Liam Egan, Yosif Lima plan ways to build on Guerin’ success

The Guerin boys soccer team achieved its goal of reaching the regional championship this season, but with six graduating players, the Gators will need returning players to step into leadership roles.

Junior Liam Egan and sophomore Yosif Lima are ready to take on the challenge, but each in his own way.

Egan is Guerin’s left outside back. He marks opposing forwards and uses his voice to organize the entire defense.

“Liam is just so aggressive, he commands the defense basically,” said sophomore Randy Gohmann, the team’s sweeper. “He’s really vocal. We actually make fun of him for yelling ‘Good’ after every nice play someone makes.”

Lima, who plays in the midfield on the left wing, is more soft-spoken, choosing to lead his teammates with his play.

“Yosif puts things in motion,” said Gohmann. “He just starts the passing and the crossing, and that’s how we score most goals.”

The Gators showed improvement throughout the season in possessing the ball and stringing together multiple passes, but the players know that they can still get better.

“In the beginning of the season our passing was off,” said Lima. “But that’s where we improved the most (in the regional), and why we won the two games.”

Lima’s ability to use his speed to push the ball past defenders into dangerous positions was a big part of that success as well. He scored the Gators’ lone goal in regulation in the first regional match with Roycemore, and then had an assist in the semifinal against North Shore Country Day.

Defensively, the Gators have experienced players returning, but coach Roberto Cianci wants to see improvement from Egan heading into his senior year.

“He’s already a solid marking defender,” said Cianci. “I just want him to learn to defend more and to play stronger. Another year to become more physical and to continue developing his touch.”

“We are losing our goalie and most of our offense,” said Egan. “We will need to step up as a defense.”

The Gators will have to replace several starters, but Egan and Lima will be among the 12 upperclassmen returning next season with the experience of getting to a regional championship game two years in a row.

“The seniors I asked to make a mark,” said Cianci. “We played for a regional final, which was one of our goals.

“The sophomores and juniors are still young, but we have them in key places on the field,” he said. “We want to make this a norm, where we’re playing for a regional final every year.”


Originally posted on 10/22/13.

By Jakub Rudnik

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Northridge tops Guerin in Class 1A boys soccer regional final

Northridge 3, Guerin 0


The Northridge boys soccer team was not able to score on its first 16 shots of the match Saturday, but the Knights scored twice in five minutes early in the second half to win the Class 1A Guerin Regional championship. Northridge advanced to play in the Guerin Sectional semifinal at 4 p.m. Wednesday.


In the 50th minute, Knights senior forward Mike Kane dribbled past a defender, then tucked a right-footed shot just inside the front post to give Northridge a lead it would never relinquish.


In addition to his goal, Kane assisted on the second goal of the match, a one-touch finish by senior midfielder Pedro Acosta. Kane took five total shots, including four on goal. Junior Antonio Galindo scored Northridge’s third goal on a header in the 74th minute.


Northridge took 22 shots in the game, with 10 being on goal. Guerin’s lone shot on goal came with less than 10 minutes remaining in the contest.


“The most important thing is choosing when to shoot, because a lot of our shots were from far out and not from good angles. Basically the key is finding the best places to shoot.” — Acosta on the Knights’ first-half scoring opportunities

Originally posted on 10/19/13.

By Jakub Rudnik

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Late touchdown lifts Highland Park over Niles North

Highland Park 21, Niles North 20


Senior Tommy Sutker threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to junior Cole Greenberg to give Highland Park (7-1, 4-0 CSL North) a 21-20 lead over Niles North (3-5, 2-2) with 5:18 remaining Friday. The Giants’ defense then forced a three-and-out, and the offense was able to run out the clock.


Highland Park was forced to punt with 6:31 remaining in the game down 20-14, but the punt hit a Niles North player in the back and was recovered by the Giants at the Niles North 11-yard line. Highland Park scored the game-winning touchdown three plays later.


Giants senior Grant Paley was a difference-maker on both sides of the ball. His 26-yard touchdown reception put Highland Park up 7-0 in the first quarter, and he intercepted a second-quarter pass after Niles North had driven to the Highland Park 30-yard line.


Niles North outgained Highland Park by nearly 200 yards of total offense (421-236), but the Vikings turned the ball over on downs after reaching the red zone on three separate occasions.


“We really have always tried to get the most points out of it — we take chances. We’re always trying to get seven points instead of three. We missed an (extra point), and we lost by one.” — Niles North senior Eddie Rodriguez on Niles North going for it on fourth down in the red zone three times rather than attempting a field goal


Originally posted on 10/18/13.

