Austin Bitta Libertyville
Seeing the field and knowing what to do with the ball before anybody else did, Austin Bitta has unbelievable playmaking ability in the midfield for Libertyville every time he steps on the pitch. Bitta has produced 18 goals and 21 assists before Friday's sectional final matchup against Stevenson. "He has great vision of the field and has led the team in assists the last three years," Libertyville coach Andy Bitta said. "What has made him a better player this year was moving his position to the middle of the field and getting into the weight room in the off-season."
Evan Borden Vernon Hills
Contributions rose right alongside the general team improvement of the Cougars this past fall. Evan Borden had quite an individual jump, too, netting 16 goals and 2 assists. "He was a big contributor to turning the program around at VHHS," said his coach, Vince DeLuca, of this four-year starter. "He was a positive leader on and off the field for us, played hard each and every game with a competitive attitude."
Lloyd Chatfield Libertyville
A top-notch goal scorer, Lloyd Chatfield had premier talents and dominated with his abilities when the Wildcats turned to him up front. Chatfield has contributed 16 goals and 6 assists entering Friday's sectional final against Stevenson. "(He's) a great finisher and one of the best players," Libertyville coach Andy Bitta said. "He's one of the best that I have ever coached at shielding and turning with the ball, and I'd love to have him for another year."
Ross Comitor Stevenson
Ross Comitor was a dependable leader of Stevenson's stingy back-line pack in a lot of ways. The Patriots have allowed only 7 goals with him on the field this fall. "He's a big reason that our team has performed so well at denying goals," Stevenson coach Mark Schartner said. "He is one on the best one-on-one defenders we have ever had. He has the ability and timing to challenge and never fail. With great communication skills, Ross simply is the complete player."
Ryan Fontana Grayslake Central
Ryan Fontana led by example, and it only helped that he'd had plenty of experience as a four-year starter for Grayslake Central. Fontana played several spots but made his top contributions defensively. "He is one of the quickest players I have ever coached, and his ability to lead is fantastic," Grayslake Central coach Mike McCaulou said. "He was the best overall athlete on our team by far this year and he used his athleticism to his advantage by cutting down attackers at better angles to win possession of the ball. He was so confident and composed on the ball, which was very important for our team seeing him play out of the back."
Iven Hernandez Antioch
Play-making ability can go a long way toward leading a team, as Iven Hernandez did all season long as a sophomore in the Sequoits' midfield. "Iven is a very special player for our team," Antioch coach Marni Polakow said. "He's the leading scorer and playmaker. He has the ability to successfully take multiple players on at one time. This year was more challenging for him because people knew about him, but he was often able to overcome double and triple teams."
Lucas Istvanek Lakes
Lucas Istvanek was the player Lakes could always count on. A senior midfielder, Istvanek netted 12 goals and 5 assists, with 5 game-winning goals and 8 headers. "This year, he has been the heart and soul of our team," Lakes coach Kevin Kullby said. "He plays every minute strong on both sides of the ball. He has been a force on this team that has helped Lakes to its best regular season record in the school's history."
Arnaud Laroche-Bataille Grayslake North
To get the attack going forward, Grayslake North turned to Arnaud Laroche-Bataille. His well-rounded skills netted him 6 goals and 5 assists. "He's been running the show for us all season long." Grayslake North coach Adam DeCaluwe said. "As Arnaud goes, so do we. He dictates so much for this team, whether it is the attitude and approach or the purpose and intensity in our play. He has size, fight, touch and vision, and with all of those, he can dominate the midfield and distribute."
Quentin Low Stevenson
It would be tough to find a better goalkeeping season than the one Quentin Low has produced: 15 shutouts and 5 goals allowed so far. Low also had 38 clean sheets in four years and holds Stevenson's single-season and career goalkeeping records. "He's simply one of the best keepers in the state," Stevenson coach Mark Schartner said. "He has all the tools that make him a top Division I player including outstanding quickness, timing, positioning, communication and composure. His work ethic is off the charts. He has performed at the highest level. He has no weaknesses."
Ramon Marin Lakes
Ramon Marin was the perfect set-up man for the Eagles as he finished the season 6-for-6 on penalty kick chances. It wasn't all about dead-ball opportunities, though, as the senior midfielder totaled 8 goals and 9 assists. "He has been our playmaker, making timely passes of all distances all over the field," Lakes coach Kevin Kullby said. "He has scored some great goals from outside the box this season."
