The Riverside-Brookfield High School boys soccer team enters this season with only seven seniors but also much promise.
“[Our roster is] a young team with nine juniors and six sophomores,” RBHS coach Ivek Halic said. “[A strength is] the quality of our midfield. [We’ll need] building out of the back, defending set pieces and making better decisions in the final third.”
Senior midfielder Manny Tovar leads the three returning starters from last year’s lineup that graduated nine seniors and finished 7-13-1 and 3-3 in the Metro Suburban Conference Blue Division. The Bulldogs lost to Hinsdale Central 3-0 in the IHSA Class 3A Hinsdale Central Regional semifinals.
In 2021, Tovar earned All-Sectional, All-MSC Blue and All-Academic honors.
Senior defender Sam Royer and junior midfielder Max Swicionis also are returning starters. Seniors Hunter Ferguson, Aidan Hernandez, Dante Moscosa and Omar Vidales and juniors Massimo Fanceschina Liam Kaiser, Eric Ruiz and Gabriel Wiginton also were on last year’s varsity roster.
Varsity newcomers include junior midfield/forward David Carrillo Diaz and sophomore midfielders Xavier Salamanca and Diego Villegas, senior Ari Martinez, juniors Nicholas Gilberto and Makoto Scheuermann and sophomores Noah Berndt, Brandon Elizondo, Liam Hickey and Tomas Kunickas.
The Bulldogs have opened 0-4 with three losses at the Reavis Tournament — on Aug. 25 to Plainfield South 3-1 and Argo 2-1 on penalty kicks and on Aug. 23 to St. Laurence 2-1. The Bulldogs fell 4-1 to Oak Park and River Forest High School in Oak Park on Aug. 29
Ferguson (goal, assist), Ruiz (goal) and Berndt (assist) have accounted for the scoring in the first two games. Players of the Game were Tovar against St. Laurence and Royer and Vidales against Argo.
LTHS boys soccer
The Lyons Township High School boys soccer team very well could improve through the difficulty of facing numerous tough opponents.
“The schedule could be our downfall. We will see,” head coach Paul Labbato said.
So far, the Lions (1-0-2) have beaten Naperville North 2-0 and tied Round Lake 0-0 in the opening round of the New Trier Invite after tying Sandburg 2-2 in the season opener.
The Lions have four returning starters and six rotation players from last year’s 17-6-1 team (4-2 in West Suburban Conference Silver) that lost to Benet Academy 3-2 on penalty kicks in the IHSA Class 3A Morton Sectional semifinals.
Key players for the Lions include junior center back Collin Sullivan, senior center midfielders Patrick Kracker and Will Swicionis, senior forward Larry Martinez and senior defender Liam Carolan. Sullivan scored eight goals last season, many in the postseason, as a center midfielder.
There are also key newcomers in senior Brian Salvino and sophomore Mason Burda, forwards who both have club experience with the Sockers Academy, junior forward Haris Sarajlija and junior defender Danny Svelnis.
Other players are senior Connor Schmidt and junior Tyler Balon at goalie, seniors Joe Mazurowski (midfield), Jackson Rempfer (defense), Igor Chrobotowicz (defense), Ryan Wheeler (defense), Ashton Hutchins (midfield), Ben Swicionis (midfield), juniors Declan Kracker (midfield), Austen Wisniewski (midfield/forward), Jimmy Brejcha (midfield) and Owen Suda (midfield/forward).
Defensive standouts so far have been Svelnis, Sullivan, Chrobotowicz, Carolan and Rempfer, who started against Round Lake.
Patrick Kracker and Brejcha scored against Naperville North with Sullivan assisting Kracker. Will Swicionis (Sullivan assisting) and Salvino (penalty kick) scored against Sandburg.
“Our players have very high expectations, so our defeats drive our team and push them to work even harder,” Labbato said.