has 32 varsity shutouts heading into his final postseason. Dal Santo has committed to Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.
Pat Flynn, Naperville Central
Through Naperville Central's sectional semifinal Tuesday, the senior forward has scored in 19 of the Redhawks 21 games this season. He's done this despite being a marked man. His insane ability to be able to put the ball in the net this fall resulted in him being named the DuPage County All-Area team's captain. "He often has two or three players keeping track of him, but he has found a way to score," Naperville Central coach Troy Adams said. "Pat's technical ability is what makes him special."
Gabe Gongora, Metea Valley
There's no doubt who's the leader of Metea Valley, a team that won the first regional title in program history last Saturday. That would be Gongora, who was in goal in a 1-0 shutout over West Chicago for the title. Gongora also gave the team a boost, playing some midfield this season, including a win over Benet when he scored a goal. "He just has a desire to win and drives his teammates," Mustangs coach Josh Robinson said. "He holds himself and his teammates to a high expectation and his energy is great, as he pressures so hard throughout the pitch." Whenever the Mustangs needed a spark this fall, Gongora delivered. "His desire and dedication has been a catalyst for our success," Robinson added. Gongora had 108 saves in the regular season.
Nathan Hall, Glenbard West
Hall was the go-to guy for Glenbard West this season. He found the back of the net on 16 occasions and added 4 assists. Two of the goals came in a 2-0 win over Oak Park. "He is an attacking player with a great sense of movement in the final third," Glenbard West coach Maciej Kusmierz said. "His ability to score goals with both feet, as well as his head, makes him almost a complete forward." Hall possessed great speed strength and had a good nose for sniffing out goal-scoring opportunities.
Daniel Hernandez, West Chicago
Nicknamed "Danny Boy," the senior was the vocal leader of the West Chicago back line. "Danny is a great leader and communicates extremely well with all of his defenders while making sure to organize the backline," West Chicago coach Jose Villa said. "He is an extremely skilled player and I have great confidence in him that he will get the job done in back." Although just 5-foot-4, Hernandez never backed down from a challenge, always fighting for 50/50s and playing the game tough.
Joe Keane, Lake Park
An IHSSCA all-sectional and UEC all-conference selection, the midfielder was one of the top juniors in the area this season and likely will be a team captain in 2013. "With each game Joe is establishing himself as one of the dominant players," Lake Park coach Tony Passi said. "Joe possesses good vision of the field. His technical skills allow him to control the midfield and create opportunities in the final third." Keane was also a threat on throws and direct plays.
Jimmy Kotowski, Neuqua Valley
The third-year player was the heart and soul of Neuqua Valley, which finished 10-7-2. "He has a strong bond with his teammates, plays with intensity and enthusiasm, is strong in the air and reads the game well from the center back position," Wildcats coach Skip Begley said. Kotowski didn't begin practicing until late August because he was in Georgia for National Guard basic training. "In this second game of the season (team's sixth) against York in the Best of the West he scored our team's only goal," Begley said. "He helped us begin our season turnaround."
Javier Leyva, Addison Trail
Addison Trail coach Ryan Dini called Leyva "the best player to come through Addison Trail in the last 10 years." Leyva was dynamite, scoring 19 goals and contributing 12 assists while playing in 17 regular-season games. "His ability to win 50/50 balls in the air and on the ground in unmatched," Dini said. "He is so strong when he has the ball and uses his body exceptionally well. He scored five of his goals this year on dead balls outside the box which he can drill with either foot." Leyva controlled the game in the center of the field and led the Blazers to a 13-5-1 mark in the regular season.
Christian Meyer, Hinsdale Central
Hinsdale Central went undefeated in conference for just the third time in school history and won a regional title this season. The junior forward had a lot to do with the team's success, which included a 17-3-3 record heading into sectionals. "Christian is a relentless attacking player that possesses the technical ability to break open a game at any time," Red Devils coach Michael Wiggins said. "Depending on the opponent and system of play we face, he has the ability of playing in several different positions which adds to his versatility and effectiveness." He had 12 assists and 8 goals during the regular season.
Diego Muņoz, West Chicago
The senior midfielder dictated the pace of the game for a West Chicago squad that finished 14-7-3, but five of those losses were by a single goal. "He is the engine in the center midfield and is an incredibly skilled player that has great speed and great vision," West Chicago coach Jose Villa said. "Diego is able to take a tough pass and control is at his foot with ease." Muņoz finished with 8 goals and 9 assists as he always seemed to find the open man, despite having to often fight through two to three defenders at a time.
