Boys soccer: Scouting Lake County
NORTHERN LAKE COUNTY CONFERENCE
Coach: Marni Polakow (9th year, 110-57-20)
Last season: 15-7-2, lost to Carmel Catholic in Class 2A sectional semifinals
Top players lost: Danny Brito, Jordan Keller, Lucas Semitka, Mickey West
Top returning players: Zach Espitia (Sr. F), David Lonski (Sr. D), Alex Ruano (Sr. GK), R.J. Vasquez (Jr. D), Bart Krumpos (Jr. MF), Gabriel Tijerina (Jr. F), Alex Keeler (So. MF), Krystian Nikolov (So. MF)
Newcomers: Cody Matonik (Sr. F), Tommy Cerney (Jr. MF), Sebastian Scofield (So. F), Adam Lynn (Fr. D/MF)
Other notable players: Alexsei Kushinikov (Sr. F), Noah Boehm (Jr. D), Peter Boeh (Jr. F), Nikolai Kushinikov (Jr. D), T.J. Vasquez (Jr. D), Jason Wood (Jr. D)
Season outlook: Antioch has a number of players back from last year's regional-winning team. "Our leaders are hungry for more success and have already set the tone for the rest of the group," coach Marni Polakow said. "Moving to a new conference (NLCC), we think we can be right in the mix for a title. The last three years have set the standard that we hope to match. We have a young team, but our returning core is driving them forward and has them eyeing a fourth straight regional title."
Coach: Bryan Mark (5th year)
Last season: 1-18-1, lost to Rockford Auburn in Class 3A regional quarterfinals
Top players lost: Zach Cooper, Alex Jamusz, Matt Koch, Moses Melesio, Nathan Munsterman
Top returning players: Zack Kowalik (Sr. D/MF), Rudy Frescas (Sr. F), Giovanni Gonzalez (Jr. MF), Jose Gordiano (Jr. MF), Sam Lee (Jr. MF)
Newcomers: Oscar Delgado (Jr. GK), Xander Barillas (So. F), Jacob Lokietko (Fr. D), Uriel Lopez (Fr. D)
Other notable players: Marciano Martinez (Sr. MF), Aldahir Albiter (Jr. D), Gurham Kevkhishvili (Jr. MF), Urbertino Soto (Jr. D), Rafa Torres (Jr. D), David Acevado (So. D), Andrew Berwanger (So. D), William Gonzalez (So. F), Danny Talavera (So. F)
Season outlook: After enduring a rough 2015 season, the Bulldogs are looking for growth and improvement. "Last year, we were really young, so this year our core players are coming back with varsity experience," coach Bryan Mark said. "We've got experience mixed with new talent. We hope to be competitive in every game we play. I expect us to compete and be in the hunt for the NLCC championship. This team is different from years past because we have a number of people who can put the ball into the back of the net."
Coach: Tom Hamilton (2nd year)
Last season: 11-9-3, lost to Lakes in Class 2A regional finals
Top players lost: Joel Carreon, Evan Cavalier, Abdiel Espinoza, Josh Garcia (Goshen), Connor Gosell (Illinois State, track), Paul Kulis, Chris Quiroz (College of Lake County), Ethan Rockel, Ben Sizelove (Luther)
Top returning players: Randy Betancourth (Sr. MF), Leo Orozco (Sr. F), Trevor Veenstra (Sr. MF), Nick Walker (Sr. MF), Sebastian Hinestrosa (Jr. MF), Ethan Mendoza (Jr. MF), Daniel Orozco (So. D)
Newcomers: Matt Kosikowski (Sr. D), Daniel Morrison (Sr. MF), Austin Rockel (Jr. F), Jack Spalding (Jr. D), Clay Stoffel (Jr. D/GK), Jack Kulis (So. MF), Owen Aaberg (Fr. MF)
Other notable players: Matt Kozak (Sr. D) Juan Mata (Sr. F), Jake Miller (Sr. MF), Fernando Ortiz (Sr. MF), Bryan Wehde (Sr. D) David Young (Sr. GK), Henry Morrison (So. MF), Kyle Rehm (So. MF)
Season outlook: The Rams have joined the newly formed NLCC, which will give them some new rivals. They return a number of experienced players and should be tested with a challenging schedule. "We expect to compete at a high level this season and challenge for the top spot in the NLCC," coach Tom Hamilton said. "With consistent focus and work rate, this team has the potential to compete with anyone, and the boys seem determined to prove it."
