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Coach: A.J. Cappello
Assistant coaches:
Mike Hanley, Brian Taege, Tony Miocic
and Brett Oates
Daniel Kim So., M
Andrew Kaufmann So., M
Spencer Dixon Sr., GK
Austin Ryan Sr., F/M
Marcus Inglisa Sr., D
Nick Voss So., M
Cristian Guzman So., F
Abe Villa Sr., D/M
Erik Merdinger Jr., D
Jake Blankenship Jr., D
Daniel Vandewalker Sr., D
Mitch Materna Sr., D/M
Konrad Wasilewski So., F
Jake Jemmi Sr., M
Tim Hubner Sr., F
Ean Wilson So., M
Aaron Camp Jr., GK
Nick Paganucci Sr., D

Eagles show well in Game One tie with Prospect


By Gary Larsen

Thursday’s 1-1 tie between Jacobs and host Prospect featured hard physical play, glimpses of attacking potential, and a pair of backlines that kept things clean after the break.

Early season soccer always seeks to find answers, and the learning process was on display in Mount Prospect.

"There's still a lot of kinks to work out but I was pleased with the fact that in the second half they were doing more of what we asked them to do,” Prospect coach Kurt Trenkle said. “They were moving the ball wide and getting it to the corners, and I felt like we were able to get some sustained attacks there. But we’re still not on the same page on the offensive side of the ball.”

While Thursday’s game for Prospect followed a 3-2 loss to New Trier on Tuesday, it was Jacobs’ season opener.

"I'm very pleased," Jacobs coach A.J. Cappello said. "We learned a lot about ourselves. Prospect is a very tough, physical team so I was very proud of the way the boys responded. I'll be surprised if we play a team that's more physical so if we can match that, it's all good."

Prospect (0-1-1) controlled much of the game’s first half but it was the Golden Eagles (0-0-1) who struck first, when Tim Hubner saw his chance at 27 minutes and took it.

"It was a freekick played in that kind of deflected off of a crowd," Hubner said. "I just took a touch and had a shot.

"We played well today. We were fit and we played hard today. We've been running a lot, our defense is strong and we just have to work on finishing. We're a quick team and we've got a lot of strong players."

Prospect answered the bell, finding another gear in attacking intensity and pressuring hard in the final third.

The Knights’ Dominic Taldone fired at 36 minutes from 14 yards out but Jacobs keeper Spencer Dixon cleanly fielded Taldone's hard-hit one-hopper. The Knights knotted the score at 37 minutes on a play initiated by a throw-in, when a ball popped up to Sean O'Carroll, who buried his head shot from 10 yards out.

Dixon saved another quality shot in the final minute before halftime on a play set up by one of the Knights’ numerous corner kicks on the day. "In both of our first two games we were pushing double digits on corner kicks so it's definitely something we can work on in training, if we're getting this many corner kicks," Knights captain and goalkeeper Jack Cooney said.

Prospect co-captain Zack Surico – who moved from his outside position last year to the middle of the pitch – got his head on a good handful of those corners.

"Once we install some more plays in there and get everyone on the same page on our runs, we'll be set," said Surico, who guided the midfield along with Erick Karkut on Thursday.

Both Trenkle and Surico would like to see better execution in the final third.

"It's more about composure,” Surico said. “We get a little frantic when we get in there and we have to take a touch and see what's there. It'll come. It's a matter of everyone getting used to the faster pace of the game."

Trenkle saw flashes of attacking cohesion from his side but as it is for most teams early in the season, that cohesion needs seasoning.

"When we possessed I thought we were able to move the ball well and enter (Jacobs') third in the spaces that we tried to target," Trenkle said. "It was difficult for (Surico and Karkut) today because it was two-vee-three in the middle, and they haven't really played there together before, so the key there is getting them to work together and communicate.”

After weathering Prospect’s corner kicks in the second half, Jacobs played well down the stretch to the final buzzer.

"We weathered the storm and showed good character,” Cappello said. “Our shape wasn't too good early in the game and we couldn't maintain much possession, but we were finally able to slow the game down in the last fifteen minutes or so, and I was very happy to see that."

Cappello is asking sophomores Daniel Kim and Nick Voss to spearhead things from their center mid spots this year, and he sees scoring potential from the likes of Hubner, Ean Wilson, Christian Guzman, and Austin Ryan.

This year’s Eagles feature a savvy backline that includes Daniel Vandewalker, Mitch Materna, Nick Paganucci, and Marcus Inglisa, and the return of Dixon this season is a bonus.

"Spencer couldn't play for us last year because he broke his leg a month before the season, so he couldn't play at all last season and I think we felt the effects of it," Cappello said. "He's just getting back in the swing of things."

Cappello was particularly pleased with what he got from Hubner in the attack, along with another one of his defenders on Thursday.

"I thought Tim Hubner played a heck of a game, leading by example. He worked his tail off and made a great finish when he had the chance," Cappello said. "And I thought Erik Merdinger in back did a heck of a job coming in off the bench as a junior."

Prospect has a pair of high-quality outside defenders in Ian Lenke and Alex Whiteman, that defend well and showed throughout Tuesday’s game that they’re eager to also get involved in the attack.

Trenkle was also pleased with the play of central defender Dan Marshall, who left the game in the second half with a cut on top of his head, received after a collision with another player.

Jacobs hosts its annual four-team tournament on Friday and Saturday, along with Kaneland, Harvard, and Crystal Lake Central. Prospect hosts Saint Viator on Saturday, and the Knights know they’ll need to bring their A-game against a Viator team that placed third at last year’s Class 2A state finals.

"We were in (Jacobs’) final third for about 50 minutes but it goes back to chemistry and varsity experience," Cooney said. "We only have four returning varsity players. But it will come. I have no doubt about that."

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