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Morris, Minooka dominate All-Area soccer team

It was something of a historic soccer season for the local teams. For Morris and Minooka that was a good thing. For Coal City it wasn’t the kind of history it was looking for. For Newark, bolstered by the new co-op with Seneca, it could very well be the beginning of a turnaround.

But first things first.

Morris set a school record this fall for wins in a single season and made it to a third-straight sectional. The Redskins finished 14-5-5 this fall, which was just ahead of the Indians and their 13-7-2 record. Despite being in different classes – Minooka in 3A and Morris in 2A – the two teams played to a 3-3 tie this fall.

Morris lost to Peoria Notre Dame (3-1) at the Morton Class 2A Sectional and Minooka lost to Edwardsville (4-0) at the Class 2A Joliet West Sectional championship game. Edwardsville went on to win the championship in Class 3A and Peoria failed to make the state finals for the first time in six years this fall.

Both of those teams lead the way with All-Area selections this fall. Morris had the Most Valuable Player this year in Ricardo Del Toro and added seven more picks, while Minooka had six picks.

Both Newark (8-12-1) and Coal City (3-14-1) round out this year’s team with one pick apiece.

Giacomo Raimondi

Senior, Minooka

As a forward/midfielder, Raimondi scored 11 goals and dished seven assists this season. He was an honorable mention All-Sectional pick this year and made the All Southwest Prairie Conference team, as well.

“He’s been a huge reason Minooka soccer is where it is today,” Minooka coach Chris Brolley said. “We will miss him for sure.”

Matt Dlugopolski

Sophomore, Minooka

One of the true “young guns” in the area, Dlugopolski scored 14 goals and added three assists this fall. He made the All Southwest Prairie Conference and was named the offensive MVP by the Indians.

“Matt is a very talented, very determined sophomore who had a break-through season,” Brolley said. “He had some huge goals for us this season.”

James Bowen

Junior, Newark

Were it not for Del Toro, Bowen could easily have been named MVP this year. Bowen played every minute this season for the Norsemen and in the process compiled 26 goals and added 11 assists.

“He’s one of the most determined and driven athletes I have ever been around,” Newark coach J.R. Veliz said. “His motor kept going and wouldn’t stop.”

Bowen was a unanimous All Little-10 Conference selection this year.

Salvador ‘Chava’ Villanueva

Senior, Morris

Many times 22 goals in a season would make a player a shoe-in as the league MVP, but not this season. Still, Villanueva, who added nine assists, will be remembered as one of the best soccer players from MCHS.

“He is by far the most exciting player to watch as he had been able to place direct kicks left or right footed,” Morris coach David Valdivia said. “He was able to score goals when most needed. He has put in goals from 20-yards out and has pressured in the box and gotten goals from stealing the ball from defenders.

Villanueva was All-Northern Illinois Big 12 East Conference and an All-Sectional pick.

Nick Borgstrom

Junior, Morris

Led all area players with 17 assists this fall while adding four goals.

“He was an All-Tournament player from Earlville,” Valdivia said.

Chase Mincey

Senior, Coal City

Made 216 saves overall for an average of 12 per game as the starting keeper for the Coalers. All three wins by Coal City were by shutout this fall.

“Chase is an outgoing, charismatic individual who worked extremely hard to improve throughout the season,” Coal City coach Todd Painter said. “He made some incredible saves throughout the season to keep us in games.”

Alex Singletary

Senior, Minooka

Singletary recorded 120 saves while allowing 27 goals in 22 matches.

“He had one of the best playoff performances I have seen at Minooka,” Brolley said. “He kept us tied against Normal and closed out the door in the regional final, stopping the last kicker to win it. I’m really happy for what he accomplished this year.”

Kyle Sparks

Freshman, Minooka

The lone freshman on the team, Sparks scored five goals and added eight assists for the Indians this fall.

“He was voted our team MVP as a freshman. Kyle leads a group of young players looking to do great things,” Brolley said. “He’s an unbelievable talent and it very exciting to watch.”

Brian Vasquez

Senior, Morris

Played all but a couple of matches in goal for the Redskins this year. Vasquez was named an All-Northern Illinois Big 12 East selection, recording four shutouts.

“He really played well for the team this year,” Valdivia said. “Especially during our regional.”

Jose Salinas

Senior, Morris

An-All Northern Illinois Big 12 East honorable mention selection, Salinas was one of the anchors on defense for Valdivia.

“He was one of our fastest defenders,” Valdivia said. “He would mark the other team’s big guys all the time.”

Ryan Bozue

Senior, Minooka

Bozue scored two goals and had two assists this season.

“Ryan came back to soccer after a year off and he didn’t miss a beat,” Brolley said. “His style of play and athletic skills helped solidify the defense as we took on the top teams in the state.”

Nick Miller

Senior, Minooka

Miller had two assists and was Minooka’s most valuable defender according to Brolley.

“With a team that had a bunch of people step up, Nick was up at the top of the list of guys determined to have fun and improve,” Brolley said. “His leadership and confident play was contagious and will be missed next year.”

Matt Thayer

Senior, Morris

A defender for the Redskins.

“He was a versatile player who would play three or four positions,” Valdivia said.

Kyle Monk

Senior, Morris

Another defender for Morris.

“He was our tallest center-back who had never played that position before,” Valdivia said. “He would win aerial balls and would be a key player for us during corner kicks.”

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