Jack Patrick, Naperville Central
It took more than natural ability for Pat Flynn to become the all-time leading scorer in Naperville Central history, and Jack Patrick had a great deal to do with it as he controlled the midfield all fall and put his teammates, including Flynn, in great position to lead the offensive attack. "He does all the dirty work that allows the midfielders in front of him to attack the goal," Naperville Central coach Troy Adams said. "His vision to see the field and his ability to locate the open player has improved our ability to hold the ball."
Mike Pavliga, Naperville Central
Naperville Central had the best defensive effort in the 35 years of the program and the senior started every game in the goal. What's most amazing is that the Redhawks back line was comprised of four defenders who were new at the varsity level. "Michael has all the tools and skills that a coach would want in a goalkeeper," Naperville Central coach Troy Adams said. "He has incredibly soft hands, often able to catch balls that other goalies would punch or push away." Pavliga is the school record holder in shutouts. He's had 13 shutouts this season and only surrendered 7 goals (a 0.37 GAA) through Oct. 22.
Frankie Saiz, Waubonsie Valley
Waubonsie Valley wasn't doing much through mid-September, playing inconsistently and under. 500 at 5-6-1. Suddenly, the Warriors turned things on, won eight straight and finished 13-7-1. A crucial key to their success was the offense provided by Saiz, who scored 13 goals and had 4 assists. "Frankie has been a pleasant surprise for our team this year," Warriors coach Angelo DiBernardo said. "He has matured as a player and as a person. His skills and confidence level have grown tremendously." Waubonsie Valley's offense depended on Saiz this fall, and he came throughout continually. "He has been our most valuable offensive player this year," DiBernardo added.
Paul Selman, Glenbard West
A stingy defense kept Glenbard West in the hunt for a WSC Silver championship, which it fell just short of accomplishing. Selman, a junior, led the way for the Hilltoppers in back as the team had a great regular season, finishing with a 13-3 record before falling in the open round of the state series. Glenbard West posted 9 shutouts and whenever an opponent had something brewing, Selman usually stepped in to thwart the attack. "Unbelievable work rate and pace to his game," Glenbard West coach Maciej Kusmierz said. "He's great in defensive/destructive assignments on the field."
Grant Stoneman, Wheaton Academy
The junior had to sit and watch from the sidelines a season ago because he transferred from Burlington Central. This year he was named the Suburban Christian Conference Player of the Year, which made a whole lot of sense as Stoneman finished the regular season with 22 goals and 15 assists from the central midfield position. Stoneman led the Warriors in each statistical category. "Grant is an extremely talented player who works hard every day he steps on the field," Warriors coach Jeff Brooke said. "His creativity, first touch and ability to be dangerous make him unlike most players. He simply loves the game."
Joe Sullivan, Naperville North
One of the best offensive weapons in the state this season, the senior came up with so many big plays for the Huskies, including a goal that helped the Huskies hand Naperville Central its lone regular-season loss. The Bowling Green State recruit finished with 16 goals and 16 assists. "Joe is without question one of the most dangerous playmakers in the area, single-handedly creating chances for us by beating two or three players and then slotting the ball through to one of our forwards," Huskies coach Jim Konrad said. "His vision is exceptional and he can take a game over at any time." Sullivan finishes as the all-time assists leader at Naperville North.
Robert Tomecek, Benet
Benet coach Sean Wesley had the luxury of choosing where to play Tomecek, because he's talented enough to play anywhere. Wesley chose left back, and Tomecek was brilliant. "He has redefined what playing outside defense means at Benet Academy," Wesley said. "He used his talents and work ethic to help Benet dominate the defensive one-third of the field. His teammates will always remember his team first attitude, caring more about team accomplishments than any individual award." Tomecek had 11 assists and scored a goal.
Neil Wiaranowski, Naperville North
Naperville North finished another fantastic season, shutting out 10 opponents and finishing with a 15-4 record. "Neil has been the key to our defensive success this season," Huskies coach Jim Konrad said of the senior defender. "His athleticism and technical ability have made him one of the most dominant players on the field in every game this year." He has also been a threat on the offensive end, scoring some timely goals in big games. Wiaranowski had 3 goals and 3 assists.