Boys soccer: Elgin tops East Aurora, St. Charles East to continue strong start
It was only a couple of days before tryouts that Elgin named former Marmion coach and Streamwood graduate Jimmy Romano as its new head coach.
Now, after two huge victories last week, the Maroons are turning heads as one of the area's top teams.
Elgin (5-0-2) handed East Aurora just its second conference loss in three years after a 2-0 victory on Wednesday and then proceeded to knock off St. Charles East, 3-1, in Saturday's opener in the Streamwood Fall Classic.
"It was a great week for us and we're starting to see a lot of growth," Romano said. "We've been dominating in every game. We video every game, have Hudl and have very detailed stats on paper and we're just dominating, even if not by the score."
Elgin had reason to be optimistic heading into the season, bringing back several key players from a 12-win team from a year ago, including top scorer Eduardo Nava and other high-level players like Miguel Navarro, Omar Saldano, Julian Orozco and goalkeeper Kleber Rodriguez.
"When I first was getting here I could see the talent, that was the main thing," Romano said. "Then it was building relationships with coaches and players and we're continuing to develop and working each week together so we're on the same page of what we're trying to do here. They've responded tremendously."
Navarro leads the Maroons with six goals already.
"He has great size and is very skilled," Romano said, "He's getting a lot of scoring opportunities as an attacking midfielder or as a striker. He's been dynamite, coming up big for us."
Orozco and Saldana are leading in different ways.
"Julian at center back is one of the best defenders I've coached and he's super smart, reads the game well and is tough as nails as our anchor back there and helping other guys on that back line and leading for the team," Romano said. "Omar is another captain at center-mid and also is a leader in the locker room. When we talk about culture, expectations and goals, he's huge with that and his playing on the field is dynamic."
Finally, the Maroons have Rodriguez taking care of business in the net.
"He's been crazy, light's out, and while he doesn't have to make many saves, the ones he does he comes up with are big and he's getting better every game," Romano said. "He's been a huge part of why we've had so many shutouts."
As wonderful have things have been so far for the Maroons, they have much more higher aspirations and believe they're ready to go get them.
"They're not afraid to play anyone," Romano said. "We are a top team and they truly believe that. They have stepped up and responded and played their best and we're excited to go play against York (on Sept. 14), which will be another amazing test for us. The goal is come playoff time to go deep and to be playing in November, and they believe that."
Knotted up in Geneva:
Geneva may not have a Ty Webb on its roster, but the Vikings certainly have found themselves tied up a lot this fall.
Last Thursday, the Vikings (3-1-5) finally broke a stretch that saw them tie Addison Trail, Fenton, Glenbard North, Hersey and Proviso West. After scoring only twice during that five-game stretch, the Vikings erupted for seven goals in a shutout against Kaneland. They did see their unbeaten streak finally come to an end on Saturday in a 3-2 nonconference game loss against West Aurora.
"We felt like in a couple of those ties we should've had the result, but at other times it can feel like losses," Vikings coach Jason Bhatta said. "We struggled to finish a little bit, but the guys are working hard to get some results and we've got room to grow."
Bhatta explained that they missed several chances against Proviso West and came up short on its opportunities against Addison Trail, whereas they probably were lucky to get a tie against Hersey.
Trent Giansanti has scored 6 goals to lead the Vikings while fellow junior Liam O'Donoghue has fought through some nagging injuries to contribute in the midfield and senior Matt Towler has stepped up at goalkeeper with former standout Hayden Vostal having departed for the Indiana Fire Pro Academy.
A Graff or two about Lisle:
Since Lisle first began offering boys and girls soccer during the 2003-2004 school year, the kids only knew Paul Kohorn as their head coach.
This fall, Patrick Graff has taken over after serving as an assistant the past four years.
"We've got 8 of 11 starters back and the three spots we had to fill are all defenders and they played serious minutes last year," he said. "We're playing some 2A schools and had some tough losses, but it's better than going out and winning 9-0 or 10-0."
Lisle certainly had no problems with Montini on Saturday, taming the Broncos, 7-1. Tough tests against Hinsdale South and St. Francis lie ahead this week for the Lions.
Celebrating in Villa Park:
For the first time since 2014, Willowbrook is in possession of the District 87 traveling trophy.
The Warriors snagged the trophy out of Addison Trail's possession after a 2-1 victory on Sept. 6.
Aiden Amin scored the go-ahead goal off a corner kick from Armando Martinez to snap Willowbrook's seven-game losing streak to the Blazers that included being shut out in three of the past four meetings in the rivalry.
Naperville clash looms:
The annual DVC battle between Naperville North and Naperville Central should be especially emotional for both coaches and their kids on Sept. 20.
Huskies coach Jim Konrad's son Ryan Konrad will be playing in his final rivalry game between the two schools while Redhawks coach Troy Adams will be on the sideline as his freshman son Chase Adams experiences the match for the first time as a player and junior, Carter Adams, gets another chance to be a part of it.
The Redhawks would certainly like to get some payback after falling to the Huskies three times last fall, including in the Best of the West and in a sectional final.