Huskies aims to take next stepJeremy Kaden (19) of Naperville Central and Evan Trychta (38) of Naperville North race for the ball. Oct. 14, 2010. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 27, 2011 3:26PM
On a recent Saturday afternoon, the skies darkened and the rain poured, interrupting a spirited
soccer practice at Naperville North. The mood was intense but playful, indicative of a team hungry and
excited to get the season started.
‘‘Last year we were the darkhorse, and this year I think we’re the team that everybody is looking to play,’’ senior keeper Kevin Anderson said. ‘‘I think we have the chance to be even better.’’
The Huskies return nine starters from a 21-4-2 team that qualified for the Class 3A semifinals last season. After an electrifying state tournament in which Naperville North dispatched highly-regarded Neuqua Valley and defending state champion Lyons, it suffered two heartbreaking overtime losses to Libertyville and Edwardsville.
‘‘Soccer is a very cruel sport,’’ said Huskies coach Jim Konrad, who has a 130-40-19 record in nine seasons directing the program. ‘‘In football and basketball, the team that dominates the game almost
always wins. In soccer, you can dominate a game and still not win.’’
Naperville North and Libertyville appear to be the class of the Class 3A field. The Huskies rate a slight edge because of their impressive individual talent, including forward Evan Trychta, a first-team Sun-Times All-Area pick last season.
Trychta scored 17 goals last season, including one each in five of the team’s six state-tournament games, Konrad said.
‘‘That’s why he’s so valuable,’’ Konrad said. ‘‘In soccer, goals are precious, and he’s a difference-maker.’’
Trychta is recovering from a foot injury and is expected to miss the early part of the season.
‘‘It’s not as if he’s Michael Jordan and we can’t win without him,’’
Konrad said he thinks he has seven Division I prospects, including senior midfielder Kyle Lindberg, junior midfielder Joe Sullivan and star defenders Lee Grander and Max Auden.
‘‘We’ve been looking forward to this point ever since we brought up a lot of these kids when they were sophomores two years ago,’’ Konrad said.
The past informs every move.
‘‘Soccer is a crazy game,’’ Auden said. ‘‘Everybody thought Neuqua Valley was going to win the [girls] state title last year, but our girls beat them. It’s a game of crazy bounces and strange luck.
‘‘We had a great run in the tournament, but we didn’t do what we set out to and win a state title. We don’t want to let that happen again.’’