By Jakub Rudnik

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Possessive style keeps Barrington on front foot

The Barrington boys soccer team has gotten off to an excellent start by out-possessing its opponents and playing an aggressive style.

The Broncos’ ability to control the ball starts on defense, where they look to dispossess opponents with physical tackles and gain possession after 50-50 balls.

“We’ve got small guys, but we’ve got guys who will put their bodies on the line,” said junior defender and midfielder Giles Phillips.

When they win possession, Barrington (10-2-3, 3-1-1 Mid-Suburban League) looks to build its attack from the back and frequently send defenders on attacking runs to apply extra pressure on opposing defenses.

The start of the match against Buffalo Grove last week showed how devastating the Broncos’ possession-style attack can be.

“The first 10 minutes of the game we got it handed to us,” said Buffalo Grove senior midfielder Zach Masciopinto.

Barrington dominated the ball and had five shots on goal and four corner kicks, although they couldn’t manage to score.

To generate more offense in the second half, Broncos coach Scott Steib pushed Phillips into the midfield, leaving just three defenders. Buffalo Grove was forced to respond by dropping one of its two forwards back to help defend.

“(Coach) said, ‘Giles, go be a nuisance in the middle,’” Phillips said. “So I put myself up there and tried to create so we could finish.”

Barrington was unable to get on the scoreboard until the final minute, when Logan Morris scored on a penalty kick, but Buffalo Grove was kept on its toes the entire match.

Possessing the ball has benefited Barrington on the defensive end as well; the Broncos have allowed just eight goals in 15 matches this season. But with just one goal in the past two games, Barrington has to generate more offense from its possession in remaining Mid-Suburban League play.

“It’s soccer, we need to score goals,” Phillips said. “That’s what we need to do to win.”

Originally posted on 10/02/13

By Jakub Rudnik

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Buffalo Grove defense remains difficult to break

Buffalo Grove has shut out six of its 12 opponents this year and will be using that defense as a recipe for success.

 The Buffalo Grove boys soccer team has struggled to find the net this season, but its stout defense has kept the Bison from faltering.

The back line has recorded six shutouts in twelve matches to help Buffalo Grove (3-5-4, 1-3-2) remain competitive in Mid-Suburban League play.

“We’ve played well in back,” said Buffalo Grove coach Rick Carlson. “The two guys in back in the middle are really good athletes and good soccer players. They’ve been aggressive … they’re strong, and they anticipate well.”

The Bison defense is organized as a flat-four across the back, as opposed to using a stopper and sweeper.

“The two center backs are able to communicate more with each other,” said Allan Santiaguillo, a senior defender and co-captain. “If I go up the other (center back) stays back, and vice-versa.”

The defenders are not the only ones involved in keeping opponents off the scoreboard. Buffalo Grove’s forwards funnel the ball to one sideline or the other. The midfielders apply on-ball pressure, forcing opponents into misplacing passes. Much like on the back line, the communication starts from the central players.

“Sometimes what we lack is a little intensity,” said senior midfielder and co-captain Zach Masciopinto. “When I’m in the middle of the field I feel like I have to control where our players are, and using my voice is a great way to do that.”

During last Tuesday’s match against Barrington, the Bison defensive pressure kept the Broncos, who dominated possession, from getting good looks on goal. Buffalo Grove’s stiff resistance forced Barrington to move one of its defenders up into the midfield to generate more opportunities.

“In the second half, we were just trying to bear down and keep the ball in front of us,” Masciopinto said.

The Bison eventually gave up a goal after a penalty kick was awarded with 46 seconds remaining. An inadvertent handball in the final minute was the only thing standing between the defense and another scoreless 80 minutes of soccer.

Originally posted on 10/02/13

By Jakub Rudnik

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Leyden linebacker Alex Rose plays the hits

A lot of things race through a player’s mind when he makes the transition to varsity football.

The game is faster, the players bigger, the pressure greater.

Leyden junior Alex Rose also knows he is replacing one of the best players on last year year’s playoff team, as well as one of the top defensive players in the Western Suburban Conference that past two seasons.

The first-year starting inside linebacker is succeeding Adam Morrison, a two-year starter for the Eagles who now plays at University of St. Francis. Morrison, an all-conference selection, had 80 tackles for a defense that gave up 10.8 points per game in 2012.

“He was a great player,” said Rose. “They’re big shoes I have to fill, but I try not to think about it that much.”

Instead, Rose is concerned with his duties on the field, which include relaying plays to his teammates.

“He gets all the calls from the sideline and tells them to us,” said senior defensive tackle Quintin Morgan. “He also yells strength calls and angle calls for the lineman before the play.”

That ability to communicate is part of what led coaches and players to elect Rose a defensive captain for the season.

