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Sports

Boys Soccer: Previewing Benet, Downers Grove North and Downers Grove South

Downers Grove South's Blazo Jovicevic prevents a goal on a header from Hinsdale Central's Nicolas Maritz in Downers Grove Aug. 28, 2018.
Downers Grove South's Blazo Jovicevic prevents a goal on a header from Hinsdale Central's Nicolas Maritz in Downers Grove Aug. 28, 2018.

The start of the high school boys soccer season begins the drive toward Hoffman Estates for the Class 2A and 3A state finals in November. Here’s the outlook as they start their quest for glory.

Benet Redwings

Coach: Sean Wesley

2018 record: 17-4-1

Top players

Name Year Position

Nick Renfro sr. M

Nick Augustine sr. M

Anthony Klos jr. M

Vytautas Staniskis sr. G

Zach Serafin jr. D

Preston Wray jr. M

Hans Haenicke jr. M

Outlook: With 14 players, including eight starters, returning from a 17-win team that reached the Class 3A sectional finals for the first time, plus the addition of high-level club players Augustine and Sam Hepburn, the sky is the limit.

The Redwings have been moved down to Class 2A, so a run at a state title is not out of the question.

Renfro is a Division I prospect and will lead a deep midfield, but the offense will be diversified.

“It’s probably the deepest team I’ve ever coached,” Wesley said. “We’ve got 14 kids returning who all played a role and they all expect to be starting, so that will be interesting.”

Downers Grove North Trojans

Coach: Mike Schmitt

2018 record: 9-10-5

Top players

Name Year Position

Gavin Crowson jr. G

Brian Benton jr. D

Trygve Hansen jr. M

Sam Bull jr. F

Alex Karrow sr. M

Peter Bednar sr. M

Outlook: The Trojans have six starters back from a team that went 9-10-5 last season.

“I think we have solid team chemistry,” Schmitt said. “I think we have a really good group of guys this year that enjoy being on the field together.

“We are aiming to capitalize on last year’s shortcomings to make a strong conference and playoff run.”

Downers Grove South Mustangs

Coach: Jon Stapleton

2018 record: 6-10-3

Top players

Name Year Position

Enrique Gonzalez sr. M

Ethan Kelly sr. D

Peter Pierropolous sr. D

Aaron Venouziou jr. F

Blazo Jovicevic sr. M

Stefano Espinosa sr. M

Outlook: Aside from Gonzalez, who is a three-year starter and two-time all-sectional honoree, the Mustangs do not have any star players. But they have six starters back from a team that struggled to a 6-10-3 record and Stapleton likes their teamwork. Whether that translates into better results remains to be seen.

“This year’s team seems to be a very cohesive group,” Stapleton said. “They enjoy playing with and for one another. I do feel this togetherness can serve as one of our strengths this season.

“I feel this team has the ability to be very competitive. My hope is as the season progresses, we will mature both individually and as a team and be at our best come playoff time.”

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