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  2015 Boys' Season Preview         

  By Aaron Brown


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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 2015 season. Let's take a closer look at ten teams considered 'Sleepers' this season:


Head Coach: Tim Caldwell

Key Players: Mason Reidel, Haden Santefort, John Schmidt, Pete Cipriano, Peter Mitchell

Player to Watch: John Schloen

Goalkeeper: Lucas Santefort

Final 2014 Ranking: 28th


2014 Verdict: The Vikings' season ended with a sectional quarterfinal loss to Lincoln-Way Central. H-F posted a 13-18 record in 2014.


Outlook: H-F looks to bounce back from an up-and-down season in 2014; they have done quite a nice job rebuilding quickly and developing some of their younger players in preparation for the new season, giving them a chance to get right back in the mix of an always-tough SWSC Red division. Haden Santefort should carry the bulk of the scoring load, while the younger Santefort will look replace long-time starter Jakobi McClellan in goal. If the rest of the lineup can impress, the Vikings will likely rise up the rankings quickly throughout the upcoming season.


Head Coach: Everardo Leon

Key Players: Alec Resendez, Charlie Crothers, Conor Loy, Keegan Finn, Shea Boyer, Zachary Benson

Player to Watch: Michael Balcerak

Goalkeeper: Frank Skorski

Final 2014 Ranking: 33rd


2014 Verdict: The Lions went 15-11 during the 2014 season but dropped a tough decision to Conant in the quarterfinal round of the Palatine Sectional last May.


Outlook: St Viator's lineup remains mostly intact after a successful regular season was followed by a premature exit from the sectional playoffs. There is plenty of reason to be optimistic as the Lions move forward, as both Boyer and Finn should handle the scoring duties and the rest of the well-balanced lineup should get head coach Everardo Leon's squad ready to excel in the postseason this time around. The defense, which should be as solid as ever, is boosted by having experienced goalie Frank Skorski back in the net for the third consecutive season.


Head Coach: Brian Newby

Key Players: Alex Nicholas, Conrad Wojda, Dan Anderson, Dylan Assmann, Zack Starkey

Players to Watch: Robert DePau, Zak Keper

Goalkeeper: Michael Goedken

Final 2014 Ranking: 35th


2014 Verdict: Fremd finished third in the MSL West and came on strong during the postseason, earning wins over Hersey and Prospect in the first two rounds of sectionals; they nearly stunned top-seeded Palatine in the sectional finals but eventually lost 12-10 to their rivals. The Vikings finished the previous campaign with a 14-16 mark.


Outlook: The Vikings should be right back in the thick of the MSL West title race and should be able to continue their upward trajectory after closing out the previous season with several impressive playoff performances. There are plenty options on the offensive end, with players like Anderson, Assmann, and Starkey leading the scoring charge for head coach Brian Newby. The emergence of several other young players late last season should have Fremd looking dangerous again this May, while Goedken is back to anchor the defense.


Head Coach: Mark Rebora

Key Players: David Pawlan, Hayden Wilson, John Roberts, Josh Khazanov

Player to Watch: Jack Brownlee

Goalkeeper: Graham Rose

Final 2014 Ranking: 34th


2014 Verdict: The Spartans went undefeated in the CSL North during the regular season but could not get past New Trier in the sectional quarterfinals at GBS. North went 14-15 in 2014.


Outlook: Glenbrook North enters the new season looking to defend their CSL North title and hoping to break the .500 barrier after a solid 2014 campaign. Roberts will take on the bulk of the scoring load to make up for the loss of Robert Liberman, while players like Khazanov and Wilson should help round out a formidable attack for the Spartans. If they can add some depth, it would be no surprise to see GBN pick up where they left off and make a deeper postseason run when May arrives.


Head Coach: Rob White

Key Players: Adam Schroeder, Angelo Dalde, Carlos Leal, Charles Waters, Grant Langfoss

Player to Watch: Andrew Hinterliter

Goalkeeper: Jacob LaMore

Final 2014 Ranking: 37th


2014 Verdict: The Boilers went 14-16 during the 2014 campaign and were eliminated by top-seeded Andrew in the quarterfinals of the Stagg Sectional last May.


Outlook: The potential is there for Bradley to shatter last season's 14-win tally, as they return several starters with loads of experience. The offense will revolve around Leal, who had a strong season in 2014, while LaMore's return in goal should help lead a solid defensive unit. If the rest of the new faces in the starting lineup can excel, look for the Boilers to battle for the SWSC Red title as well as become a dangerous postseason opponent.