“On the field he brings us together in tough situations,” said senior outside linebacker Will Napier.

For the 2012 Western Suburban Gold champions, this season has had its share of tough situations. The Eagles dropped to 1-4 (1-1) Friday after a 31-24 loss to Downers Grove South, a game where Leyden gave up three passing touchdowns.

“We’ve got to get better in the (secondary), and for the linebackers we have to get better in our drops,” said Rose.

At 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, Rose is recognized as a physical player.

“He is a big body,” said Morgan. “He can lay a hit on you when he fills holes.”

He forced a fumble during the game and made several big tackles, but the play that stuck with him was the one he couldn’t make: a missed tackle on senior running back Alec Arvanitakis that gave Downers Grove a first down with under two minutes to play.

“At the end of the game, I’m sure everyone saw, I missed that tackle,” he said.

This season has been frustrating for the Leyden football team, but so was 2011, Morrison’s junior year. That year the Eagles went just 3-6 and gave up nearly 30 points per game.

Leyden can still become playoff eligible by winning its final four games of the season. That road begins Friday when the Eagles host Hinsdale South (2-3, 2-1).


Originally posted on 10/01/13.

By Jakub Rudnik

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Turnovers are Corsairs’ specialty

MUNDELEIN — Holding on to a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter Friday, the Carmel football team’s defense was on its heels, backed up in its own red zone.

The St. Viator quarterback hurried the offense to the line, took the snap from the shotgun and completed a quick pass over the middle. His receiver was uncovered and headed for the end zone. He was met by a Carmel defensive back — senior Lukas Porter — inside the 5-yard line, but it appeared St. Viator would have first-and-goal, if not a touchdown.

Instead, Porter held the ball carrier up long enough for senior safety Mark Amick to knock the ball out and recover it at the 5-yard line.

“I was able to get my fist on it and punch it out,” Amick said. “It was definitely a big change (of momentum) in the game.”

St. Viator was in scoring position again in the third quarter, down 14-7. Running back Joey McIntyre had just rushed for 16 yards on a fourth-and-three to reach the Carmel 4-yard line.

McIntyre got the call again and plunged into the pile. But before he could reach the end zone, the ball was knocked out, this time by senior linebacker Fermin Santana.

“We always hear ‘dip and rip’ in practice,” Santana said. “We’re always looking to knock the football out.”

The Corsairs forced four turnovers on the night, including three inside the 5-yard line — Santana intercepted a pass near the goal line in the fourth quarter. They forced another fumble that St. Viator was able to recover and knocked the ball out two more times, though the ball carrier was called down in each instance.

“We really shot ourselves in the foot,” said St. Viator coach Brandon New. “We made a lot of mistakes.

All of the turnovers aren’t happening by accident, though. The Carmel coaching staff has put an emphasis on taking the ball away all season.

“We work on (forcing turnovers) a lot,” Amick said. “We have individual drills and work on technique for getting it out.

“During team segments, we need to force five turnovers against our offense or else we run.”

Although Carmel fell 17-14 against St. Viator, the takeaways were what kept the Corsairs in the game. And as Carmel fights to make the playoffs, its defense will have to continue swarming to the ball.

“We need to get some more pressure on the quarterback and just be relentless in getting everyone to the ball and punching it out,” Amick said. “And we have the talent on defense to do that, without a doubt.”

Originally posted on 09/26/13.

By Jakub Rudnik

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North Shore Country Day will have to wait for chance at revenge

WINNETKA — The North Shore Country Day boys soccer team waited nearly 11 months for a chance at a rematch with Parker, but just hours before the game, the Raiders found out they would have to wait even longer.

Parker’s athletic department canceled all outdoor games on Sept. 10 due to the high temperatures.

The teams last met in the 2012 Class 1A sectional final, a match Parker won 3-0 after a scoreless first half.

“I think our boys feel we owe them one,” North Shore coach Kyle Jones said.

There’s no lack of familiarity between the two squads, which are both members of the Independent School League and played to a 3-3 tie in their lone regular-season match a year ago.

“They’re basically the same team (as a year ago),” North Shore sophomore forward Will Lawler said. “They’re going to be really good.”

“They have some really good players that we’ve been playing against since middle school,” Lawler continued. “They’ve been playing together since then, and we know them well.”

Lawler, one of North Shore’s leading scorers last season, was absent from the sectional final because of a torn ACL.

The recent history between the two teams has added intensity to their matches.

“There are a lot of cards (when we play),” North Shore sophomore midfielder Ben Potter said. “And it’s not just for chirping after the play. They’re physical games.”

North Shore, with just two seniors on the roster, looked like an improved side after a 3-1-1 start to the season. It earned a 1-1 draw with North Chicago, a team it lost to 3-1 in 2012.

