By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent
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Matt Butz, Geneva
Geneva never put together an extended run this season, settling for an uncharacteristic, 6-7-2 mark in the regular season, but senior forward Matt Butz did his part to help the Vikings remain competitive in most contests. "Matt was an extremely versatile player for us," Geneva coach Ryan Estabrook said. "He scored goals for us, patrolled the midfield and anchored our back line at different times during the season." Butz was involved in 64 percent of the team's scoring, finishing the regular campaign with 9 goals and 5 assists. "His aggressiveness and leaping ability helped him to dominate balls in the air," Estabrook added.
Marshall Farthing, Kaneland
Last spring, Kaneland's Marshall Farthing made a name for himself as a high jumper, having little problem clearing the 6-foot plateau regularly. This fall the senior goalkeeper has utilized his explosive jumping ability and combined great concentration, mental toughness and footwork to reject opponents regularly. Farthing posted a .757 GAA (goals against average) this fall and helped lead the Knights to a 13-3-2 regular season and second place in the NI Big XII (7-2-1). "Marshall was a great keeper last year and ever better this year," Kaneland coach Scott Parillo said. "He has great leaping ability that not many keepers have, he has a cannon of a leg and a rocket of an arm." Farthing stopped 4 of 5 PKs during the regular season.
Brian Gielow, St. Charles East
Not even a fractured ankle could knock out senior midfielder Brian Gielow this fall. While the injury sidelined him for a few games, he fought through the pain and was solid all season long. "He simply played through the pain and to be honest, I don't know many box-to-box midfielders who are as a good as him," St. Charles East coach Paul Jennison said. "He's got everything. He can hit the ball, pass and moves really well."
TC Hull, St. Charles East
As creative and dangerous of a scorer that you'd find in the area this season, junior forward TC Hull finished time and time again this fall. "The kid has got a lot of talent and has been pretty deadly," Saints coach Paul Jennison said. "He's played a fantastic role and scored some valuable goals." While the Saints had many blowout victories this season, Hull seemed to be the go-to guy in the close battles. He scored the game-tying goal against Marmion and had a pair of goals, including an unforgettable acrobatic effort, in the conference-deciding 3-1 victory over Larkin. "He's been that little ex-factor when the ball goes to him because you just never know what can happen," Jennison said. "He's a great kid who leads by example."
Michael Macek, St. Charles East
This year's honorary captain, senior defender Michael Macek, led a defense that made very few mistakes. After losing to Lyons on Aug. 29, the Saints finished off the regular season unbeaten in their final 12 regular season contests (11-0-1). During that amazing run the offense was also off the chart, scoring 60 goals (5 per game) and the defense was equally as dominant, surrendering just 9 goals (0.75 per game). "Everyone has played quite well this year but he's been our main guy leading the back line well," Saints coach Paul Jennison said. "He's been our leader." Even when the team lost defender Kevin Heinrich with a collarbone injury, Macek made sure the defense didn't slack.
Conor Morton, Marmion
First-year coach Ricky Del Toro knew graduation had created some holes from a team that took fourth place in Class 2A last season. Marmion filled some of that void by welcoming the top newcomer in the area this season in freshman forward Conor Morton. All the 14-year-old did was lead the Cadets in scoring with 13 goals and a 14-7-3 record. "He is the center forward who always has a knack for the goal and will find ways to put the ball in the back of the net," Del Toro said. "I am very excited for him and the future that awaits him." Morton had two hat tricks this fall and scored a last-minute equalizer against Wheaton Academy in what proved to be the SCC championship.
Anthony Parillo, Kaneland
Kaneland had been hoping to get scoring by committee this season, but it hasn't worked out that way as junior midfielder Anthony Parillo found the back of the net on 19 occasions (and counting) and did the damage as a midfielder. The Knights finished the regular season with a .722 winning percentage and of their 13 victories, Parillo scored 9 game-winning goals. "Anthony has worked incredibly hard to be the player he has become," Kaneland coach Scott Parillo said. "I have had to put more nails and screws in my fence because of soccer balls being blasted into it. He really is one of the best players in the Chicagoland area and state."
Daniel Rotolo, West Aurora
At 5-foot-6 and 145 pounds, senior midfielder Daniel Rotolo isn't a huge physical presence but he made a huge impact of the field this fall for West Aurora. "He's the heart and soul of the Blackhawks this year," West Aurora coach Joe Sustersic said. "His positive leadership kept us together when we were inexperienced and having hardships early on." Injuries plagued the Blackhawks this season, but Rotolo helped keep the team together, moving to attacking midfielder later in the season to help the team finish 6-1-4. He had 14 assists and 7 goals in the regular season. The team finished in the upper half of the ultracompetitive DVC, stunned co-champion Naperville North and upset Neuqua Valley in the first round of the postseason.
Michael Rueffer, Batavia
Batavia lost most of its 2011 sectional-qualifying team to graduation, but senior Michael Rueffer, who split time in goal last year with Ben Steskal, returned and helped the Bulldogs to a 3-14-3 season that was filled with plenty of growing pains. Rueffer started in goal, but moved into the field at times at the request of coach Mark Gianfrancesco. "He was a great leader and he held himself and the others accountable," Gianfrancesco said. "It didn't seem like we only won 3 games because we were in most games. He had a lot to do with keeping the guys together." Batavia fought to put 80 minutes together but slowly made that ascent as the season progressed. "We got closer to 80 minutes because Mike kept everyone on track," Gianfrancesco said. "The guys were comfortable with him on the field and felt we had a chance for success with him.
Justin Stanko, St. Charles North
St. Charles North has gained a great reputation over the years for its hard-nosed, intelligent defense. This fall, the North Stars never got on track defensively for a variety of reasons but they were able to remain competitive thanks to the play of senior defender Justin Stanko. The Loyola recruit was a fantastic tackler, leading the defense along with Justin Sanchez in front of keeper Billy Larsen. Stanko won just about every 50/50 ball. Additionally, he became a huge scoring threat thanks to his booming right leg, offering arguably the strongest leg in the area since St. Charles East's Charlie Lyon, who is now at Marquette.
Matthew Switzer, Marmion
One of the key holdovers from last year's state-bound team, senior midfielder Matthew Switzer was the captain and engine of the Cadets. "Matt's technical abilities, work ethic and his drive to make others around him better is what makes him a potential Division I player," Marmion coach Ricky Del Toro said. "He has not yet decided if he wants to play at the next level, but he can certainly be successful at that level." Switzer undoubtedly left his mark at Marmion where he finished off a four-year career that began in 2009 as a defender. He was an all-conference and IHSSCA all-sectional selection.