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Downers Grove crosstown battle kicks off playoffs

Published: Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 9:59 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 10:39 a.m. CDT
Caption
Downers Grove South's Mike Flores (middle) kicks the ball as Downers Grove North's Miles Larson (left) and Brett Pyburn close in during an Oct. 3 game at South. (Photo by Sarah Minor - sminor@shawmedia.com)

The soccer postseason begins on Friday for Class 3A with regional quarterfinals. Downers Grove North and Downers Grove South begin play next week in a regional semifinal – against each other – with the hopes of starting a long postseason run to Lincoln-Way North, home to the state finals.

Downers Grove North

Regional: Lyons Township

Sectional: Hinsdale South

First game: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22 vs. No. 5 Downers Grove South

Outlook: It’s been a frustrating 2013 season for Downers Grove North boys soccer. The Trojans won back-to-back games against Loyola Academy and Hinsdale South in September, then went on a 10-game winless streak and finished the regular season with a 3-12-3 record. But the team is battle tested, playing heated matches in October against stiff competition such as Morton, Hinsdale Central and Lyons Township, three of the top four seeds in the sectional.

Now, the postseason brings new opportunity for the No. 12-seeded Trojans, who will open against their crosstown rival Downers Grove South. The two faced off in an Oct. 3 matchup – a tightly contested, 1-0 Mustangs’ victory that was called-off midway through the second half due to inclement weather.

Recently, the defensive unit – lead by captains Jake Mauer and Tony Zea – has contained some of the area’s top scoring threats. But, in order for North to exact some revenge and make a deep playoff run, the Trojans’ forwards will need to consistently find the back of the net.

Downers Grove South

Regional: Lyons Township

Sectional: Hinsdale South

First game: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22 vs. No. 12 Downers Grove North

Outlook: In spite of some inconsistencies on its home turf, Downers Grove South’s boys soccer team enters the playoffs as a No. 5 seed and with a matchup against rival Downers Grove North.

The Mustangs posted a 3-3-1 record at home, but excelled on the road, going 6-3-1 with victories that included Proviso East, Hinsdale South and Glenbard East. Additionally, the Mustangs posted the best record at the Hinsdale Invite in September, coming in second as a result of a tie-breaker.

The solid play of senior keeper Nick King has spread throughout the Mustangs’ roster. King has recorded five shutouts this season and will be the key to a Downers Grove South playoff run.

Benet

Regional: Hinsdale South

Sectional: Hinsdale South

First game: 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22 vs. No. 16 Hinsdale South or No. 19 Kenwood

Outlook: After one of the finest seasons in school history, Benet’s boys soccer team is eyeing a deep playoff run. With two games left in the 2013 campaign (Oct. 16 at Proviso West and Oct. 18 at St. Viator), the Redwings currently sit at 14-3-1 and can clinch a East Suburban Catholic Conference title by knocking off Saint Viator on Friday in Arlington Heights.

Benet lost its second game of the regular season, but then went 10-0-1 in its next 11 contests. Senior forward Michael Rindler has paced the Redwings offense, scoring goals in six out of the last eight games, including a hat trick during a 3-3 draw with West Chicago on Sept. 23.

Flanked by forwards Eddie Manzke and Kyle Kenagy, Rindler and the Redwings offense wreaks havoc on opposing defense – winning possession battles, controlling the ball and scoring goals. As long as the offense keeps up its torrid pace, the Redwings will be a tough out come playoff time.

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