Benet’s new style earns raves
Updated: August 23, 2011 9:08PM
Sean Wesley was very interested to learn how the ambitious new offensive strategy he designed would play out in a live situation.
“We have a new way of playing this year,” the second-year Benet soccer coach said. “We want to play through people. We only had 15 days to implement the new system, and none of our guys play on the same club teams during the summer, so it was a blank slate.”
Fortunately, he has some first-rate players. The new style suggested an auspicious start.
Star senior defender Benjamin Kucera scored one of three goals as the Redwings broke a 1-1 first half tie to knock out Downers Grove North 4-1 in the season-opening game of both teams Tuesday in Lisle.
“I don’t think we scored four goals in a game all last year,” Wesley said.
Junior forward Brad Bozych opened the season in spectacular style, scoring a goal in the opening two minutes as the Redwings seized the early advantage. Downers North star junior forward Cullen Cummings answered with a blast to knot the score about 13 minutes into the game.
Benet dominated the second half. Midfielder Hunter Miller broke the tie and the Redwings (1-0) never looked back. “It was a great way to start the season because we got the win, but we made mistakes, so we know what we have to do to get better,” Kucera said.
“Last year we had a lot of big, physical guys and we played a lot of long balls,” he said. “Now, I wouldn’t say we are more athletic, but we just have a lot of very skilled players and we’re going to play this different style.”
The Trojans (0-1) are also in a period of adjustment. Paul Hogan, last year’s Sun-Times Player of the Year, has graduated. Star junior forward A.J. Norris has elected to play club soccer. “We’re not really battle-tested at this point,” Downers North coach Brian Gervase said.
“We only have probably two or three starters back from last year’s team, and some other guys that saw some action. We have a good junior class, but they’re inexperienced.
“Benet has a nice team, and they really hurt us with their counter game. They forced turnovers and really took advantage. That No. 10 (Kucera) made a really nice goal.”
Kucera’s goal provided a 3-1 cushion. Senior forward Patrick Nemetz tallied the final score on a beautiful unassisted left-foot smash from the left wing from about 15 yards out with just under 11 minutes to play. Star junior keeper Kyle DalSanto registered three saves for the Redwings.
It kick-started a terrific beginning as Benet tries to negotiate a brutal early-season schedule that has them facing highly-regarded Naperville North and Neuqua Valley in the opening two weeks of the season. “It was only the first game, but we really felt like we almost had to have this game and we could not start the season in a hole,” Wesley said.