The boys soccer season starts next week. Here are previews of teams from around the Suburban Life coverage area.
Coach: Sean Wesley
Last season’s record: 13-1
Top players: Nick Roe, so., D; Dan Pepping, sr., M; Nico Picha, jr., M; TJ McVey, sr., F.
Worth noting: Graduation claimed nearly all of the remaining players from Benet’s 2019 Class 2A state championship team, except for Roe, who returns after spending last year in Spain. Roe already is considered a high-end Division I prospect and was all-conference last spring along with Picha, who is the team’s best attacking player. Pepping is the only other returning starter.
“They will all need to make major contributions if we are to have a successful season,” Wesley said.
Downers Grove North
Coach: Michael Schmitt
Last season’s record: 8-2-1
Top players: Owen Lesley, sr., D; Bradley Szyklowski, jr., D; Ryan Wilson, so., M; Jack Ryan, jr.; Jackson Irby, jr.; Max Prince, jr.
Worth noting: “We graduated a large, talented group of 14 seniors from last season, so this is a bit of a rebuilding year,” Schmitt said. “We have a good group of young players coming up and mixed with the returning players, I think we can hit the ground running.”
Downers Grove South
Coach: Jon Stapleton
Last season’s record: 6-5
Top players: Jerry Smazil, sr., F; Josh Venouziou, sr., F; Karol Nizolek, jr., M/D; Nick Opacian, sr., M; Victor Carrasco, jr., D; Zach Johnson, jr., GK.
Outlook: Smazil was all-sectional last spring after recording four goals and five assists, while Venouziou joined him on the all-conference list with six goals and three assists. Nizolek was all-conference and honorable mention all-sectionals. Junior defenders Max Paschall and Matt Crowley and junior Julian Lopez are the top newcomers.
“Our goal is to build on the success of the shortened spring season in an effort to compete for a conference championship and be the best possible team heading into the IHSA playoffs,” Stapleton said.
Coach: Adam Szyszko
Last season’s record: 1-9-2
Top players: Aryan Sandoval, sr., M; Matt Drinane, sr., GK; Derek Pregel, sr., F; Tres Moore, jr., F; Jacob Lichtenheld, jr., D; Hector Gonzalez, sr. M; Joseph Kim, sr., M; Jorge Navara, sr. D; Noah Ball, sr., D
Worth noting: “We welcome back a lot of players from a JV championship team that opted out last year for various reasons,” Szyszko said. “Too early to tell about strengths and weaknesses right now.”
Coach: Philip Wicyk
Last season’s record: 6-7
Top players: Nik Jurgovan, sr., F; Trevor DuVair, sr., F; Chris Hoppe, sr., GK; Jack Kissane, sr., M; James Doyle, sr., M; Matthew Wind, sr., M
Worth noting: First-year coach Wicyk is new but most of the team is not. The roster includes 16 seniors, 10 of whom have varsity experience.
DuVair and Jurgovan will lead the offense, while sophomore Eduardo Vargas and junior Carolos Gonzales join a deep midfield. The Hilltoppers return all four starting defenders in Tanner DuVair, Ryan Weil, Tyler Faris and Lukas Breunig.
“The goal for this season is to be competitive in our stacked conference,” Wicyk said. “Our success will all be based on how well our athletes transition from one style of play to a new style being brought in. If our team can trust each other, the system and me, I believe we can be a tough opponent for all.”
Coach: Mike Wiggins
Last season’s record: 6-5
Top players: Dawson Steele, sr., M; Kevin Gottschalk, sr., M/D; Jack Finley, sr., F; Luke Anderson, sr., F
Worth noting: Finley, who had six goals and one assist, is the top returning scorer and one of 11 returning players.
“The Red Devils have shown a competitive edge that will serve us well as the days and weeks move on,” Wiggins said. “An eagerness to get into the attack, balanced with a work rate in defending will be key characteristics of a group that shows great passion to play. We are excited to see this group take the field and compete.”
IC Catholic Prep
Coach: Miguel Garcia
Last season’s record: 6-16-1
Top players: Carlo Arenas, sr., D; Anthony Serrano, sr., M; Justin Salgado, jr., F; Jason Hall, sr., F; Seamus Reilly, jr., D; Andy Schueler, jr., D; Skander Tahri, jr., GK; Gio Velasquez, so., M; Brian Kolodziejczyk, jr., D
Worth noting: The Knights have 11 returners, including three all-conference picks in Arenas, Serrano and Salgado.
“The overall outlook for this season is to have a strong defense again with an extraordinary keeper and a couple of excellent finishers,” Garcia said.
