Boys soccer/Fox Valley all-area team
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Eduardo Arellano Dundee-Crown Chargers
Arellano finished the year with 10 goals and 3 assists, helping D-C to a 19-1-1 overall mark. A senior midfielder, Arellano was named to the all-sectional team. "Eduardo is great with the ball, has great vision for the field and anticipates plays better than most," said D-C coach Rey Vargas. "Eduardo was a big offensive threat for us this year."
Nestor Ascencio Streamwood Sabres
The honorary co-captain of the Daily Herald's All-Area boys' soccer team, Ascencio scored 5 goals and 19 assists en route to earning first-team all-Midwest honors, which puts him in the running for a second All-America selection. He also was named to the all-state first-team and the all-Upstate Eight Conference first team. Ascencio was named to the all-tournament team at the prestigious Pepsi Showdown (only 11 players earned the honor). "Nestor is the best box-to-box midfielder in the state," said Streamwood coach Matt Polovin. "He is one of the toughest competitors to play against and what he has done to help this year's team achieve greatness when 90 percent of the team had no previous varsity experience makes him the No. 1 player in the area as well as the state. He is a one-of-a-kind player who makes high school soccer fun to watch."
Sergio Blanco Streamwood Sabres
Blanco, a junior goalie, finished the regular season with 13 total shutouts, including seven in a row at one point — two of those coming against standout St. Charles East in a five-day time frame. Blanco finished with a 0.50 goals-against average. He was voted the top goalie in the room in the all-sectional/all-state voting, which earned him an all-state accolade. Blanco also was an all-Upstate Eight Conference first-team pick. "Sergio has the anticipation and catlike reflexes where he seems to know where the ball is headed before it even leaves the player's foot," said Streamwood coach Matt Polovin. "He has a tremendous ability to dive or each the ball at impossible angles."
Mike Delaney Streamwood Sabres
A junior, central defender, Delaney finished the year with one goal. "Mike was the centerpiece and dominating force behind our defense," said Streamwood coach Matt Polovin. Delaney was part of a defensive unit that surrendered only 10 goals and recorded 13 total shutouts. "Mike has the size and ability to go up against anyone in the state," Polovin added. "His confidence is unlike anyone I have ever had on defense here and he showed it in every game this season. He is one of the best defenders in the area, by far." Delaney earned all-sectional honorable mention honors and was an all-Upstate Eight Conference first-teampick.
Sean Fitzgerald Burlington Central Rockets
Fitzgerald, a senior forward, was an all-sectional honorable-mention selection for a Central team that earlier in the week advanced to a Class 2A sectional final. Fitzgerald had 19 goals and 10 assists as of press time. "I believe Sean is one of the top forwards in the area," said Central coach Mike Gecan. "Sean is both fast and strong, but it is his never-give-up attitude that sets him apart from other players. He leaves some big shoes to fill for our team heading into next season."
Joe French St. Edward Green Wave
A junior, French had 20 goals and 2 assists en route to earning all-Suburban Christian Conference honors. French tallied those 20 goals despite missing 3 games. "Joe was our top player," said St. Edward coach Tim Brieger. "He began the year as a forward and then moved to center-mid. He accounted for half our goals, at one time running up an 8-game goal-scoring streak. And he did not feast on only weaker competition. He scored on every SCC team this year but St. Francis. He is one of the most complete players to ever play for this team. He often was fighting off double teams as opponents recognized his importance."
Pancho Garcia Larkin Royals
Garcia, a senior forward, had 12 goals and 6 assists as of press time for a Larkin team that advanced to the sectional round of the playoffs. "Pancho has good speed and a very good shot," said Larkin coach Ken Hall. "He can dribble defenders to create his own shot and can move back into the midfield to distribute the ball well."
Eduardo Gonzalez Huntley Red Raiders
Gonzalez, a senior midfielder, had 14 goals and 15 assists as of press time. "Eduardo is an offensive nightmare for opponents," said Huntley coach Kris Grabner. "He has some of the slickest feet I have ever seen. His ability to play out of tight spaces is second to none."
Zach Harbaugh Harvest Christian Academy Lions
A senior midfielder, Harbaugh finished the season with 2 goals and 4 assists and had 7 goals and 16 assists in his varsity career. A two-time captain, Harbaugh earned two all-Northeastern Athletic Conference honors and was the recipient of the Harvest Coach's Award this season. "Zach has excelled this year as an all-around tough player," said Harvest coach Jason Acres. "He is willing to do a ton of the dirty work in the midfield and has led our team both as a captain and someone who models effort to the other players. His attitude is exemplary and he has made a huge contribution to our first-time ever having a double-digit winning season."
Juan Carlos Lujan South Elgin Storm
A senior forward, Lujan racked up 11 goals to go with 2 assists for a South Elgin team that reached a regional championship game. "JC is a tenacious attacker who will make the most of his opportunities," said South Elgin coach Nathaniel Bowman. "He is a threat to any defense and although he has excellent individual ability, he is a great team player as well. Commitment and a good work ethic are part of who he is. He is driven to succeed and will continue to develop into an excellent person and player."
