Boys Soccer: All-Area team loaded with firepowerSun-Times All-Area boys soccer team, l-r: Zack Biel, Pat Flynn, Daniel Szcezpanek, Mike Pavliga, Joe Sullivan, Kendall Stork, Christian Meyer, Ben Larson, Joel Larson and T.C. Hull, Sunday, October 28, 2012. I John H. White~Sun-Times
Updated: November 2, 2012 8:14PM
The Chicago Sun-Times all-area soccer team has talent to burn, and the pedigree to justify their inclusion. It is shaped by players who have achieved great individual honors but have propelled their teams to the cusp of a state championship.
The group features a rare freshman and has eight players whose teams reached at least a sectional final. Four of the members are playing this weekend in the state’s Class 3A state championships at Lincoln-Way North in Frankfort.
Top-ranked Naperville Central, the defending Class 3A state runner-up, is led by Player of the Year, senior striker Pat Flynn (29 goals, nine assists) and senior keeper Mike Pavliga. The two have powered the Redhawks to a 22-1 mark and their second consecutive state finals appearance. Pavliga recorded 13 shutouts and allowed just eight goals in 23 games. He now stands in the state’s top 20 all-time list for shutouts.
Naperville North’s Joe Sullivan, a Bowling Green State recruit, had 16 goals and 16 assists for the Huskies, the only team to beat Naperville Central during the regular season.
After leading Warren to a fourth-place Class 3A finish last year with 20 goals and 22 assists, senior Daniel Szczepanek recorded 13 goals and contributed 23 assists to key the Blue Devils’ return trip. Sandburg senior Zack Biel led the Eagles’ state tournament run, scoring 24 goals and adding 14 assists.
Warren beat St. Charles East 2-1 in the Barrington Supersectional, ending the remarkable year of Saints’ junior forward T.C. Hull. He had 31 goals and 10 assists for the 20-3-1 Saints. Hinsdale Central’s Christian Meyer is another top junior whose team-best totals of 10 goals and 12 assists powered the Red Devils to the sectional finals.
Libertyville senior midfielder Austin Bitta scored 22 goals and distributed 19 assists for the sectional finalist Wildcats. He recorded career-marks of 41 goals and 52 assists and started for the Wildcats’ state runner-up team as a sophomore two years ago.
Defending Class 3A state champion Morton went 47-5-1 in the two years star senior sweeper Joel Leon led the backline. Leon, a UIC commit, scored 11 goals and seven assists. Lyons’ senior defender Ben Larson had four goals, six assists and was a brilliant open field tackler.
Barrington freshman Kendall Stork made a spectacular high school debut, scoring 18 goals and adding 11 assists for the sectional finalists.