Boys Soccer: Road to State

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Boys Soccer: Road to State

Senior Sam Kratzer celebrates a free kick goal with teammates.

Senior Sam Kratzer celebrates a free kick goal with teammates.

Senior Sam Kratzer celebrates a free kick goal with teammates.

Senior Sam Kratzer celebrates a free kick goal with teammates.

Jake Vogt, Staff Writer

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With an overall record of 9-2 (3-1 in the division), the boys soccer team is off to another great start this fall.

The team started strong, beating Stevenson away 4-2, along with winning their first two Pepsi Showdown games, defeating Streamwood and Oswego, before a devastating 2-1 overtime loss to Wheaton Academy in the quarterfinals.

The Pepsi Showdown is a high-profile tournament that brings teams from all over the state.  Winning the single-elimination tournament is an annual goal for the team.

Even though they did not achieve it this year, there are still goals the team has their sights on: “We have a great chance to win conference this year, especially if we can beat Warren,” said Coach Andy Bitta.

One goal for Senior Sam Kratzer is to revenge a loss from last fall.  “Last year we lost in the regional to Barrington. So I really want to get a regional,” he said.

One key component the team attributes its success to is the chemistry they have together.  “If you don’t have team chemistry your team won’t go far at all because it is literally the key component.”   Kratzer said.

Both Coach Bitta and Senior Ryan Pacholski agree with Kratzer.

“It’s the most important part of the game.  Our chemistry has been really good since a lot of us have played together throughout high school and throughout our lives,” Pacholski said.

The selflessness of the entire team is another key component to their success.  When the team is at their best, everybody is sharing the ball and looking for the next pass: “we care about each other and don’t care who gets the glory; just as long as we win,” Pacholski saying.

The selflessness goes beyond the players too; when asked why he thinks the team has had so much success recently. Bitta quickly attributed it to his players: “I have players who are very talented technical wise and very skillful.  We work very hard in the spring and the fall and they pick it up in the spring and summer.”

In the team’s two losses, Bitta said that the team “held onto the ball a little too long and I think that hurt us… so we are going to have to work on that.”

Although the team does not receive all the hype, there is no lack of confidence on the field.  When asked what the team’s potential was, Pacholski answered, “Going down state, that is our potential.  Winning it.”

Starting between seven and eight seniors, the leadership and maturity on the team is a reason why the team is so confident they can make a state run.  Senior Cameron Fragassi leads the team in goals (14) with the help of Sam Kratzer (5 goals, 5 assists).  At center back Ryan Pacholski captains the defense and protects senior goalkeeper Sam Muchmore.

With IHSA playoffs starting October 21 the team is looking to gain momentum and make a run at the state championship.

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