Boys soccer: Lake County all-area team
Bryan Alba Mundelein
Since his freshman year, the senior midfielder has demonstrated exceptional soccer knowledge and skill. He tallied 9 goals and 8 assists in a repeat all-area and all-sectional campaign this fall. "He's one of the most complete soccer players we have ever had at Mundelein," Mustangs coach Ernie Billittier said. "He has been a starter since his freshman year and is typically our most dangerous player at all times. This year he showed his abilities once again. He scored game-winning goals in conference and scored 2 goals in 2 minutes the second half of our regional game against Lake Zurich to tie the game. He scores some of the most stunning goals I've seen as a coach at Mundelein. He has just as many assists as goals because his soccer IQ and vision are so quality."
Henry Barnes Carmel
The senior forward produced 18 goals and 12 assists and was selected as an all-sectional player. "He's grown to be an incredible attacking forward for us," Corsairs coach Ray Krawzak said. "He has speed and ball control to take people on around the outside of the field. He created many opportunities for us this year, and his goals and assists show it. A great finisher and talented, tough player."
Mike Bassier Warren
The senior forward led the Blue Devils with 12 goals and 7 assists (both team bests), and was named all-sectional player. "He's a quiet leader that leads by example," Blue Devils coach Jason Ahonen said. "He has a great work rate and is a team-first guy. He has been a four-year player within the WTHS soccer program. Mike has been a big part of our offensive this year."
Raffa Consalvo Wauconda
The senior midfielder was a leader for the Bulldogs again, earning all-area and all-sectional honors again. "It's tough to find words that properly explain how important Raffa was to the WHS soccer family and myself," Bulldogs coach Mike Jacobs said. "He was our leader, field general and captain. The family members looked up to him and looked to him in big games and practices to help set the tone. I can't say enough about his soccer IQ, work ethic and attitude. I've coached a lot of cool kids in my career, but Raffa may be the coolest."
Omar Cordova Grayslake North
The sophomore led by example in the middle of the field and helped out on defense when needed. "He leads the team by example in everything he does," Knights coach Adam DeCaluwe said. "Omar reads the game very well, in both the middle of our midfield, as well as in the center of our back four. He is a very confident player who is great in the air, can play with both feet, and is very good in his tackle. While playing a majority of his minutes as a defender, Omar still contributed to our attack in his first year on the varsity level."
Austin Ehren Carmel
The speedy senior will play baseball at Belmont University next year in college. He's an offensive threat in soccer too, as he notched 17 goals and 7 assists this season. For his career, he had 76 goals and 25 assists. He's an all-area and all-sectional player for the second straight year. "He's had one of the best soccer careers at Carmel," Corsairs coach Ray Krawzak said. "He's an incredible athlete from top to bottom. He's faster than almost anyone who marks him. His speed has dictated our play style for the last four years, and he's a tremendous finisher. He's fast, strong and technically gifted."
Tony Fonseca Round Lake
The Panthers have had a history in recent years of producing great scorers. The junior appears to be the next one. He emerged this season as a top-notch scoring threat, scoring 16 goals and adding 3 assists. "Tony did a good job asserting himself and handling the pressure," Panthers coach Hugo Tellez said. "We expect him to be at another level next year and put his name up there with past forwards here at Round Lake."
Grant Herbek Libertyville
Libertyville has one of the best defenses in the state, and the junior is a big reason why. "He's a defender that is calm and cool," Wildcats coach Kevin Thunholm said. "Nothing rattles him. He's always in the right place and organizes the defense. He takes pride in our number of shutouts this season."
Matt Heery Grayslake North
He was a reliable and consistent player on the back and in the midfield. "Matt has the technical skill to play with both feet, the desire and ability to dominate in the air, and has a great understanding of the game," Knights coach Adam DeCaluwe said. "As a result, Matt was one of our most versatile players. He was a target for us on set pieces, while he had the task of defending our opponent's targets when defending free kicks. He contributed to the attack, as we began to play him in the midfielder more than the back in the second half of the season."
Ryan Kim Vernon Hills
The senior played the role of leader on a young squad and excelled on defense. He was a three-year starter and one of only two starters to return this season. "Without him in the back for us this year, we would have not been able to compete in any games," Cougars coach Mike McCaulou said. "He brought consistency to our team that was needed, regardless of our opponent or task at hand. His size, speed and ability to read the game are with the best I have seen this season."
