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WVU-bound Banuelos guides York's strong start

Midfielder is helping Dukes on both ends of the field

SCHAUMBURG — Senior midfielder Bryce Banuelos is the engine that makes the York girls soccer team go.

Banuelos already has four goals in five games for the Dukes, and the first thing York coach Chris Halupka said about her was how good her defensive play has been. With central midfielders Sam Hamilton and Sarah Morrissey out with knee injuries, Banuelos has been asked to carry more of the burden in the middle of the field and has stepped up so far.

“I think she’s done a great job defensively,” Halupka said. “She’s all over the field. She’s physical, she’s aggressive, she has great vision and she gets forward and scores goals for us.”

Banuelos has signed a letter of intent to play for West Virginia in the fall. Her dad went to WVU and her older brother is currently there. She contacted the program so she could continue the family line while playing soccer there.

“They came and watched and I committed,” Banuelos said. “I love the coaches and I love just everyone on the team when I went on my official visit.”

She said her only goal for the season is to improve on last year, which included a 20-5 record and a regional title.

So far the Dukes are 3-1-1 after splitting a pair of matches Tuesday at St. Francis’ Springfest Classic. York knocked off Riverside Brookfield 5-0 in the morning and lost to Metea Valley 4-1 in the afternoon with Banuelos scoring the lone York goal.

Halupka wasn’t worried about the defeat considering the unusual circumstances of playing two games in a day with 30-minute halves.

“It’s the beginning of the season and if I needed to know where mistakes happen then I’d be glad to see them now versus the end of the season,” the coach said.

Banuelos hasn’t been the only standout so far this season. Senior defender Angela Guerino has been a key figure for York at the back. Guerino is a tough presence in the air and has a powerful leg. She scored two free kick goals in a 3-0 win over St. Ignatius on Saturday.

Midfielder Ellie Ordonez and forward Alyssa Kovatchis have also been major contributors.

The early season success made the defeat to Metea easier to take.

Obviously I think we progressed from our first game, but I think we weren’t in our game,” Banuelos said. “Previous games we were able to play more off the ball and move and be able to find each other. This game was harder because they were on you.”

The Dukes return to action Tuesday in a crucial West Suburban Silver match against defending conference champion Lyons Township.

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