DuPage County and Fox boys soccer notes: DVC race coming down to the wire

Naperville North kept its hopes alive for a 28th DuPage Valley Conference title after rallying to beat Metea Valley, 2-1, on Tuesday.

"Metea always plays us well and (coach) Josh (Robinson) does a fantastic job," Huskies coach Jim Konrad said. "The energy was there from the start and they got into it right away."

Dylan Ferreira scored in the 10th minute to give the Mustangs an early advantage but the Huskies tied it on a Jaxon Stokes to Josh Pedersen goal in the 53rd minute.

Stokes delivered again in the 63rd to improve the Huskies to 12-1-1, 3-0-1.

"I'm proud of the boys for battling back and this keeps us in the hunt," Konrad said. "We were fortunate Stokes created two chances for us."

The Huskies still have to play Waubonsie Valley while Naperville Central (6-3-5, 3-0-1) finishes with the Mustangs (5-7, 3-1-1).

"We've got to get though Waubonsie (Valley) to hopefully at least get a share with (Naperville) Central," Konrad said.

Royals refill roster:

Larkin graduated 12 players from last year's 16-9 team so many new players were going to step up and fill the void if the Royals were hoping to replicate last year's success.

Consider it filled.

Larkin (9-2) will look to reach double digits in the win column as it travels to Fenton on Wednesday.

"We graduated 12 seniors, but have 12 seniors now, but we didn't have 12 juniors last year," Larkin coach Mike Huizar said. "At least six to eight of those are new to varsity."

Adrian Diaz is causing massive problems for opponents with 14 goals and 11 assists through just 11 games while Atlai Gutierrez and Fran Montoyo are making major contributions as well.

"They've been doing a lot, putting the game in their hands," Huizar said. "It helps when you do well the season before. Losing a sectional final against a rival (Elgin), we felt we had that game and knowing you're close and then being a position with new guys that have come, we feel the momentum behind this. Actually, two weeks ago we had Round Lake and a conference game (Glenbard South) and I was out that week and not even a blip, so they are really in a good place. I'm hoping we can keep it going."

The Royals are finding that extra push that's often needed to finish off teams in tight action.

"We had a couple of games that were close and we've been able to get into the next gear, which is exciting," Huizar said. "It's what playoffs are about. It's been exciting to see them in games only up by one or tied or whatever. They are able to find that next gear as a team and really push through. And the biggest benefit is when one guy isn't able to seal the deal on their own, we have no shortage of other guys who can make a difference in games."

Cadets rolling in Aurora:

Seniors Mactzil Uriel Lopez and Alvaro Alanis have been playing for Marmion coach Gerardo Alvarez for the past four seasons.

The duo has continued to enhance their skills year after year while at the same time boosting the Cadets to great success. Through Sept. 25, Marmion (8-1-3) has only experienced a single defeat and that was a 3-1 decision to Naperville North, one of the top teams in the state.

"That was our only loss but we had some brutal results (ties) where we had the lead late in the game against Waubonsie Valley and Romeoville," Alvarez said. "We were frustrated and couldn't close out some games due to some unfortunate circumstances and we've stressed to close out games and the natural way to do that is to score more goals rather than go up for a goal and defend."

The Cadets led Naperville North early.

"They were better than us that day but I thought the second half was pretty even," Alvarez said. "I felt if we can play with these guys then were in a good position. We're playing for conference, the Aurora Cup and seeding for the sectional. We haven't won anything yet."

The tie against the Warriors hurt the Cadets in pursuit of the Aurora Cup but with victories already against Metea Valley and East Aurora, and a date looming later in October against West Aurora, it's likely going to come down to the Blackhawks or Cadets, with the Mustangs a longshot in the mix.

"It's been a continuation of last season," Alvarez said. "It's just the feeling I get with this team and the confidence they have and how they all pitch in. Some guys don't get many minutes but when we plug them in they're ready to go and it doesn't matter if it's the 23rd or 24th guy or how many we have on the roster."

It certainly helps when you have experienced leaders like Uriel Lopez and Alanis.

"Those two are terrific players who have an understanding of my expectations," Alvarez said. "I feel like I understand them quite well and they've done a tremendous job of building on the culture from four years ago. It's benefitted a lot of guys, especially the youngers guys. They've been ready to go and playing well."

Alvarez was quite a player in his own right years ago at Marmion. He remains the school's all-time leading scorer.

Same old Geneva, same old Vikings:

Geneva senior Liam O'Donoghue has certainly made the most of his chances against rival Batavia.

O'Donoghue had an assist and a goal during last Thursday's 3-0 victory over Batavia during Tri-Cities Night. Last year he scored twice during a 3-1 win at home over the Bulldogs.

Fellow senior Trent Giansanti scored the first and only goal the Vikings would need in last week's win. Just a couple of years ago he erupted for a hat trick as a sophomore in a 4-1 win over the Bulldogs.

Geneva (8-4-2) still has three DuKane Conference games remaining, after Tuesday's 2-0 win over Wheaton North. The Vikings still have to play both St. Charles schools and Lake Park.

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