“We were ready for them on Tuesday,” Jones said.

Now the Raiders have to wait until Oct. 10 for the most anticipated matchup of the season. That makes the clash with Parker the final conference game for North Shore.

“Depending on the results,” Jones said, “there may be more to play for, more on the line.”

Now North Shore has to take care of business during its conference schedule. Jones said there’s no reason to expect a letdown.

“Any conference game is a big game,” he said. “We treat every game the same way.”

There was no faltering on Sept. 12 when North Shore defeated non-conference opponent Christian Liberty Academy 5-2 to pick up its fourth win. But the Raiders have nine games left before the Parker game, the matchup that now has the potential to mean even more for North Shore.

Originally posted on 09/21/13.

By Jakub Rudnik

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Marathon Notebook: 26.2 Miles of Madness

Just beyond the eight-mile mark, Chicago Marathon runners were greeted by dance music, flag-twirling and choreographed cheerleading.

Welcome to Boystown.

At the center of the festivities was the Chicago Spirit Brigade, a volunteer organization that raises money performing at public Chicago events.  For the Chicago Marathon, the roughly thirty Brigade members were set up at the intersection of Belmont and Broadway–directly next to volunteers passing out cups of water and Gatorade.

Brigade vice president Kimo Huddy said the group has raised “Over $80,000 in 10 seasons,” all of which is donated to organizations that “provide direct care services to individuals in the community where we perform.”

To support the runners and raise awareness for their organization, the Brigade performed organized cheers with silver pom-poms, had two flag-twirlers and chanted “R-U, N-N, E-R-S, Run, Run Run!” in their matching light blue ‘Chicago Spirit Brigade’ shirts.

To be a part of the Brigade, members pay dues for $300 and practice their routines every Sunday from 1-5. The member dues allow the group to add 25 percent from their own funds to any donation made over $10.


Originally posted 10/07/12


By Jakub Rudnik 

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Elite Runners Mixed on Weather’s Impact

With the possibility of “ice pellets or snowflakes,” according to marathon analyst Tim Hutchings, weather conditions were at the forefront of questions during Friday’s elite runners press conference for the Chicago Marathon.

According to forecasts, temperatures are expected to be in the low- to mid-30s for Sunday’s 7:30 a.m. start and get no higher than the mid-40s by the end of the race.

The elite runners, both men and women, had different takes on the weather conditions. Kenya’s Wesley Korir, winner of the 2012 Boston Marathon and one of the favorites to win Chicago, brushed off the question, saying: “There are things you can’t control.”

Some runners suggested that the cold would benefit them and their race times.  When asked about the effect the weather would have, three-time defending women’s champion Liliya Shobukhova of Russia, speaking through a translator, said: “My first marathon in 2010 was also cold and I won.”

Shami Dawit, who is running his first World Marathon Majors event, said he would “like it a little hotter, I have no fat on my body.”  He would not use it as a crutch, however.

“For all the runners the weather is the same, said Dawit, from Ethiopia, who added that he would just need a longer warm-up than normal.

The weather was viewed neutrally by the elite runners, but organizers say they prefer the colder temperatures. Many remember 2007, when 87-degree temperatures brought the race to a halt when one person died and 300 were treated for heat-related ailments.

“We can communicate to runners via email or text for updates on weather conditions,” Hutchings said. “Cold weather provides less challenges for us than the warmer weather.”

Pre-race perspectives from elite American runners:

  • Dathan Ritzenhein spoke about his health: “I’ve been healthy for pretty much a year … I’ve dealt with cramping in the past,” and his preparation for this marathon: “I did a lot longer runs than I did for past marathons . . . I did a lot more speed work in the beginning of the year. I did everything at altitude (he trained in Park City, Utah).” Dathan ran the marathon for the US in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. His career best time is 2:09:55.
  • Renee Metivier Baillie, an 11-time NCAA All-American, on running her first marathon, “I have a healthy fear of the marathon, coming from a track background.”
  • Tatyana McFadden, who is the 2009 and 2011 Women’s Wheelchair champion, spoke about winning her first three Paralympic gold medals this summer, “[After the first medal] I just teared up because I finally received that gold medal I’ve been waiting for since I was 15.”

Race Notes: Raji Assefa of Ethiopia has withdrawn from the competition. At the request of the Ethiopian Federation, he will compete in the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships on Oct. 6 in Kavarna, Bulgaria … The wheelchair division will start at 7:20 a.m. … The elite runners will start at 7:30 a.m., followed by two waves of runners, 45,000 in all.

Originally posted on 10/05/2012

By Jakub Rudnik

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