by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARKâ€”Plenty of encouraging signs were all around during last yearâ€™s Kaneland High School boysâ€™ soccer season.
A regional win producing six goals over Yorkville, and encouraging play from a core featuring Santiago Tovar, Chris Ott, Matt Haffner, Nick Williams and Kevin Durrenberger, gave the team a solid base.
â€œThose guys were on varsity for so long, it was tough for these guys to get a spot, and you hope these guys can step up,â€ Kaneland coach Scott Parillo said.
Now, Kaneland will have to seek out new personnel to replace the departed seniors in a Western Sun Conference that doesnâ€™t seem to have gotten weaker.
Ending last season at 10-10-3 and still looking for its first regional championship since 2004, returning coach Scott Parillo reflected on the task ahead.
â€œYou try not to dwell on the past too much,â€ Parillo said. â€œYou always think, â€˜man, what could we have done differently.â€™ But thatâ€™s over with; we graduated 12 seniors. This is a new beginning once again.â€
In order to make a go of it in the last season of the WSC and beyond, Kaneland will need to look to Gennaro Garcia, senior forward and midfielder, forward and midfielder Derek White, defender and midfielder Joe Garlinsky, defender and midfielder Marcos Dorado, who has recovered from surgery, goalkeeper J.P. Minogue, and midfielder and forward Anders Winquist-Bailey.
Personnel also expected to contribute are midfielder/forward Kevin Szatkowski, defender/midfielder Pedro Perez, midfielder/forward Jordan Escobedo, defender/midfielder Thanasi Pesmajoglou, defender Trevor Wolf, plus new varsity additions Alex Gil, Chad Swieca, Alex Dorado, Mark Breon and Jake Tickle.
The current crop of Knights might do the trick, provided several things happen.
â€œLot of good kids, just need to get them experience and get them to gel. We need to have some of the older kids to take the reigns,â€ Parillo said.
Kaneland looks to meet its goal of double digit wins again.
â€œOur goal all the time is to win as much as we can, never had the guns to do it. Weâ€™ll see. If we can get double digit wins, weâ€™ll need some conference games. I think we can do it,â€ Parillo said.
Even with the wins amassed by the Knights last season, Kaneland spent a lot of energy with shots on goal, not always seeing the goals match up to the output.
â€œThere were lots of shots, and the goals never matched up. I hope we shoot a bit. The ones who shot a lot graduated, so we need guys like Gennaro and Derek to step up,â€ Parillo said.
To begin the 2009 season, the Knights set up vs. Marengo on Tuesday, Aug. 25 and host Wheaton Academy on Thursday, Aug. 27.
Yorkville becomes the first WSC opponent for the season on Tuesday, Sept. 15, and the Oswego East Wolves host Kaneland for the final regular season match on Wednesday, Oct. 14.