Coach: Adam DeCaluwe (11th year, 93-121-2)
Last season: 9-13, lost to Wheeling in Class 3A sectional semifinals
Top players lost: Sean Dameron, Klye Hensley, Julian Jimenez, Cole Karabinus, JC Thomas, Chris Zamora
Top returning players: Carlos Alfaro (Sr. MF), Jack Critzer (Sr. D), Marion Deita (Sr. D), Cristian Guerrero (MF/F), Brandon LeBaron (Sr. D), Grant Nickolson (MF/F), Jason Rhodes (Sr. MF/F), Tyler Salvador (Sr. MF), Ben Tompoles (Sr. D), Joshua Suciu (Jr GK)
Newcomers: Miguel Carrera (Sr. F), Ronaldo Rojas (Jr. MF), Matthew Heery (So. D/MF), Angel Uriostegui (So. MF), Logan Holevas (Fr. MF)
Other notable players: Bryce Boyd (Sr. GK), Josian Martinez (Sr. F), Josh Moran (Sr. MF), Nick Kloczkowski (Sr. F), Jake Schultz (Sr. MF), Aaron Paredes (Jr, D/MF), Rolando Rojas (Jr. MF/F)
Season outlook: The Knights will look to be contenders in the new NLCC. Senior defender Jack Critzer is coming off an all-area season. "Our boys have a great work ethic and a team-first mentally that we're looking to build around for the season ahead," coach Adam DeCaluwe said. "We have a roster of quality players full of experience with a nice mix of youth that look forward to the challenges of our completely new schedule within the newly formed NLCC, and our nonconference schedule that is filled with quality opponents."
Coach: Kevin Kullby (12th year, 123-102-31)
Last season: 10-11-2, lost to Vernon Hills in Class 2A sectional semifinals
Top players lost: Foster Dore, Zack Espinosa, Marco Novakovic
Top returning players: Cam Beezley (Sr. MF), Nick Dydo (Sr. MF), Austin Jones (Sr. D), Sean O'Brien (Sr. F), Anthony Roldon (Sr. D), Nick Rubio (Sr. D)
Newcomers: Jake Keenan (Sr. F), Zack Dydo (Fr. MF)
Other notable players: Stephen Gerrits (Sr. F), Dustin Baca (Jr. D), Colin Feustal (Jr. MF), Adam Hagman (Jr. D), Brett Holmes (Jr. F), Shane McCeever (Jr. F), Matthew Mercure (Jr. MF), Jeff Milostan (Jr. D), Wade Parmley (Jr. GK), Aaron Steigel (Jr. MF), Daniel Stiegel (Jr. F), Danny Wieczorek (Jr. GK), Andrew Gaetano (So. D), Max Keenan (So. MF), Alex Meyer (So. D)
Season outlook: A competitive should bode well for the Eagles, who return several experienced players. "I think this team has the potential to go far in the (Class) 2A state tournament because we should be as good as any team around," coach Kevin Kullby said. "We have experienced goalkeepers, solid defenders and good attackers. We will still struggle against the bigger schools and in the new conference (NLCC), we will have our work cut out for us. But I like what we have going forward."
Coach: Hugo Tellez (7th year, 97-22-15)
Last season: 16-4, lost to Stevenson in Class 3A regional semifinals
Top players lost: Christian Gomez, Erwin Paz, Freddie Ramirez (Trinity Christian College), Gerardo Nunez (Gettysburg College), Cruz Renteria (Judson), Christian Vazquez (Carthage College)
Top returning players: Henry Arteaga (Sr. D), Abel Campa (Sr. GK), Bryan Gomez (Sr. MF), Vladimir Manriquez (Sr. MF), Alejandro Sotelo (Sr. F), Erik Alverez (Jr. D), Christofer Gomez (Jr. D)
Newcomers: Aaron Berdenis (Sr. D), Jorge Martinez (Sr. F) Aaron Valdvia (Sr. D), Jacob Bialkowski (Jr. D), Alejandro Galindo (Jr. D), Kevin Gomez (Jr. D), Brian Murguria (Jr. D), Richard Orozco (Jr. MF), Rudy Bernal (So. MF/F), Hector Tellez (So. MF/F)
Other notable players: Kevin Estrada (Sr. MF), Antonio Fonseca (So. MF)
Season outlook: The Panthers graduated leading scorer Freddie Ramirez but still could be a front-runner in the new NLCC. They have young talent ready to step forward. Captains Alejandro Sotelo, Vladimir Manriquez and Christofer Gomez will lead the young group. Sotelo was an all-area player last year after scoring 16 goals and adding 12 assists. "We're looking to win our new conference and show our talent in the state playoffs," coach Hugo Tellez said.