Robert Kleczynski Westminster Christian Warriors
Kleczynski, a junior striker, finished the year with 20 goals and 5 assists. "Robert was a scoring threat the entire season," said Westminster coach Erik Schwartz. "He tallied 4 goals in one game and had several other games in which he scored two." Kleczynski was in the running for all-Northeastern Athletic Conference first-team honors.
Niko Mihalopoulos Huntley Red Raiders
Mihalopoulos, a senior forward, had 27 goals and 10 assists for a Huntley team that reached the regional-championship round of the state playoffs and finished with 21 wins. Mihalopoulos has been nominated for all-state and all-Fox Valley Conference honors. "Niko had an amazing year," said Huntley coach Kris Grabner.
Matt O'Connor Burlington Central Rockets
As of press time, O'Connor had 14 goals and 12 assists for a Rockets team that earlier in the week advanced to a sectional final and set a program record for most wins in a season. The senior midfielder was an all-sectional selection. "Matt is a natural-born leader," said Central coach Mike Gecan. "He is not much of the yelling type, but he knows how to get his teammates focused when necessary in a positive way. Matt is extremely explosive off the dribble and his playmaking ability is what makes him such a special player. He is one of the best midfielders I have ever coached. We would not be where we are today without his leadership." O'Connor has been the team-leader in assists the last two seasons.
Caleb Perez Elgin Maroons
A senior sweeper/forward and a two-year starter, Perez scored 5 goals this season for the Maroons. "Carlos is a great sweeper who changed to forward midseason," Elgin coach Dave Borg noted. "He's a tough kid who goes to work and has no complaints — ever. He takes losing hard. Caleb would make a great son. He will be missed." Perez saved 3 balls this season (non-goalie saves) from scoring.
Carlos Ramos Dundee-Crown Chargers
A senior defender, Ramos finished the year with 3 goals and 3 assists. He was named to both the all-sectional team and the North Shore Shootout all-tournament team. "Carlos is a first-class defender," said D-C coach Rey Vargas. "His team leadership and ability helped this team achieve what had not been done before at Dundee-Crown — an undefeated regular season. Carlos was a big part of why we were able to shutout teams 13 times this year." Ramos also was one of the team captains.
Jakub Rys Huntley Red Raiders
Rys, a senior defender, played a major role in the success of the Huntley back line this season. "Jakub is the key to our defense," said Red Raiders coach Kris Grabner. "He has organized his team to 14 shutouts. He doesn't just defend and get the ball out. Jakub is a highly technical player who plays very good possession soccer. I have not seen a more well-rounded defender all year."
Adam Smith South Elgin Storm
A senior midfielder and one of the team captains, Smith had 7 goals and 4 assists as of press time and helped South Elgin reach a regional championship game. "Adam played in every game and in most cases played the entire game," said South Elgin coach Nathaniel Bowman. "His leadership, dedication and integrity have helped lead our team into the regional championship game. He gave 100 percent all the time with a positive attitude. Adam is one of the most coachable I've known."
Ben Stone Dundee-Crown Chargers
A senior forward-midfielder, Stone was named to the all-sectional team and the North Shore Shootout all-tournament team this season. The team co-captain and three-year varsity player finished the year with 11 goals and 8 assists. "Ben is talented with the ball, has great vision for the field and works hard," said D-C coach Rey Vargas. "Ben scored 11 goals and has been a force for our team. He was a centerpiece of our success this year. We will miss him next year." Stone was part of a D-C team that went 19-1-1 and won the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division title with a perfect 6-0 mark.
Austin VanAcker Burlington Central Rockets
VanAcker, a senior defender, was an all-sectional honorable mention selection for a Rockets team that won the Big Northern Conference East Division title with a program-best 12-0 record. As of press time, VanAcker had 4 goals and 3 assists, but provided many more tangibles out of the Rockets' back line. "When it comes down to it, Austin is the player who will most likely be the hardest for us to replace heading into next year," said Central coach Mike Gecan. "As everyone knows, defenders are the unsung heroes for very team, but Austin is not your typical defender. He has the foot skills of a central midfielder and the striking ability of a forward. When I asked him to step back into the defensive line again this year he said with a smile, 'Not a problem, coach.' Austin has been a great role model for our younger players to look up to and hopefully the future of our program will benefit from his mentoring.
Tito Velazquez Larkin Royals
A senior central defender and a three-time All-Upstate Eight Conference selection, Velazquez had 2 assists as of press time and provided outstanding defense for a Larkin team that advanced to sectionals. Velazquez was a three-year varsity starter. "Tito was solid in the back and a great leader," said Larkin coach Ken Hall. "He is always in the correct position and rarely makes a mistake. He has good speed and the height to defend well."
Kevin Wilde Cary-Grove Trojans
A senior midfielder, Wilde finished the season with 20 goals and 10 assists. A three-year starter, he leaves Cary-Grove with career totals of 64 goals and 29 assists. "Kevin has played a huge role in the development of the younger and/or less-seasoned varsity players," said Cary-Grove coach Mark Olson. "His leadership both on and off the field have been impeccable, providing an excellent blueprint for future players to pattern themselves. Kevin was willing to move to play midfield in order to best help the team." Wilde was a three-year all-Fox Valley Conference player and a captain or co-captain the last two seasons.
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