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Head coach: Brian Gervase
Assistant coaches:
Matt Maletich, Robert Calder, Scott Gollan
and Kevin MacAnally
Alex Wall Jr., GK
Ray Greco Sr., GK
Xavier DaRosa Sr., F
Liam Budnik So., M
Tony Zea * Sr., D
Andrew Zea Sr., D
Dan Lott Sr., F
Trace Dimos Sr., F
Mike Molloy Jr., F
Jake Maurer * Sr., D
Jake Stevenson Jr., M
Colin Andersen Jr., D
Alex Lucek So., D
Andrew Slobidsky Sr., M
Carter Tome So., D
Brett Pyburn Jr., D
Matt Metzler Jr., M
Miles Larson Sr., M
Sam Crowley So., M
Jordan Nunez Manager
* denotes captain

Young Trojans fall to Lake Park


By Eric Van Dril

The first goal scored in Tuesday night's game between Lake Park and Downers Grove North came in the 38th minute, when Lake Park's Oliver Horgan created space in the box with a quick dribble to his right and stuck his low shot into the back corner of the net.

Horgan, a speedy junior forward, celebrated the Lancers' first goal by sprinting back to midfield and giving high-fives to every outfield player on Lake Park's team. He got everybody involved on a night where 23 of the team's 24 players saw the field in the Lancers' 7-0 victory.

It was like the floodgates had opened after Horgan's goal. 

“I don't think anything changed, we were just unlucky,” said Lake Park senior Mike Catalano, who scored two goals, regarding Horgan's goal. “We were on the right side of the ball as soon as we got to the second half. As soon as Gio (junior midfielder Giovanni Ciaccio) scored the second one, that was it. It's hard to score the first one, but once you score the first one everything's easy after that.”

Ciaccio's first goal of the match came on a header to the near post on a perfectly-struck corner kick from senior midfielder Joe Keane with 28:20 remaining in the match. Ciaccio's header made it 2-0, and it was quickly followed by a strike from Catalano. Catalano's shot, taken from about 25 yards away, skipped underneath Downers Grove North senior goalkeeper Ray Greco and into the back of the net with 28:20 remaining in the match.

Catalano and Ciaccio each picked up their second goals of the game after that, and Keane scored twice in the second half. The Lancers gave their fans, a sizable student section of about 250 people called Lancer Nation, plenty to cheer about in the second half. In turn, Lake Park's fans made an early-season, non-conference contest feel like a playoff game.

“It really pumps us up,” said Horgan, regarding Lake Park's fan support. “Most schools don't have that big fan base, especially for soccer. We do. Most kids are like, 'Is that your band or your soccer fans?' We're like, 'They're soccer fans.' It just helps us a lot.”

Lake Park coach Anthony Passi said Lancer Nation is a new thing at the school, a method of building school spirit as the Lancers get ready to move from the Upstate Eight Conference to the DuPage Valley Conference. It provides a rather unique atmosphere for high school soccer, one which can make situations like the second half of Tuesday's game immensely difficult for the opposing team.

The Lancers (2-0-1) continued to build momentum throughout the game, with Catalano skillfully distributing the ball all over the field. The Wisconsin recruit completely controlled the match. He found Lake Park's bevy of speedy players – like Horgan, Ciaccio and junior outside midfielders Kris Lopez and Lorenzo Mariani – and seemed to be involved in almost every opportunity the Lancers created.

“I think the momentum was in our favor (and) the pace was in our favor,” Passi said. “We were winning the midfield battle, so we were able to dictate tempo and it was just a matter of time (until we scored) because I think we were getting some cracks on frame. I think they started feeling it. The energy was just rising, where I think after two or three goals, the wind kind of went out of (Downers Grove North's) sails.”

The Lancers' excellence in the midfield was a major reason why they so thoroughly dominated possession – Lake Park controlled the ball about 70 to 75 percent of the time – and why Downers Grove couldn't generate one shot on Zach Czesak, Lake Park's senior goalkeeper.

Even when the Trojans controlled the ball, their attacks were quickly thwarted by Keane at center defensive midfield or a back line which consisted of senior starters David Franz, Riker Tithof-Steere, Gustavo Contreras and Carlos Torres. The Lancers' defense, by the end of the match, featured junior Edan Armas, junior Franco Mariani and senior Anthony Devereux.

“I think the back line was organized -- the midfield, I think they dictated the game,” Passi said. “(Our players) won the midfield, and then we created opportunities in the final third.”
Despite losing 7-0, Downers Grove North coach Brian Gervase took positives from the game. He was pleased with how his defenders – junior Colin Anderson, senior Tony Zea, junior Brett Pyburn and sophomore Carter Tome – played, considering Lake Park's skill and ability to hold so much possession.

“We're super proud of our back line,” Gervase said. “I thought our back line – they're all just sophomores and juniors (except Zea) – are all playing very well. It's a lot of pressure when you're always going back, coming forward and going back.”

Gervase said after the game that one of his primary focuses of playing in Lake Park's Hillner Classic is to evaluate the players on the team and figure out, before conference play begins, who are the team's best-11 players and how to use them most effectively on the field.

“We have very little experience and, with a squad that we have, this is our game-speed practice,” Gervase added. “We get in this tournament for good reasons. We want to get ourselves in a situation where we can play very often at the beginning of the season and see varsity speed and action. That's kind of what we saw today. We use this tournament as an opportunity to really evaluate our roster from top to bottom.”

It figured to be difficult for Gervase and his staff to truly evaluate their team on Tuesday night, however, considering that Downers Grove North (0-2-1) was missing arguably its three-best players. Junior forward Mike Molloy tweaked his knee in the Trojans' 1-1 tie against Buffalo Grove earlier in the tournament – junior midfielder Joe Stevenson scored Downers Grove North's goal on Aug. 29 – but he is expected to return for their game against St. Francis on Sept. 5.

Senior Jake Maurer, a captain, also missed the Lake Park game. The defender was at the Air Force Academy, Gervase said, for an interview. The third key player to miss Tuesday night's match was senior Dan Lott.

“Dan Lott is probably our top forward and he rolled his ankle at our first scrimmage of the season, and so he's out for five weeks,” Gervase said. “That's big for us because he's our (Catalano).”



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