Coach: Jim Bageanis
Last season’s record: 8-1-2
Top players: Giovanni Alvarez, sr., M; Juan Ramirez, sr., D; Edgar Quintero, jr., M; Jonathon Murillo, sr., F/M; Sebastian Mayorga, sr., GK; Daniel Diaz, sr., M; Ismael Zepeda, jr., F; Luiz Gonzalez, sr., M; Eddie Barrraza, sr., D.
Worth noting: The program has amazing depth. The Mustangs graduated 11 players, nine of whom are playing in college, yet still return nine starters, including all-conference selections Alvarez, Ramirez and Quintero.
“I feel we have the potential to have a great season,” Bageanis said. “We have some veteran players and a group of talented young guys ready to add to our program. I feel that it will take a little time for us to jell together because of the tough schedule we play, but that will only help prepare us for the playoffs. I think our strengths are the individual skills our players possess as well as our offensive creativity. We need our back line to communicate with each other and I think we will be a solid team.”
Coach: Roberto Cianci
Last season’s record: 2-11-1
Top players: Owen Almer, sr., F/M; Alex Gamboa, sr., F; ; Andrew Rozmus, sr., M; Dominic DiBrizzi, jr., Dl Kevin Fantozzi, sr., D; Roman Perez, sr., D
Worth noting: Cianci is optimistic thanks to a strong senior class led by defenders Fantozzi, Perez, Zach Milos and Matthew Lannan. Almer, an all-sectional pick, and Gamboa, who was honorable mention all-sectional, lead the offense.
“The team returns eight starters that have all been playing varsity soccer since they were freshman,” Cianci said. “Look for seniors Owen Almer, Andrew Rozmus and Alex Gamboa to provide goal scoring from a variety of positions.
“Junior Dominic DiBrizzi will be a key strength whether playing at center back or in midfield. Junior Marshall Eisman starts his first year on varsity after a strong spring and summer. A strong showing this year is definitely possible to cap off an amazing four years with this group. “
Coach: Joel Zielke
Last season’s record: 8-4-2
Top players: Christian Cruz, sr., M; Jake Alex, sr., D; Ethan Lemkuil, sr. M; Cameron Baker, jr., M
Worth noting: Cruz, who had four goals and 17 assists last season, is a top playmaker coming off an all-conference season and is part of a strong midfield that also includes Baker, who had five goals and three assists, and Lemkuil, who bagged six goals to go with two assists.
“This trio has a good combination of craftiness and speed to go with lots of experience,” Zielke said. “Look for Christian Cruz to have another huge season building on his 17 assists in just 14 games this past spring.”
Seniors Jake Alex, a three-year starter, and Eddie Favela and junior Ethan Munk are returning starters on the back line and should provide good protection for junior goalkeeper Kyle Steiner, a varsity newcomer.
“Kyle is a quick learner and makes up for his inexperience with his athleticism and soft hands,” Zielke said. “Who will step up to score is a question heading into the season. However, the Trojans do have a young group of speedy forwards that should present challenges to back lines and open things up in the box.”
Wheaton Warrenville South
Coach: Guy Callipari
Last season’s record: 4-8-3
Top players: Jason Weisheit, sr., F; Issa Husseini, jr., F; Nikhil Bawa, jr., D; Gael Alfaro, jr., M; Drew Murman, sr., D
Worth noting: The Tigers return 12 players, including Weisheit and Husseini, who combined for nine goals.
“We will get out slowly while trying to develop continuity in our ideas given the majority of players are new to the level of play,” Callipari said. “Our goal is to compete in the DuKane Conference. The large question is who can provide the opportunities in the offensive third of the field.”
Coach: Jordan Stopka
Last season’s record: 7-3-1
Top players: Sam Musial, sr., M; Jose Herrera, jr., F; Kevin Gliatis, sr., F; Yale Silvestre, sr., F/D; Joe Hernandez, jr., M
Worth noting: The Dukes return seven starters, including Musial, a fourth-year varsity player who had five goals and two assists last season. He is one of four returning all-conference players, the others being Herrera, who had five goals and five assists, Hernandez and Gliatis, who scored seven times in only eight games. Also back are senior goalkeeper Ricky Torres, who had two shutouts, and senior defender Connor Bare.
Senior defender Kacper Janowski, junior defender Ryder Kohl and sophomore midfielder/forward Gustavo Herrera are the top newcomers.
“The outlook is very positive,” Stopka said. “We return seven starters with lots of depth all over the field. There will be battles at multiple positions. Our strength will be down the middle. The team needs to solidify the back line and pick a formation that plays to the strengths of the players on the squad.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle