Bulldogs to start season with disadvantage

Home field not no so homey for team

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By JOE TROST

There tend to be times in life when little, unexpected surprises arise.

Riverside-Brookfield boys soccer coach Danny Makaric is dealing with one of those so-called "surprises" right now.

With construction taking place on the Bulldogs' stadium field, the soccer team has been somewhat displaced, which has caused Makaric and his staff to scramble to find any place to practice before the start of the 2006 campaign.

"We have close to 40 freshmen out and more than 70 kids in our program already, so it's tough when you don't have places to practice," Makaric said. "They are installing the new turf on our stadium, and they are behind schedule.

"So the football team has taken over a lot of the open space. Right now, we're just searching for any place to practice. But it's tough to practice without the right dimensions or lines on the fields."

That has Makaric worried about this season after the Bulldogs posted one of their best records in school history a year ago. Riverside-Brookfield finished the campaign with an 11-3-2 mark and won the conference crown for the first time in recent memory.

"We have high expectations," Makaric said. "But I really don't know what to expect, because we're going to be a step or two behind other teams when we start the season.

Currently, it looks as though Makaric's crew will only have four home games.

"Some of the kids don't believe me, but that's the case," Makaric said. "I heard construction on the field actually stopped recently for a little bit, and that has put them even further behind."

While the Bulldogs can't control what happens off the field, they will be able to determine their own fate between the lines.

Goalie Pete Sobiech headlines the list of returnees for the Bulldogs. The senior is considered to be one of the top goalies in the Chicagoland area this season.

Also back are midfielders Alex Lazinehske, Joe Kanihan and Dave Baltra.

The one area that will be inexperienced is the line in front of Sobiech. Caleb Boronce will need to get things settled early or Riverside-Brookfield could have some problems.

"We had a tough loss to Juarez in the postseason last year, but I think the kids learned a lot from that game," Makaric said. "We have to replace our defensive line from last year, and that's my main concern right now."

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