Kyle Knauer Carmel
The Corsairs could count on their goalkeeper to come up big in important matches. The senior had 6 shutouts and allowed only 17 goals. In his three-year varsity career, he posted a 1.17 goals against average. An All-East Suburban Catholic Conference player the last two years, he was also all-sectional a part of the Class 2A third-place team in 2015. "He has incredible positioning that allows him to make big saves that others can't make," Corsairs coach Ray Krawzak said. "Great areal skills and strong in the air. He's fearless and aggressive, and has great judgment when coming out."
Jony Lucio Mundelein
He delivered timely goals, stepped up in the midfield and attacked when need on the offensive end. He finished with 8 goals and 6 assists. "He has been one of our program's most important players the last two years," Mustangs coach Ernie Billittier said. "His movement off the ball coupled with his pace made him a constant threat on goal, and he always had a knack for scoring the big goal. He could finish from distance and also with composure from close range. He was the consummate team player who always worked hard on both sides of the ball."
Matthew Mercure Lakes
He was more than dependable at center back in leading the Eagles to a Class 2A sectional final. The senior also helped out offensively with 4 goals, half of which came in postseason. "Matthew had an outstanding season," Eagles coach Kevin Kullby said. "His positioning was spot on in every game. He rarely missed a tackle and scored goals in critical situations." Mercure had the only goal in the Eagles' regional-opening win over Antioch and was credited with the winner against Woodstock in opening round of the sectional.
Jeff Milostan Lakes
Over the last three years, the senior led the Eagles' attack. He led the team with 15 goals and 8 assists in earning all-sectional honors and helping Lakes reach a Class 2A regional final. "He had a great senior year leading the team," Eagles coach Kevin Kullby said. "His strength was his speed to get past defenders and score or set up his teammates for goals. He also had a pinpoint long throw-in that led to several goals. Jeffrey was directly involved in 23 out of the 43 goals we scored this season."
Daniel Orozco Grayslake Central
A varsity player since his freshman year, the junior provided strength at left back. He also pushed up often enough to score 6 goals and earn an assist. His defensive efforts helped the Rams post 8 shutouts. "He was our most dynamic player, defending assuredly and making clever runs to carve open opposing defenses and create chances," Grayslake Central coach Tom Hamilton said. "Daniel has a great understanding of when to step to apply pressure and when to drop to establish or maintain our defensive shape. He also has great instincts in the attack and is dangerous on set pieces. He is as reliable as they come, and he has a great attitude. He's willing to play whatever and do whatever is needed for the team, and the others feed off that."
Thomas Pearson Libertyville
The junior netminder has 12 shutouts going into the Class 3A state weekend and a stingy 0.21 goals-against average. He's allowed just 4 goals all season. "He's a fantastic field general," Libertyville coach Kevin Thunholm said. "He commands the defense and is an unreal athlete. He never stops working."
Andrew Pytlak Lake Zurich
He had 7 goals and 6 assists, helped out defensively and was named all-sectional. "He was a team leader," Bears coach Mike Schmitz said. "We were sometimes an offensively challenged team but competed in every game because of our defense. Andrew was one of the main reasons for that. He directed and organized our team from the back and read the game well to shut down opposing offenses. e is a physical defender and has a knack for winning everything in the air. He did a little bit of everything for us and did it all well."
Matt Randall Stevenson
The sturdy senior was a key performer on the back line. An all-sectional selection, he kept the Patriots in a number of matches. "Physically and mentally, maybe one of our toughest players to play for Stevenson," Patriots coach Mark Schartner said. "One of his strongest gifts was the way he defended the player he was marking, but he also provided coverage for other defenders."
Rob Rao Carmel
The DePaul-bound senior was dangerous in the final third of the field. A repeat all-area selection and player of the year in the East Suburban Catholic Conference, he led the Corsairs with 18 goals and 12 assists. He was also named all-state. "He's an incredibly confident player," Corsairs coach Ray Krawzak said. "He controls play with intelligent decision-making. A great leader on and of the field. Just makes players around him much better."
Evan Rasmussen Libertyville
The junior midfielder returns to the all-area team and was also named all-state this season. He has 17 goals and 12 assists and looks to add to those totals this weekend at state. "He's a special athlete who has amazing control of the ball," Wildcats coach Kevin Thunholm said. "Great field vision and hard to stop in the air. He just has an unreal talent."
Jack Spalding Grayslake Central
The senior defender stands 6 feet 4 and used his height to his advantage. The efforts of the all-sectional player helped the Rams win the Northern Lake County Conference title. "Jack was a big presence in the Grayslake Central defense this year, both literally and figuratively," Rams coach Tom Hamilton said. "He was counted upon to use his strength and size to neutralize aerial threats, and his ability to read the game and organize his teammates helped Grayslake Central earn 8 shutouts He also lent a strong sense of leadership and composure to the team. A tremendous athlete with exceptional technical skill and great vision, and his ability to read and neutralize threats made him one of Grayslake Central's best defenders of all time."
