Surging Panthers prep for tough playoff opener
West Chicago, Wheaton Academy set for postseason quests
The soccer postseason begins Friday for both Class 2A and 3A, with West Chicago kicking off in a regional quarterfinal. Glenbard North and Wheaton Academy begin play next week in regional semifinals. No matter the start date or division, all hope to start long postseason runs all the way to Lincoln-Way North, home to the state finals for both classes Nov. 8 and 9.
Regional: Glenbard East
First game: 4:30 p.m. Tues., Oct. 22, vs. No. 16 Glenbard East
Outlook: The Panthers are in the midst of a very successful 2013 season, having compiled an overall record of 10-5-4 as of Tuesday.
“We have eclipsed last year’s win total,” said coach Gregg Koeller, whose team lost in the championship game of the Addison Trail tournament and finished third in the St. Charles East tourney. “With a varsity roster that has four freshmen and five sophomores, we have competed in each and every game against some of the best teams in the area.”
Sophomore Danny Ramirez leads the team with six goals while junior Christian Romero has five goals and five assists. Senior CJ Koeller has added two goals and five assists.
Defensively, Glenbard North has allowed only 14 goals in 18 matches and has given up more than one goal in just two contests.
Courtesy of their solid campaign, the Panthers received the No. 4 seed in the Class 3A Schaumburg regional. The squad will square off against DuPage Valley Conference foe Glenbard East in the playoff opener. Glenbard North beat the Rams 2-0 on Sept. 17.
A victory would send the Panthers into the regional final on Oct. 26 against either No. 5 Glenbard West or No. 12 Wheaton North.
“We are proud to have earned the No. 4 seed, but face a very tough first round game, going up against Glenbard East” Koeller said. “We played them earlier this season and won 2-0 but they can be a very dangerous team, and beating a team twice in the same season is always a challenge, especially on their home field.
“If we were to win that game, we would face the winner of Glenbard West-Wheaton North for the regional title, again teams that we are familiar with and will have already faced this season. It’s the state tournament, you just need to focus on the next game, because if you look ahead, that next game may be your last.”
Regional: Metea Valley
Sectional: Metea Valley
First game: 4:30 p.m. Friday vs. No. 16 Oswego East
Outlook: Because of the forfeiture of four wins from earlier in the season, West Chicago was left with the No. 17 seed in the Metea Valley sectional. The Wildcats play at Oswego East in a regional quarterfinal matchup and, with a win, would then see No. 1 seed Naperville Central in the semifinals.
West Chicago’s official record stood at 0-15-3 after a 3-0 defeat to Naperville North on Friday.