Jesus Marquez Wauconda
When Jesus Marquez went down with a shoulder injury, it quickly became apparent that an important player was missing from Wauconda's attack. Once Marquez returned to the field, the Bulldogs were a much improved team as his 10 goals and 7 assists attest. "He was such a dynamic player that had the ability to turn the tide of a game through sheer will," Wauconda coach Patrick Heckmann said. "He had a never-say-die attitude that the entire team rallied around."
Jose Martinez Round Lake
Part of the success of Round Lake is due to the improvement of it goalkeeper, Jose Martinez. He produced half of the team's victories by shutouts, 9 total. Martinez also made his mark by stopping 3 of 4 penalty shots this season. "He would come up with great saves," Round Lake coach Hugo Tellez said. "He's a great person and player that feeds off others. When he's on his game, there's no stopping him."
Matt Montemayor Lake Zurich
There was a lot Matt Montemayor could do for Lake Zurich in the midfield. A lot of it had to do with his own dribbling and distributing ability to go along with his scoring (8 goals, 4 assists). "He's a very skilled player with incredible touch on the ball," Lake Zurich coach Michael Schmitz said. "It often seems as if the ball is tied to his foot. He's able to use his skills, speed and strength to be a consistent playmaker. Matt constantly sets up his teammates for scoring opportunities and creates his own. He had to be all over the field, and he met that challenge."
Toshiki Niimi Stevenson
Whether in the midfield or up top, Toshiki Niimi was reliable for Stevenson through the season and into the postseason. Niimi scored 6 goals and 10 assists and will be at Rice University next fall. "An outstanding holder of the ball, he has the ability to make all other players better because of his unselfish play," Stevenson coach Mark Schartner said. "He really is our calm leader, always in control and keeps his teammates accountable."
Trevor Ray Lakes
Aptly named, Trevor Ray regularly shined for the Eagles thanks to his superior quickness. The forward delivered 19 goals and 6 assists this season. "He's the consumate striker, combining blinding speed to go with his instincts to score goals," Lakes coach Kevin Kullby said. "There isn't a game where he hasn't had chances to score. He presents problems for opposing defenses and can also find his teammates for scoring opportunities."
Harrison Richards Mundelein
Dependable and durability? That's exactly what Mundelein got out of Harrison Richards in the 20 games he started on defense. "He has been one of our most reliable and consistent players," Mundelein coach Ernie Billittier said. "He's technically and tactically sound and has size and speed to complement those qualities. His composure on the field and in the heart of defense is a major factor in games where we have been successful."
Edgar Rodriguez Round Lake
The Panthers' strength started in the back with Edgar Rodriguez on the prowl. He proved this year that he was one of the best in the school's history at defending. "He has turned into one of the best defenders in Round Lake for being one of our smallest players, but his knowledge of the game and vision erases his height disadvantage," Round Lake coach Hugo Tellez. "He showed great leadership and controlled the defense in each game we played."
Mauricio Salgado Round Lake
In another record-breaking year for Round Lake, much of the recent success can be traced back to Mauricio Salgado. He shattered records over his four years with 86 goals and 59 assists, and this season produced single-season records with 31 goals and 14 assists from playing midfield and up top. "He was a great person on and off the field and one of the hardest workers I've had," Round Lake coach Hugo Tellez said. "His leadership and his love for the game has helped Round Lake win back the Prairie Division." He has Loyola in his soccer future.
Michael Scheer took on the role of smart leader in the Corsairs' midfield on his way to finishing with 8 goals and 11 assists this fall. "He was a natural leader and a skilled soccer player," Carmel coach Ray Krawzak said. "While his ability on the ball and his pass accuracy are hard to rival, his soccer IQ is his greatest strength. He knows where to be and where the ball should go. He leads his teammates by setting a great example at practices and games."
Auner Solis Warren
Solis returned this season from injuries that kept him out last year. If there were a comeback player of the year awarded, Solis would be in the leading nominee. The Blue Devils' leading scorer with 20 goals and 6 assists bounced back and has Warren playing in Friday's sectional final at Rockford Auburn. "He battled through injuries last year and was back healthy this season," Warren coach Jason Ahonen said. "He showed a lot of ability and was able to score from anywhere on the field with both feet."
Daniel Szczepanek Warren
Our all-area captain and a returning member of the team, Daniel Szczepanek was a complete player for Warren. He has 13 goals and 22 assists entering Friday's sectional final against Barrington at Rockford Auburn. "He was a leader of this team," Warren coach Jason Ahonen said. "He's skillful, unselfish and a true winner. He really controls everything and took on more responsibility this season."