Coach: Mike Jacobs (second year, 5-7-3)
Last season: 5-7-3, lost to Lakes in Class 2A regional quarterfinals
Top players lost: Max Bermann, Teddy Kolarov, Alex Reyes
Top returning players: Tiaga Miyaryo (Sr. MF), Danny McNutt (Sr. GK), Ozzie Segura (Sr. D/MF), Sean Sullivan (Sr. D), Raffa Consalvo (Jr. MF), Chris Fox (Jr. D), Erik Hernandez (Jr. F)
Newcomers: Chase Hayden (So. MF), Jorge Morales (So. MF), David Ramirez (So. F), Preston Chartier (Fr. GK)
Other notable players: Jose Arreguin (Sr. F), Joshua Castronovo (Sr. MF), Michael Duzey (Sr. MF), Jack Feddermann (Sr. D), Luiz Mendoza (Sr. F), Justin Mitchell (Sr. MF), Cristian Ramirez (Sr. D), Trevor Tobias (Sr. D), Connor Brannick (So. D), Ethan Yost (So. D)
Season outlook: The Bulldogs are looking for improvement in Year 2 under coach Mike Jacobs. "I want our program to solidify itself within our new conference as a tough match to play home or away," Jacobs said. "I truly feel that all of our conference opponents are of the highest quality and worthy of much preparation and respect. It is our job here to make sure we put ourselves in that top category of teams to play and handle our business of developing our talent along side our veteran senior players. If we can do this, we will be in good shape to compete within our conference. Our best thing going for us this season is our 'family mindset.' We view ourselves as a family and live according to that code. I feel this will help us throughout the course of the season as we enter our tournaments and our conference play."
NORTH SUBURBAN CONFERENCE
Coach: Mike Schmitz (10th year, 111-59-25)
Last season: 7-10-3, lost to Grayslake North in Class 3A regional quarterfinals
Top players lost: Shawn Chervets (Benedictine), Joaquin Ganoza, Dan Grabowski, Kevin Johlie, Nate Rathe (Augustana), Ian Root, Scott Shadrick
Top returning players: Zane Chung-Mehdi (Sr. MF), Jordan Fleita (Sr. MF), Andrew Kelley (Sr. D), Brandon Klett (Sr. F), Trevor Niedzwicki (Sr. MF), Piyasak Pharawek (Sr. F)
Newcomers: Zach Callero (Sr. MF), Edward Chuckhman (Sr. D), Collin Furlong (Sr. GK), Terran Loughman (Sr. F), Tim Lugwigsen (Sr. GK), Brandon Wohler (Sr D), Joe Heffernan (Jr. D/MF), Michael Blasko (So. MF)
Other notable players: Ty Carey (Sr. D), Luke Kuhn (Sr. MF), Dylan Petrou (Sr. D), Kyle Schroeder (Sr. D), Andrew Pytlak (Jr. D)
Season outlook: The Bears have the numbers and talent to enjoy a better season. They count 17 seniors and 12 returning players. "We are a deep and experienced team," coach Mike Schmitz said. "Hopefully that experience plus hard work translates to success on the field. We expect to compete and improve every game."
Coach: Andy Bitta (32nd year, 437-133-60)
Last season: 19-3-1, beat Quincy Sr. for Class 3A state championship.
