Top players: Tyler Baumgart, sr., A; Jacob Thelen, sr., M; Anthony Kempf, jr., D; Cameron Haefs, so., G
Worth noting: The Trojans made it to the sectional semifinal round two years ago. … “We have a young team, but they are an awesome group of guys, and I am really excited for the season,” Cheatle said. “With the loss of last season, we have been working hard to build chemistry quickly, and I am really happy with our progress so far.”
Crystal Lake Central
Coach: Leo Zimmerman (fifth season)
2019 record: 8-7
Top athletes: Mark Crowley, sr., M; Michael Cruz, jr., M; Joshua Puma, jr., LSM; Jack Blum, so., D
Worth noting: Central was really looking forward to the 2020 season with 14 seniors on its roster. Now, Crowley is the Tigers’ only senior, but the 2-2 start has been encouraging. … “We are doing well. We’re really, really young,” Zimmerman said. “Last year was supposed to be our year, this is kind of a rebuilding year, but we’ve done surprisingly well. We have a lot of young talent. Our strength is our defense.”
Crystal Lake South
Coach: Jim Krol (third season)
Top players: AJ Fattori, sr., A; Griffin Baker, so., LSM; Michael Saccomanno, so., A; Jerod Sadler, jr., Face-off/M; Joey Barnett, so., G
Worth noting: South is off to a 2-4 start with a mix of talented younger players and some key upperclassmen. … Barnett has been steady in goal, and Fattori leads the Gators in scoring. … “We are looking to continue to improve as key players Connor Wosik and Joe Ready return to the lineup within the next two weeks,” Krol said. “Sophomores Griffin Baker and Michael Saccomanno (the son of Huntley coach Dom Saccomanno) are playing key roles in the midfield and attack.”
Coach: Dylan Maule (fourth season)
2019 record: 5-12
Top players: Aidan Didier, jr., G; Ryan Schultz, jr., A; Brady Taylor, jr., M; Mason Searles, jr., M; Eric Corona, sr., D
Worth noting: D-C has a young team, with only three seniors, and will look toward developing. … The Chargers will rely heavily on Didier in goal. “He is our heart, soul and general on the field,” Maule said. …Maule likes the smarts and leadership Taylor brings at midfield and calls Schultz a dangerous player on the attack. … Searles is a three-sport athlete who is a tough competitor. … Freshman Nolan Wienbenga currently leads the team in scoring.
Coach: Collin Rustay (third season)
2019 record: 4-12
Top players: Jackson Smith, jr., A; Brady Holtz, sr., A; Nick Johnston, sr., M; Sam Lim, jr. D; Matt Innes, jr., G
Worth noting: Holtz is an offensive key, as Rustay says the Whip-Purs run everything through him. … Johnston is someone who is adept at getting to the net and can score. … Lim is a defensive standout who Rustay trusts guarding opponents’ best players. And Innes has been solid in net.
Coach: Dom Saccomanno (sixth season)
2019 record: 9-7
Top players: Ethan Philips, jr., A; Jake Gehl, jr., G; Ian Watson, sr., A; Sean McCamant, sr., M
Worth noting: Saccomanno said the Red Raiders are playing this season for assistant coach Joe McCamant, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a work accident. “We haven’t seen him since January,” Saccomanno said. “We play every rep for him.”
Coach: John Bigler (14th season)
2019 record: 1-17
Top players: Luke Bertone, sr., A; Colin Gretz, sr., LSM-D; Justin Gretz, sr., M; Ayden Janchev, sr., A; Jack Italiano, sr., D
Worth noting: The Golden Eagles (2-2) already have surpassed their win total from 2019. Bigler likes the leadership the seniors have shown in encouraging the younger players. … Bigler feels like losing last season has motivated the Eagles to make every day, practice or game, count this season. … “Of course, we want to win, but our main goals revolve around taking advantage of each day and playing as if it could end at any time,” Bigler said. “Having a strong senior group allows us to focus on some of the finer points of the game, while also developing our younger players.”
Coach: Matt Biell (second season)
2019 record: 6-11
Top athletes: Ryan Hephner, sr., M; Gavin DeLord, jr., M; Hunter O’Brien, sr., D
Worth noting: The Warriors have only three seniors and two juniors, the other 15 players on the team are freshmen and sophomores. … “We’re working on creating a strong foundation and respectable program for years to come,” Biell said. “I’m proud of the work our feeder program is doing with the youth.”
Coach: Patrick Brunken (first season).
Top players: Tyler Oros, sr., D; Dylan Randazzo, sr., D; Alex Smith, sr, LSM; RJ Thielson, sr,. M; Matt Grubenau, sr., M; Marcus Pomilie, sr., G; Jack Whalen, jr., M; Matthew Brunken, jr., D; Caden Geils, jr., LSM; Brendan Stoll, jr., M; Jayson Lange, jr., A.
Worth noting: Patrick Brunken takes over as head coach after being assistant for the previous six years. …”This is the most talented group that has played since I have been a part of the program,” Patrick Brunken said. “There are several players that are going on to play collegiate lacrosse. It is so much fun to watch them be out there playing a sport that they love.”
Crystal Lake Central co-op
Coach: Joe Capalbo (second season)
2019 record: 15-0
Top players: Sammy Johnson, sr., M; Alex Litgen, sr., M; Erika Deegan, sr., G; Lauren Hughes, jr., A; Piper LeFevre, jr., M; Maddi Lieflander, so., M
Worth noting: The Tigers want to win the Fox Valley Conference and make a strong run in the postseason. … “We have many returning starters from both offense and defense, which is very exciting,” Capalbo said. “Offensively, we have many girls who have played together for a couple years and they have developed some great chemistry.” … Capalbo said the Tigers are excited to be back on the field competing.
Coach: Nicole Paukovits (third season)
Top players: Teagan Van Stone, fr., M; Sam Barrett, sr., G; Gabby Bianchi, sr., M
Worth noting: Hampshire plays as a D-300 co-op team, picking up players from Dundee-Crown and Jacobs. … The Whip-Purs have eight returning players from the 2019 team, and the program is growing, with 24 underclassmen across the varsity and JV levels. … Van Stone has strong defensive skills and a powerful shot. … Barrett is averaging 15 saves a game. “Our goal is to stop those shots before they get to her with strong defensive communication.,” Paukovits said.
Coach: Joe Domka
2019 record: 10-8
Top players: Riley Flickinger, sr., M; Ali Zorn, jr., D; Emma Farr, jr., A; Kyleigh Higgins, jr., M; Allie Ambrogio, so., M; Maggie Kirwin, D; Ashley Zolen, so., D
Worth noting: The Red Raiders have started 3-0. Domka appreciated the way the players put in their time in the offseason with the pandemic. … “Our main goal this year is to get our first playoff win,” Domka said. … There are plenty of returning players on whom the Raiders can rely. “We are able to dial in our defense, attack and middies, even with the smaller number of girls rostered this year,” Domka said. “As coaches, we are proud of the girls and really look forward to the future.”