Andres Velarde Grant
Hard work does pay off in the long run, and Andres Velarde is the proof. His work led to results all season long as evidenced by 9 goals and 4 assists from his midfield spot. "He was consistently the hardest worker on the field that demanded attention from the opposition," Grant coach Bryan Mark said. "He's an excellent distributor of the ball as well as a goal-scoring threat. He was a real force up top, often by himself, and worked harder than any other player."
Nick Wegrznowicz Warren
Players who work hard are the norm at Warren, and no one exemplified that standard better than Nick Wegrznowicz. He played the outside midfield position with reliably great effort and results: 13 goals and 6 assists. "He complements what we have in our scoring up front," Warren coach Jason Ahonen said. "He's a hard-working winger that has good touch and a good individual skill set."
Ralf Zehtner Libertyville
Libertyville found Ralf Zehtner a spot on the field that turned out to both his and the team's benefit. "He has been a tremendous marking back for the team," Libertyville coach Andy Bitta said. "Has shut down the best forwards that we have played against this year. He could've play anywhere on the field for us but sacrificed individual stats for team success."
Player School Pos. Yr.
Austin Bitta Libertyville Sr. MF
Evan Borden Vernon Hills Sr. F
Lloyd Chatfield Libertyville Jr. F
Ross Comitor Stevenson Sr. D
Ryan Fontana Grayslake Central Sr. D
Iven Hernandez Antioch So. MF/F
Lucas Istvanek Lakes Sr. MF
Arnaud Laroche-Bataille Grayslake North Sr. MF
Quentin Low Stevenson Sr. GK
Ramon Marin Lakes Sr. MF
Jesus Marquez Wauconda Sr. MF/F
Jose Martinez Round Lake Jr. GK
Matt Montemayor Lake Zurich Sr. MF
Toshiki Niimi Stevenson Sr. MF/F
Trevor Ray Lakes Sr. F
Harrison Richards Mundelein Sr. D
Edgar Rodriguez Round Lake Sr. D
Mauricio Salgado Round Lake Sr. MF/F
Michael Scheer Carmel Sr. MF
Auner Solis Warren Sr. F
*Daniel Szczepanek Warren Sr. MF
Andres Velarde Grant Sr. MF
Nick Wegrznowicz Warren Sr. MF
Ralf Zehtner Libertyville Sr. D
* All-area team captain
Raul Albor (Round Lake) So. MF; Jon Borzick (Lakes) Jr. MF; Ryan Bryson (Vernon Hills) Jr. D; Andrew Burton (Antioch) Sr. D; Adam Cloe (Carmel) Jr. MF/F; Lorenzo Cortez (Round Lake) Sr. MF; Michael Dobin (Stevenson) Jr. D; Ryan Flores (Grant) Sr. D; Thomas Furlong (Antioch) So. D; Richard Galat (Lakes) Jr. D; Rongelio Gonzalez (Wauconda) Sr. MF; Ian Hesch (Lake Zurich) Sr. D; Sean Kirwan (Warren) Sr. MF; Peter Kolb (Carmel) Sr. F; Isaac Longenecker (Grayslake Central) So. MF; Timothy Oehrlein (Grant) Jr. MF; Rafa Macias (Warren) Jr. MF; Jonny Madrid (Grayslake Central) So. F; Eric Morales (Mundelein) Jr. D; Joey Mudd (Grayslake Central) So. F; Edgar Nieto (Round Lake) So. MF; Baruk Perez-Vera (Grayslake North) Jr. F; Jimmy Pieper (Warren) Sr. D; Alex Prillaman (Libertyville) Jr. D; Jonathan Ramirez (Vernon Hills) Jr. GK; John Repplinger (Lake Zurich) Jr; MF; Oscar Rodriguez (Round Lake) Jr. D; Michael Rohrer (Grayslake North) Sr. D; Dan Ross (Lake Zurich) So. D; Alec Schory (Libertyville) Jr. GK; Alejandro Terrazas (Mundelein) Sr. MF; Andres Thedorf (Grayslake North) Jr. D; Erik VanTreek (Antioch) Sr. MF/F; Nick Vogel (Libertyville) Jr. MF/F; Tim Warzala (Wauconda) Sr. D; Michael Weinstein (Stevenson) Sr. D. David White (Vernon Hills) Jr. MF; Phillip Williams (Libertyville) Sr. MF.
Selections by Rusty Silber