By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent
John Barnes, Batavia
Batavia got beat up for much of year but turned it around quickly this fall and senior John Barnes was one of the primary reasons why the Bulldogs were able to do so. He scored three goals and added 10 assists for a team that nearly won an Upstate Eight River title. "John has been a part of the varsity team since he was a sophomore and really matured," Batavia coach Mark Gianfrancesco said. "He allowed us to dictate how we wanted to play."
Flynn Collins, Marmion
A horrible injury ended his season at St. Charles East. While his brilliant high school career came to a close it also cut short a tremendous final season for the senior who had banged in 15 goals. "He was a factor in every game he played in," Marmion coach Ricky Del Toro said. "He's got tremendous speed and strength and before the unfortunate injury he was doing so much for us," Del Toro said. "He was a big difference maker and there aren't many players like that."
Daniel DiLeonardi, St. Charles East
The Saints have been so dominant on defense this year that their offense has almost been overlooked. Hence, Daniel DiLeonardi has scored 23 goals in the regular season, almost under the radar for a team that only had one loss prior to the postseason state series. "He's been such a solid performer in putting the ball in the net," Saints coach Paul Jennison said. "Losing T.C (Hull) was horrendous for us and he's really been able to step in and be a difference guy."
Alex Guillen, West Aurora
This senior found himself instructing new defenders once again this fall but didn't let it affect him as he received all-state honors. "Not many have an understanding of the game like he has," Blackhawks coach Joe Sustersic said. "It's a cliché, but it's like having a coach on the field and he has great verbal contact with everyone on the field." In the always competitive DVC, Guillen's efforts allowed the Blackhawks to compete all season. 'There are goalies with better stats, but he does so much that doesn't appear on the scorecard," Susterisc said. "He's had 16 different defenders while he's been here so he's been outstanding."
Kevin Heinrich, St. Charles East
"He's not a screamer or a shouter out there, but he's very calm and has been a soothing influence for us," St. Charles East coach Paul Jennison said. "We knew it would be different with losing Michael Macek, and he's stepped in and really been huge for us in leading the lads." The Saints have blanked more than a dozen opponents this fall. "It's beyond common sense, but if you don't give up anything you can't lose and he's made sure of that," Jennison said. "He's been massive for us."
Ian Larson, Batavia
After making great contributions as a freshman two years ago, this junior focused on club before coming back to Batavia this fall. He proved to be phenomenal, scoring a handful of game-winners for a program that won 16 games. "He came to us with a high work rate, a will to get better, along with being the ultimate teammate," Batavia coach Mark Gianfrancesco said. "As a junior Ian has progressed from being a lead by example player to a vocal leader on and off the field." Larson finished with 17 goals and nine assists.
Phillip LeGare, St. Charles North
The North Stars didn't have a lot of success in the win column this fall but they were extremely competitive every time out and senior Phillip LeGare was in the middle of most of it. "Without a doubt, Phil has had his best season with us this year," North Stars coach Eric Willson said. "Even though he is a natural corner back, we needed Phil to play forward for most of the season. He was dangerous, scored goals and gave us an offensive threat. Bottom line is that Phil has been our leader, and is willing to do whatever it takes to help his team."
Beck Nebergall, Geneva
The Vikings didn't get the results they had hoped for, finishing 7-11, but they wouldn't have been nearly as competitive if not for this senior midfielder. "Without Beck, Geneva struggled to win any games this year," Vikings coach Ryan Estabrook said. "With him, we have won seven games and played numerous top-rated teams to very close results." Perhaps nothing defined Nebergall better than what happened in early October when he had a goal and an assist in a 3-0 win over St. Charles North. "After the game, the official came up to me and said 'your number 10 (Nebergall) is the reason I still officiate high school soccer.' What a great athlete and a great sport."
Anthony Parillo, Kaneland
There wasn't much glory for this senior, but he didn't seem to care about it as he was willing to do whatever he could to help the Knights win. He did so by contributing 18 assists. "He had another excellent season and while he could've scored a lot more if he wanted to, he did what he could to help the team," Kaneland coach Scott Parillo said. "He's the consummate team player and has always been that way -- team first, him second. We've been very good in recent years and he's had a lot to do with that."
Gavin Sanchez, Marmion
This junior midfielder saw his role become all the more important when Flynn Collins went down with a season-ending injury. "He pretty much did everything he could to help us and he took all the PKs and free kicks," Cadets coach Ricky Del Toro said. "We tried to get him involved as much as we could and he was a heck of a player for us. He had a great technical aspect and that's why he was named all-sectional."
Andrew Shone, St. Charles East
All season long, St. Charles East controlled the possession-game, nearly finishing the regular season undefeated, and posting 14 shutouts. Senior captain Andrew Shone was a huge reason the team's success, leading his team at midfield. "He did a phenomenal job for us in making sure the guys were on the right page with what they needed to do," Saints coach Paul Jennison said. "You know, we lost our keeper due to an unfortunate injury on a collision, but these guys made sure that it wouldn't matter."
Boys Soccer All-Area Roster
Player School Pos. Yr.
John Barnes Batavia MF Sr.
Flynn Collins Marmion F Sr.
Daniel DiLeonardi St. Charles East F Sr.
Alex Guillen West Aurora GK Sr.
*Kevin Heinrich St. Charles East D Sr.
Ian Larson Batavia F Jr.
Phillip LeGare St. Charles North F Sr.
Beck Nebergall Geneva MF Sr.
Anthony Parillo Kaneland MF Sr.
Gavin Sanchez Marmion MF Jr.
Andrew Shone St. Charles East MF Sr.
* -- Honorary captain
Arsim Azemi, Kaneland, Kevin Collins, Batavia, Luke DeSimone, Marmion, Oscar Gaytan, West Aurora, Jason Lagger, St. Charles North, Billy Larsen, St. Charles North, Taylor Ortiz, St. Charles East, Nick Samperi, Batavia,, Brandon Villanueva, St. Charles East, Mick Wangler, Marmion.
Calen Colbert, Geneva, Evan DiLeonardi, St. Charles East, Nick Foster, Batavia, Matt Fletcher, Marmion, Jake Fries, St. Charles North, Jordan Moore, St. Charles East, David Petesch, Aurora Central, Tyler Robbins, St. Charles East. Tyler Sieber, Kaneland,, Sam Urben, Geneva, Chris Van Dinther, Kaneland.
St. Charles East
Aurora Central Catholic, St. Charles East
Teams to watch in 2014
Geneva, St. Charles East, West Aurora
-- All-area selections and capsules by Chris Walker