Head Coach: Pat Shaughnessy

Key Players: Max Petraitis, Mike Rubino, Nate Pakosz, Pat Kelly, Pat McGuire, Tommy Budney

Players to Watch: Michael Laughlin, Ryan Murphy

Goalkeeper: Liam McGuire

Final 2014 Ranking: 38th


2014 Verdict: The Phoenix snagged an opening-round victory over Bremen at the LWC Sectional before falling to Lockport in the quarterfinal round. LWN went 11-21 in 2014.


Outlook: Lincoln-Way North looks to have the pieces in place to rebound from last year's up-and-down season and should once again be ready to challenge for a SWSC Red title. Kelly, Pakosz, and Petraitis should give head coach Pat Shaughnessy's squad some much-needed scoring punch, while Liam McGuire will be called upon to replace Shamus Shields in goal. If the rest of the new starters can excel quickly, expect the Phoenix to rise up the rankings quite rapidly in 2015.


Head Coach: Steven Anderson

Key Players: Colin Karpluk, Jake Carlson, Kyle Karpluk, Kyle Small, Pat Dunne

Players to Watch: Devin Janosek, Mike Dice

Goalkeeper: Joey Steele

Final 2014 Ranking: 39th


2014 Verdict: LWW dropped a heartbreaking 12-11 overtime decision to LWE in the opening round of the LWC Sectional last May but finished the campaign with an 8-21 record after just a two-win season in 2013.


Outlook: The Warriors quadrupled their win total in 2014, have several familiar faces back in the lineup, and should be ready to challenge for the top spot in the SWSC Red division this season. Carlson will be the focal point of the offense, but he will be helped by the Karpluk brothers, Dunne, Small and several others that give head coach Steven Anderson's squad some much-needed depth. If things go according to plan, the Warriors could be looking at their first winning season in their relatively short team history.


Head Coach: Ivan Munoz

Key Players: Alex Kratcoski, Christian Hobson, Jordan Mitchell, Paul Manfredini

Players to Watch: Carl Michelotti, Noah Jamieson

Goalkeeper: Andrew Fink

Final 2014 Ranking: 36th


2014 Verdict: Libertyville defeated Wheeling in the sectional quarterfinals at Mundelein before being ousted by the hosts in the following round. The Wildcats ended 2014 with a 20-11 mark.


Outlook: The Wildcats will look to pick up where they left off after last season's 20-win performance; to do so, they will have to replace several of their top performers who were lost to graduation, but look for Kratcoski to be a difference-maker on the offensive end and Fink to anchor the defense for head coach Ivan Munoz. If they can find the depth needed to compete with the best teams in their area, Libertyville could be a dangerous opponent in the postseason.


Head Coach: Kevin Wolak

Key Players: Anthony Colon, Dan Magee, Dominic Rosa, Kevin Garza, Paul Sitkiewicz, Zach Temmer

Players to Watch: Christian Hernandez, Joey Rosa, Nick Pavlokovic

Goalkeeper: Coulter Greenwell

Final 2014 Ranking: 40th


2014 Verdict: R-B lost in the quarterfinals to Oak Park at the LT Sectional but saw their record improve from 6-18 to 14-15 from the previous season.


Outlook: The Bulldogs return several key elements from a team that more than doubled their win total in 2014. That should bode well for new head coach Kevin Wolak, as R-B will be looking to surpass the .500 barrier and make some definite noise in the postseason. Colon, Magee, and Sitkiewicz lead a solid senior cast, while Greenwell gained valuable experience as the starting goalkeeper last season in just his freshman year. Overall, R-B could be in line for their first winning season in their short history.


Head Coach: Adam Koschnitzke

Key Players: Christian Zielinski, Frank Kovar, James Birriel, Jack Pyde, Tyler Gustafson

Player to Watch: Paul Coulston

Goalkeeper: TBA

Final 2014 Ranking: 43rd


2014 Verdict: Schaumburg nearly upset Hersey in the sectional quarterfinal round before falling 15-14 to the Huskies. The Saxons have posted back-to-back ten win seasons and finished 10-14 last year.


Outlook: The Saxons have plenty of firepower returning to the starting lineup as the new season gets closer to arriving; they look ready to throw their hat into the ring to compete in a wide-open MSL West division. Birriel, Gustafson, and Pyde will spearhead the offense, while the rest of the cast could make a quick impression for head coach Adam Koschnitzke's squad.




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