Misael Tellez Round Lake
The junior stepped into a leadership role on defense this season and also had a way of setting up the offense on free kicks in the final third of the field. He had 3 goals and 4 assists. "He earned a starting spot on defense and took a role as a leader at the end of the defense," Panthers coach Hugo Tellez said. "He was also huge when taking free kicks from 40 yards out setting up great balls for goals."
R.J. Vasquez Antioch
A four-year varsity player and repeat all-area choice, he continued to grow as a defender. "R.J. has been the backbone of our defense for the past four years," Sequoits coach Marni Polakow said. "He has been the heart and soul of this team. He's willing to do anything and everything to help his team succeed. He excels at 1-v-1 duals, winning aerial battles, clearing balls off the line and scoring off corner kicks. His willingness to sacrifice his body and his work rate in games and training sessions set the tone for the rest of the team."
Ryan Wittenbrink Libertyville
Bound for Indiana University next year, the senior forward still has some high school soccer left. He'll try to lead the Wildcats to their second Class 3A state championship in three years this weekend. The repeat captain of the all-area team has 38 goals and 17 assists. He's also a two-time all-state player.
Player School Yr. Pos.
Bryan Alba Mundelein Jr. MF/F
Henry Barnes Carmel Catholic Sr. MF/F
Mike Bassier Warren Sr. F
Raffa Consalvo Wauconda Sr. MF
Omar Cordova Grayslake North So. D/MF
Austin Ehren Carmel Catholic Sr. F
Tony Fonseca Round Lake Jr. F
Matt Heery Grayslake North Jr. D/MF
Grant Herbek Libertyville Jr. D/MF
Ryan Kim Vernon Hills Sr. D
Kyle Knauer Carmel Catholic Sr. GK
Jony Lucio Mundelein Sr. MF/F
Matthew Mercure Lakes Sr. D
Jeff Milostan Lakes Sr. F
Daniel Orozco Grayslake Central Jr. D
Thomas Pearson Libertyville Jr. GK
Andrew Pytlak Lake Zurich Sr. D
Matt Randall Stevenson Sr. D
Rob Rao Carmel Catholic Sr. MF/F
Evan Rasmussen Libertyville Jr. MF/F
Jack Spalding Grayslake Central Sr. D
Misael Tellez Round Lake Jr. D
R.J. Vazquez Antioch Sr. D
*Ryan Wittenbrink Libertyville Sr. F
Honorable mentionKenny Adiyiah (Mundelein Sr. MF/F), Austin Becker (Libertyville Sr. D), Brett Cloe (Carmel Sr. D), Nolan Ehlers (Warren So. D), Matt Fix (Carmel Sr. MF), Giovanni Gonzalez (Grant Sr. F), Chase Hayden (Wauconda Jr. MF), Marqiis Hayward (Round Lake So. F), Michael Harty (Vernon Hills Sr. MF), Joe Heffernan (Lake Zurich Sr. D), Erik Hernandez (Wauconda Sr. D/F), Sebastian Hinestrosa (Grayslake Central Sr. MF/F), Riley Hoff (Libertyville Sr. MF/F), Andrew Juarez (Lake Zurich So. MF), Ethan Kalis (Stevenson Sr. G), Tanner Kelly (Libertyville Jr. MF/F), Camden Kowalski (Mundelein So. MF), Greg Krikorian (Libertyville Sr. MF), Bart Krumpos (Antioch Sr. MF), Samuel Lee (Grant Sr. MF), Kia Mayahara (Stevenson Jr. MF), Henry Morrison (Grayslake Central Jr. MF), Krystian Nikolov (Antioch Jr. F), Steven O'Reilly (Stevenson Sr. MF), Logan Perhaeser (Grayslake North Sr. D), Declan Porter (Warren Sr. D), Lukas Pytlak (Lake Zurich So. D/MF), David Ramirez (Wauconda Jr. MF), Ronald Rojas (Grayslake North Sr. F), Jesus Ramos (Round Lake So. F), Armando Rosiles (Mundelein Jr. MF), Daniel Talavera (Grant Jr. F), Gabe Tijerina (Antioch Sr. MF), Cristian Vargas (Vernon Hills Sr. F)
Selections and profiles by Rusty Silber