Boys Soccer: Chris Freeman has Metea Valley moving forward
BY STEVE NEMETH For Sun-Times Media August 31, 2013 8:20PM
Chris Freeman, who scored 12 goals with 10 assists last season, is the key cog for Metea Valley this season. | Mike Mantucca ~ For Sun-Times Media
TOP FIVE TEAMS
1. Metea Valley: With Chris Freeman’s ability to score or set up teammates, the Mustangs figure to be a breakthrough team after a late-season surge ended in a sectional title loss to two-time runner-up Naperville Central. Dakota Rowsey and Nate Donovan are two more reasons to expect Metea to go well beyond last year’s 11-7-4 showing.
2. Geneva: Beck Nebergall is that same kind of cornerstone player to build upon, plus the Vikings’ sub-.500 year is an anomaly for coach Ryan Eastabrook’s program. Other Geneva seniors determined to reverse fortunes include goalkeeper Joe Mozden plus attackers Grant Bracken and Phelipe Graske.
3. Marmion: Last year, the Cadets moved up to Class 3A and felt slighted in the postseason seeding, so how motivated is Rickey Del Toro’s team on eclipsing a 14-7-2 mark and runner-up SCC finish? Seniors Luke DeSimone and Flynn Collins have chips on their shoulders, while sophomore Conor Morton and junior Gavin Sanchez have eyes on ruffling opposition nets.
4. Kaneland: While the Knights may be a Class 2A program, they are playing several 3A teams and they have a bona-fide All-America candidate in coach Scott Parillo’s son Anthony. The All-Stater works very well with fellow seniors Arsim Azemi, Tyler Siebert and Chris Van Dinther.
5. Somonauk: Going from Class 3A down to 1A exemplifies the apples-and-oranges debate, but veteran coach Dave Erasmus may finally have enough horsepower for his Bobcats to finally overtake 1A postseason and Little Ten nemesis Hinckley-Big Rock.
TOP 22 PLAYERS
Chris Freeman (Metea Valley) Sr. F
Anthony Parillo (Kaneland) Sr. F
Luke DeSimone (Marmion) Sr. D
Casey Bucz (Waubonsie Valley), Sr. F
Beck Nebergall (Geneva), Sr. M
John Barnes (Batavia) Sr. M
Geovanni Martinez (West Aurora) Jr. F
Danny Miranda (East Aurora) Sr. M
Ian Larson (Batavia) Jr. M
Dakota Rowsey (Metea Valley) Jr. M
Tyler Siebert (Kaneland) Sr. M
Tom Sanders (Hinckley-Big Rock) Sr. D
Tommy Skupien (Somonauk) Jr. F-M
Nathaniel Paisley (Oswego East) Sr. M
David Petesch (Aurora Central Catholic) Sr. F
John Chapman (Waubonsie Valley) Sr. D
Luke DeSimone (Marmion) Sr. D
Francisco Marquez (Yorkville) Sr. M
Alex Guillen (West Aurora) Sr. GK
Adrian Cervantes (Plano) Sr. F
Phelipe Graske (Geneva) Sr. M
Conor Morton (Marmion) So. F.
Updated: October 2, 2013 6:47AM
According to the cliché, there is no “I” in team. However, there’s no denying that when coaches are asked to identify their toughest foes, the conversations suddenly start with a standout player.
Mention Metea Valley and there’s no shortage of adjectives to describe Chris Freeman: proven scorer, major threat, game-changer, etc.
Undoubtedly the senior forward was a prime reason the Mustangs surged late in the year before a sectional final loss to powerhouse Naperville Central. He finished with 34 points, netting 12 goals and adding 10 assists.
But Metea coach Josh Robinson is just as quick and complimentary when it comes to the importance of junior Dakota Rowsey and senior Nate Donovan or the potential of sophomore newcomers Brandon Howard and Michael Adams.
Kaneland’s Anthony Parillo garnered IHSSCA All-State acclaim and is an All-America candidate, but even his father and coach Scott Parillo knows the Knights can’t be a one-man show.
“One player doesn’t make a team — period,” Parillo said. “It helps if you have a player skilled enough and smart enough to make others around him better, but for Kaneland to succeed, we’re gonna need all 11 on the field playing hard for 80 minutes.”
Hence the reason the elder Parillo notes Kaneland had five other all-conference picks in 2012, plus Arsim Azemi was an honorable mention all-sectional selection.
Beck Nebergall is yet another example of a cornerstone athlete, but youth, injuries and a few unlucky bounces still meant Geneva fell short of a .500 record last year. Those harsh lessons from 2012 boost coach Ryan Estabrook’s optimism for a turnaround.
Speaking of having paid their dues with youthful struggles a year ago, the Bulldogs of Batavia are also mentioned as a program on the rise. And suddenly the name Ian Larson pops up.
If not a newcomer, perhaps a perennial starter or previous role player who has evolved into a leader results in the name association continuing: Marmion, you’re familiar with Luke DeSimone; West Aurora, how about Alex Guillen; Waubonsie Valley, Casey Bucz, of course.