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  2014 Boys' Season Preview    

  By Aaron Brown

  February 2014

 

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THE SLEEPERS: BOYS

 

There are several teams on the rise and others who lost a ton of production to graduation but could reload quickly in order to make an impact during the 2014 season. Let's take a closer look at ten teams considered 'Sleepers' this season:

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31. ANDREW


The T-Bolts have nearly everyone back in 2014, so they should have no problem turning around their 10-16 mark from a year ago and challenging for the SWSC Red division title. Eric Tamulonis leads the way for the offense, while the rest of the balanced offensive attack from the T-Bolts will be provided by the likes of Alex Batuello, Alex Gacek, Jake Villasenor, Chuck Walters and Andrew Wojdyla. Tim Yara took over the goaltending duties in mid-April of last season and should solidify the backline for what should be a much-improved Andrew defense.


Head Coach: Krzystof Kowal

Key Players: Alex Batuello, Alex Gacek, Eric Tamulonis, Chuck Walters, Andrew Wojdyla

Players to Watch: Zach Rentner, Jake Villasenor

Goalkeeper: Tim Yara

Final 2013 Ranking: 38th


32. LIBERTYVILLE


Libertyville boasts plenty of speed and talent heading into the new season, so they could top last year's 19-win output and challenge Stevenson for the North Suburban Conference title. Adam King will look to carry the offense after last season's strong goal-scoring performance. Andrew Fink returns in goal after his first season as the starter and should be much improved. Meanwhile, contributors like Mitch Salata, Bobby Snader and Jason Voelker will need to make their presence felt if the Wildcats hope to get past the sectional semifinal round, where they lost a two-goal heartbreaker to Stevenson last May.


Head Coach: Ivan Munoz

Key Players: Adam King, Pat King, Mitch Salata, Bobby Snader, Jason Voelker

Goalkeeper: Andrew Fink

Final 2013 Ranking: 25th


33. WAUBONSIE VALLEY

The potential is there for Waubonsie Valley to shatter last season's 11-win tally, as they return several starters with loads of experience.
Nathan Morris and Jared Schreier are two versatile seniors who can make things difficult for opponents on both ends of the pool. Meanwhile, head coach Matt Niemeier will expect big things from juniors Bradin Krug and Cameron Steele after both emerged as scoring threats last season. If the Warriors can find some depth, they should be able to make a deep postseason run in May.

Head Coach: Matt Niemeier

Key Players: Bradin Krug, Nathan Morris, Jared Schreier, Cameron Steele

Goalkeeper: TBA

Final 2013 Ranking: 33rd


34. ST RITA


St Rita has an abundance of options heading into the 2014 season, as nearly everyone returns to the lineup for head coach Sigfredo Cruz. The Mustangs' balanced attack is led by Chuck Henrichs, Eric Johnson and John O'Sullivan, who are all capable of leading the offense at times.
They will be joined by juniors Matt Lopez and Dan Slizais, two players who emerged as solid overall performers early last season and should be improved after a full year of experience. Dan Carone and Kevin Cronin are also back in the mix and should play valuable minutes for the Catholic League squad. On the defensive side of things, junior goaltender Chris McMahon returns and could be a difference-maker for a team that should easily surpass their win total (9) from 2013.


Head Coach: Sigfredo Cruz

Key Players: Dan Carone, Kevin Cronin, Chuck Henrichs, Matt Lopez, John O'Sullivan, Dan Slizais

Player to Watch: Eric Johnson

Goalkeeper: Chris McMahon

Final 2013 Ranking: 42nd


35. NILES WEST


Niles West produced another successful season (15-11) in 2013, so expect more of the same from one of the youngest programs in the state of Illinois. Head coach John Przekota will count on the production of veterans Kyle Patt and Steven Renko on the offensive end, while Matt Lefler returns in goal as the centerpiece of an always-tough team defense. Finding replacements for Andrew Mudreac and Max Romanelli will be tough, but Piotr Chmielewski and Maaz Shah lead a stable of up-and-coming players that could help the Wolves challenge for the CSL title and make an big impact in the postseason.


