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  2015 Boys' Season Preview         

  By Aaron Brown

 

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THE DARK HORSES: BOYS

 

A handful of boys' teams just missed out on making the Preseason Top 25 but could make their way up the rankings during the 2015 season. Let's take a closer look at five teams that should be considered 'Dark Horses' this season:


26. MUNDELEIN


Head Coach: Russ Gates

Key Players: Eugene Kim, James Philbrick, Jason White, Jeremy Westgate, Matt Schaedel, Mike Ward

Players to Watch: Eric Nielsen, Jeremiah Lam, Nick Oleinik

Goalkeeper: Alfonso Ochoa

Final 2014 Ranking: 23rd

 

2014 Verdict: The Mustangs earned sectional wins over Libertyville and Vernon Hills before falling to Stevenson in the sectional finals last season. They finished the 2014 campaign with a 17-13 record.

 

Outlook: Don't expect Mundelein to be on the outside looking in on the Top 25 for very long. There are plenty of solid players with loads of potential ready to make up for the loss of several seniors as the team looks to build off last year's successful postseason. Their regular season showdown at Stevenson on April 7 could be an indicator of the Mustangs' chances at a state tournament berth, as the Patriots were the team that knocked Mundelein out of the playoffs in the sectional final round in 2014.


27. BARRINGTON


Head Coach: Rob Emary

Key Players: Chase Lesniak, Marshall Mathias, Matt Gouskos, Mitch Gavars, Pat Hogan, Tom Derkin

Player to Watch: Riley Lehmann

Goalkeeper: Andrew Fischer

Final 2014 Ranking: 29th

 

2014 Verdict: Barrington finished second in the MSL West and knocked off McHenry in the sectional quarterfinals before bowing out to eventual state qualifier Stevenson in the semifinals. The Broncos followed up a 10-win season in 2013 by more than doubling their win total, finishing 23-7 in 2014.

 

Outlook: The Broncos are poised for a big season and will be in the mix to claim their first MSL title and state tournament berth when all is said and done in 2015. The Lesniak-led lineup looks like the Broncos' best looking squad in some time, so they will hope to break up the revolving door that has seen Fremd, Conant, and Palatine claim both the conference title and earn a state berth in the same year for the past three seasons. Could Barrington be the team to pull off that feat when the postseason rolls around?


28. CONANT

Head Coach: Tim Daniel

Key Players: Braden LaMore, Cody Yeiser, Connor Schmitz, Jim Estep, Mihir Patel, Sebastian Peters

Players to Watch: Kevin Courtney, Nate Claussen, Tyler Goehrke, Vlad Hirjoi

Goalkeeper: Jacob Lawson

Final 2014 Ranking: 31st

 

2014 Verdict: The Cougars earned a hard-fought win over St Viator in the quarterfinal round of the Palatine Sectional but lost in the following round to the hosts and eventual sectional champions. Conant finished 15-16-1 in 2014 just one year removed from a state tournament appearance.

 

Outlook: Conant made quick work of the rebuilding process last year after coming off a 30-win season that culminated in a state tournament berth in 2013. After a fourth place finish in the MSL West and sectional semifinal exit, the Cougars look to get back amongst the conference title race and will likely have enough experience and firepower to challenge for another state tournament berth when all is said and done in 2015.


29. ST RITA


Head Coach: Sigfredo Cruz

Key Players: Dan Sliazis, Eric Johnson, Kevin Cronin, Lorenzo Henrichs, Matt Lopez

Players to Watch: Ethan Johnson, Joe Qualter

Goalkeeper: TBA

Final 2014 Ranking: 30th

 

2014 Verdict: The Mustangs downed Morgan Park in the quarterfinal round of the Stagg Sectional but fell to the hosts in the following round. St Rita finished the previous season with a .500 mark (15-15) and some key wins throughout the Catholic League regular season.

 

Outlook: The Mustangs will be glad to have a lot of important pieces back as they gear up for another challenging Catholic League season, where they finished sixth last season. If the new faces in the lineup can gel with their top returnees, St Rita could shoot up the conference standings and make a strong push to go beyond the semifinal round of the sectional playoffs.


30. MAINE SOUTH

Head Coach: Chris Deger

Key Players: Alex Sulek, Dominic Pilolla, Ernesto Mato, Jason Pinsky, Phil Wachowski, Sam Frey

Players to Watch: Conor Brosnan, Jason Giblin, Nick Calarco, Nick Schnaufer

Goalkeeper: Danny McNamee

Final 2014 Ranking: 32nd

 

2014 Verdict: The Hawks quietly went 18-9 in 2014 but were eliminated from the postseason in the sectional quarterfinal round via Niles West.

 

Outlook: In their short history, Maine South has established themselves quite nicely among the best teams in the Central Suburban League. The Hawks should be in line for another successful season and could be one of the dark horses to emerge from a crowded GBN Sectional if some of the fresh faces in the lineup can make an immediate impact to go along with a handful of talented veterans.


 

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