Top players lost: Nate Edmunds (Butler), Ryan Bever, Max Friedlander, Tucker Goebeler, Liam O'Connell (Loras), Kyle Hall, Christian Long, Jesse Moderwell, Jacob Rasmussen, Kevin Reilly (Dayton), Luke Sanderson, Grant Widmark
Top returning players: Kenny Gallagher (Sr. MF), Dan Marks (Sr. D), Michael Quigley (Sr. D), Brant Kym (Sr. GK), Ryan Wittenbrink (Jr. F), Thomas Pearson (So. GK)
Newcomers: Grant Herbek (So. MF), Evan Rasmussen (So. MF)
Notable players: Ryan Bogan (Sr. MF), Anthony Brucato (Sr. MF), Karl Gaertner (Sr. D), Ryan Gibbs (Sr. D), Darren Ioss (Sr. D), Parker Noll (Sr. MF), Pat Potts (Sr. D), Jason Taff (Sr. MF), Austin Becker (Jr. D), Liam Hettinger (Jr. GK), Riley Hoff (Jr. MF,) Gregory Krikorian (Jr. MF), Nathan Pacholski (Jr. D), Andrew Quane (Jr. MF), Carter Schaffnit (Jr. D)
Season outlook: Last season's Class 3A state championship was the school's first for the boys program. Coach Andy Bitta was at the helm when LHS's girls won state in 1991. "We have a good core of kids coming back," Bitta said. "They're hardworking and skilled. It's hard to come off a season like last year, but I have high expectations and so do the kids. We know that we have a target on our backs. We'll see what happens. It comes down to team chemistry and how the players fit into their roles on the field."
Coach: Ernie Billittier (6th year)
Last season: 12-5-5, lost to Waukegan in Class 3A regional semifinals
Top players lost: Jake Fiolka, Donnie Kvien (Elmhurst), Yann Nsoga (Eastern Illinois), Edson Suaste (Concordia)
Top returning players: Jose Ortega (Sr. MF), Elliot Sachnoff (Sr. D), Kenny Adiyiah (Jr. MF), Jony Lucio (Jr. MF), Bryan Alba (So. F)
Newcomers: Ethan Butler (Sr. D), Daniel Bronfeyn (Jr. MF)
Other notable players: Jayson Cordova (Sr. F), Dominic Cristino (Sr. D), Danny Ford (Sr. D), Carlos Lopez (Sr. GK), Eric Muniz (Sr. GK), Nick Ramirez (Sr. MF), Matt Szczepanski (Sr. D), Kenny Adiyiah (Jr. F), Ricky Guzman (Jr. D), Josue Infante (Jr. MF), Nam Li (Jr. D), Fredy Montenegro (Jr. MF), Ivan Muniz (Jr. D), Cesar Ortega (Jr. MF)
Season outlook: The Mustangs are always in the running in the North Suburban Conference race, but they often come up short. "Our goal is to win," coach Ernie Billittier said. "We want to be in the conversation for the conference title and compete for postseason trophies. My expectation is that we give ourselves an opportunity to win every match we play."
Coach: Mark Schartner (30th year, 393-177-92)
Last season: 10-7-2, lost to Highland Park in Class 3A regional final
Top players lost: Cooper Colvig, Dennis Katzman (Knox), Jeremy Klaber (Augustana), Rahul Krushnan, Cary Li, Dean Lim, Jun Min (Knox), Kuzuki Nimi (University of Tokyo), Thomas Ricchio, Matt Treiber
Top returning players: Ben Brandt (Sr. MF), Joel Fleming (Sr. D), Elliot Luck (Sr. F), Jake Nunez (Sr. MF), Steven O'Reilly (Sr. D), Matt Brickman (Jr. MF), Ethan Kalis (Jr. GK), Matt Randall (Jr. D), Anthony Watrach (Jr. MF), Borler Wu (Jr. MF), Kai Mayahara (So. MF)
Newcomers: Jack Allen (Jr. D), Zach Klaber (So. GK), Miguel Marquez (Jr. D), Ryan McGrogan (Jr. F), Kyle Riekki (So. MF), Kyle Swanson (Jr. GK), Hunter Tam (So. D), Austin Kody (Fr. MF), Rei Kubota (Fr. D), Ben Dixon (Fr. MF)
Season outlook: The Patriots graduated 14 players, including 8 starters, but they have younger players ready to step in. "We have a well-balanced team, but very young," coach Mark Schartner said. "We have outstanding leadership, great speed and a hardworking team."
Coach: Jason Ahonen (9th year, 119-47-33)
Last season: 16-5-3, lost to Waukegan in Class 3A regional final
Top players lost: Ivan Esquivel (Carthage College), Alex Fratila, Matt Height, Blair McCormick (Hope College), Martin Fuentes (moved back to Spain)
Top returning players: Kody Anderson (Sr. MF), Hugo Flores (Sr. MF), Richie Flores (Sr. MF), Niko Jokic (Sr. MF)
Newcomers: Thomas Macheras (Sr. D/MF), Ruben Delagillo (Jr. F), Tommy Travelstead (Jr. D)
Other notable players: Curtis Bae (Sr. D/MF), Daniel Fajardo (Sr. MF), Roman Fajardo (Sr. D/MF), Bryan Galvan (Sr. MF/F), Jeffery Pioquinto (Sr. GK), Kevin Penarrieta (Sr. MF/F), Noe Rodriguez (Sr. D/MF), Jason Schultz (Sr. MF), Jack Tully (Sr. D/MF), Ruben Delgadillo (Jr. MF/F), Hunter Faurbo (Jr. GK), Carlos Murillo (Jr. D/MF)
Season outlook: The Blue Devils welcome back 15 seniors. "I feel that these seniors are focused and they know that this is their last chance to make their mark on our program," coach Jason Ahonen said. "We have good speed and a very good work rate. So we will see what the season holds for us."
EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLIC CONFERENCE
Coach: Ray Krawzak (fifth year, 46-37-10)
Last season: 19-8-1, 8-1 in ESCC, beat Chicago Washington in Class 2A state third-place match
Top players lost: Scott Cloe (St. Thomas), Brandon Hassan, Andrew Kuderna, Braco Lasso, Ryan McKernan
Top returning players: Austin Ehren (Jr. F), Chris Galla (Sr. MF), Josh Grzesiak (Sr. F), Rob Rao (Jr. MF), Kyle Knauer (Jr. GK)
Newcomers: Henry Barnes (Jr. F), Eli Larson (So. D)
Other notable players: Michael Alemu (Sr. F), Devon Cole (Sr. MF), Travis Curley (Sr. D), Chris Galla (Jr. MF/F), Matt Fix (Jr. D), Josh Grzesiak (Sr. F), Matt Hellen (Sr. D), Eric Johansen (Sr. D), Luke Johnson (Sr. D), Andrew Kegel (Sr. F), Andrew Kompare (Sr. MF) Luke Leslie (Sr. D), J.J. Paulson (Sr. MF), Reed Wilson (Sr. MF), Brett Cloe (Jr. D), Nathan Passarelli (Jr. MF), Ricardo Maura (So. GK)
Season outlook: The Corsairs finished third in the state in Class 2A last fall and welcome back four all-ESCC players: junior forward Austin Ehren, senior midfielder/defender Chris Galla, senior midfielder Josh Grzesiak and junior midfielder Robert Rao. With an 8-1 mark, Carmel tied Benet for first place in the ESCC. Expectations are running high again, but the Corsairs have moved up to Class 3A. "We expect to be at the top of the table in the ESCC," coach Ray Krawzak said. "We want to have a good playoff run, even though we are stepping up into 3A this year. We especially don't want to act like we're entitled to anything just because we had a good season last year. We need to start fresh and learn how to win with this team. We're very experienced with many key players on this team starting their third year on varsity."
CENTRAL SUBURBAN LEAGUE NORTH
Coach: Mike McCaulou (4th year, 36-23-5)
Last season: 16-7-1, lost to Carmel Catholic in Class 2A sectional final
Top players lost: Matt Hong, Enos Lee, Joseph Lee (Brown), Jose Perez-Silva (Harper), Jose Sanchez (Judson), Chris Winter
Top returning players: Aaron Castellanos (Sr. MF), Cole Guillaume (Sr. F), Andrew Kim (Sr. D), Brennan Reback (Sr. GK), Corey Takaoka (Sr. MF), Chris White (Sr. F)
Newcomers: Steven Auw (So. F), Jake Schulman (So. F), Nick Burrows (Fr. GK)
Other notable players: Ravi Gandhi (Sr. F), Matt Gramins (Sr. MF), Anakin Ruiz (Sr. MF), Andre Szmyt (Sr. MF), Steven Tow (Sr. D), Zack Yurkovsky (Sr. MF), Chris Hernandez (Jr. D), Michael Harty (Jr. D), Ryan Kim (Jr. D), Devin Piepernik (Jr. MF), Brandon Kim (So. D)
Season outlook: The Cougars are coming off a 16-win campaign that ended with a heartbreaking loss to Carmel in the Class 2A sectional finals. The Cougars look to have similar success as they joined the CSL North. They boast returning all-area player Chris White, who had 15 goals and 6 assists last year. "(The expectation is) to feed off the last few years and keep the tradition going of bringing everything we have every day and playing as a unit," coach Mike McCaulou said. "The best thing about our team is (the players) support one another on and off the field. We have a great family sense in our program and we're proud about that."