Head Coach: John Przekota

Key Players: Piotr Chmielewski, Kyle Patt, Steven Renko, Maaz Shah

Goalkeeper: Matt Lefler

Final 2013 Ranking: 35th


36. BRADLEY


The Boilers are hopeful that a 'strength-in-numbers' approach will help them best their 19-win total of last season. With Joseph Page and Paul Weber gone, head coach Rob White will look to players like Dylan Cote, Nick Dalzell and Zach Zahrobsky to pick up the scoring slack. Veteran goalkeeper Mark Hoffman returns to lead the defense, giving the team the type of confidence needed to once again challenge for the SWSC Red title. The team has plenty of depth to spare, as players such as Michael Goodman, Ryan Graeber and Keith Martin are amongst could play valuable minutes for Bradley.


Head Coach: Rob White

Key Players: Dylan Cote, Nick Dalzell, Michael Goodman, Ryan Graeber, Keith Martin, Zach Zahrobsky

Goalkeeper: Mark Hoffman

Final 2013 Ranking: 31st


37. EVANSTON


The Wildkits head into the new campaign hoping to build off last May's sectional quarterfinal win over GBS. They could be on their way up the rankings if the returning cast of players can quickly make up for the loss of Sergi Maymo Lopez and Kameron-Simmons Gill. The offense will be led by Zach Kornick, Liam O'Connor and Joe Seguine-Hall, while head coach Kevin Auger hopes that players such as Dave Figueredo, Alex Haab and Nathan Stein can make positive contributions as the season gets underway. Evanston gets a boost on the defensive end as senior Stuart Hays returns to man the goal.


Head Coach: Kevin Auger

Key Players: Dave Figueredo, Alex Haab, Zach Kornick, Liam O'Connor, Joe Seguine-Hall, Nathan Stein

Goalkeeper: Stuart Hays

Final 2013 Ranking: 26th


38. SCHAUMBURG


The Saxons seemed to turn the corner late in the 2013 season after earning a 9-7 win over Hersey in the sectional quarterfinals. That should serve as a sign of things to come, as junior James Birriel had a breakout season and will carry the bulk of the scoring load for new head coach Adam Koschnitzke. The MSL West squad also returns contributors like Austin Borst, Tyler Gustafson, Dan Skirook and Michael Walsh, so expect a major improvement over last season's win total (10) and a deeper postseason run. Robert Bach also takes over the goaltending duties from graduate Marty Faleni on the defensive end.


Head Coach: Adam Koschnitzke

Key Players: James Birriel, Austin Borst, Tyler Gustafson, Frank Kovar, Dan Skirook, Michael Walsh

Goalkeeper: Robert Bach

Final 2013 Ranking: 43rd


39. LINCOLN-WAY CENTRAL


Lincoln-Way Central made huge strides last season, as they followed up a 1-24 campaign in 2012 with double-digit wins under new head coach Jim Lock. They could be even better this season, as a solid group of seniors should provide a balanced attack and make things very interesting for their SWSC Blue division rivals. Tristan Funk, Conor McGowan and Ryan Sterling make for a hard-to-stop trio on the offensive end, while the emergence of Kyle Forsythe last season should give the Knights another valuable weapon on both ends of the pool. Senior goaltender Mike Molchin takes over the full-time duties in goal after splitting time with Mike Petrizzo in 2013, and should play a key role in Central's potential rise into the Top 25 this year.


Head Coach: Jim Lock

Key Players: Kyle Forsythe, Tristan Funk, Conor McGowan, Ryan Sterling

Goalkeeper: Mike Molchin

Final 2013 Ranking: 39th


40. LINCOLN-WAY EAST


The Griffins could return to their winning ways as they have several familiar faces back to try and best their 8-21 mark of a year ago. Head coach Mike Cremieux will look to seniors Declan Flaherty and Keegan Murphy for leadership and increased offensive production to make up for the loss of Andy Gramont and Al Newell. The hope is that a strong junior class led by Joe DiGiovanni, Nate Drewes, Nick Drewes and Eric Mueller can step up and get the team into double-digit win territory and give the group a chance to make some noise in the postseason.


Head Coach: Mike Cremieux

Key Players: Joe DiGiovanni, Nate Drewes, Nick Drewes, Declan Flaherty, Eric Mueller, Keegan Murphy

Goalkeeper: TBA

Final 2013 Ranking: 41st


 

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