Boys soccer: Panthers put themselves in position to claim Glenbard Cup

By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/27/2022 12:27 PM

Last year, Glenbard North lost to Glenbard West to open play in the Glenbard Cup competition before bouncing back with wins against Glenbard South and Glenbard East.

This year, the Panthers have blanked the Raiders (1-0 on Sept. 17) and the Rams (1-0 on Sept. 27) and will have a chance to avenge last year's 4-1 loss to the Hilltoppers with the Glenbard Cup on the line on Oct. 13.


"We set a goal in the preseason to put ourselves in the situation to play in tournament finals," Panthers coach Spero Mandakas said. "We did a great job of that in the Addison Trail tournament and then fell short in BodyArmor. Putting together a great defensive game against (Glenbard) East puts us in great position going into the final cup match against (Glenbard) West and we expect a playoff-like atmosphere."

Glenbard North (6-4-3) has only surrendered seven goals in 13 games. Stavros Veremis and Raul Ceja have both been fantastic when called to duty in the net. They split time in the victory against Glenbard South while Veremis had seven saves, which included a huge stop of a penalty kick in the second half, in Saturday's win against the Rams as Pablo DeLaCruz's goal proved to be just enough offense.

"Our defensive unit has been outstanding thus far in the season," Mandakas said. "A lot of credit goes to our back line and keeper. We have a very talented attacking group and we are hoping to get them better in the final third as we enter this final stretch."

In the Huntley for goals:

For decades, Porsche has told us that "There is no substitute." Heck, even Tom Cruise remarked the phrase when he was playing a high school teen in "Risky Business."

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Huntley may have lost Hayes Porsche (20 goals, 8 assists) from a 20-3-2 team a season ago, but the Red Raiders are scoring goals by committee and it has them once again in a good place at 8-4-2 and still undefeated in conference after winning their first three games.

"We have a lot of guys who are capable of scoring," Huntley coach Matt Lewandowski said. "We have three kids with four goals, three kids with two goals and five with one goal, so anybody can score at any time for us. From a production standpoint that's a good thing, but also not having a focal point can be tough."

Junior Hudson Nielsen, who leads the team with eight assists and senior Zach Heitkemper, who has scored four goals, are among the players who have helped the team continue their winning ways while forwards Isaac Jacobo and Ansel Dias are two of the newcomers who have been among the team's top additions this fall.

"We didn't lose too much skill from last year, it's the lack of experience at the varsity level," Lewandowski said. "We have one sophomore and the rest are juniors and seniors."


Huntley travels to Jacobs on Tuesday to resume play in the Fox Valley Conference. The Golden Eagles handed the Red Raiders their last loss, 3-0, in the conference regular season during the pandemic-induced abbreviated season on March 25, 2020.

Tri-City Night is Tuesday, Sept. 27:

Tuesday night will be a great night to put on the sweatshirt of your favorite Tri-City school and come out to Geneva to cheer on the four schools that also are teaming up and playing for a great cause as part of the annual Tri-City Night.

St. Charles East (11-2-1) will squad off against St. Charles North (7-3-3) at 5 p.m. with Geneva (6-1-7) and Batavia (3-7-2) going head-to-head in the nightcap at 7 p.m. Meteorologists are predicting a cool but dry evening, which should make Geneva a wonderful scene for an early taste of fall while surrounding yourself with others who love the game of soccer and can empathize and generously support a fellow community's family that's in need.

Through T-shirt sales, monetary donations and more, funds will be raised this year for the Chitwood-Copeland family, which is a Geneva family whose daughter Brooke is battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Friday night futbol lights:

Every sport seems to take a back seat to football, but it was soccer under the big bright lights of Wheaton Academy last Friday as the Warriors defeated Riverside-Brookfield 4-0 as part of Homecoming festivities.

The football team had the spotlight on Thursday, as it remained undefeated with a lopsided win over Ridgewood.

Will Clegg, Jacob Karlson, Caleb Mariotti and Josh Mariotti each scored while Sam Brown, both Mariotti brothers and Clegg contributed assists.

The defending Class 1A state champions (6-2-3) are unbeaten in their last seven games, and the 655-student school's only losses have come to big schools like Maine South (2,383) and St. Charles North (1,985).

Currently unconquerable:

We're less than a week away from October and Elgin (10-0-3) and York (10-0-3) remain undefeated. The teams were blessed with the opportunity to play each other this season in the Streamwood Fall Classic and fought to a scoreless draw on Sept. 13. Stevenson (11-0-2) and Romeoville (16-0-1) also remain unbeaten as the Maroons and Dukes are in select company.

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