High School Sports Notes
September 23, 2012 9:14PM
Updated: October 25, 2012 6:11AM
Plainfield North, the returning Southwest Prairie champion, will again be in the hunt for a conference banner. The Tigers are 5-1 in conference duals and 3-0 against District 202 competition so far this season.
Leading the charge are Ben Roth, Taylor Hollingshaus, Patrick McCarthy and Jason Tipton.
“This is probably one of the most rounded teams I have coached at North,” coach Brad Shinovich said. “We have high expectations going into our conference and regional play.”
Shinovich noted Greg Rash, Zaid Esaak, Nick Zenobi and Jake Walisiak as players capable of contributing.
“We have a solid core and any of those guys can score on any given day.”
Minooka is another team that should be in the mix. The Indians are 6-1 in duals over their last seven matches and are the only SPC foe to defeat North in a conference match.
Individually, look for Plainfield Central’s reigning champion, Mitch Young, to earn all-conference honors for the fourth time.
The conference meet will be hosted by Plainfield South on Wednesday at Wedgewood.
With regional play just two weeks away, Lemont finds itself in one of the state’s premier brackets.
“The Naperville Regional is going to be really tough,” coach Bill Mondrella said. “We feel like we have a shot, but we’ll need to have some breaks go our way.”
The Indians were co-champions of the Stagg Regional in 2011, then went on to finish sixth in the sectional.
The Naperville Regional arguably is one of the best in the state.
Looming are Hinsdale Central and Lyons, which finished fourth and seventh in the 2011 state meet, respectively, along with tough outs Benet, Downers Grove South, Naperville North and Stagg.
“If not as a team, we have a few individually that have a chance to go down state,” Mondrella said.
Lemont’s top player is Bridgett Lynn. The junior is a consistent medalist for the team and shot an 82 to place sixth at the 18-team Vernon Hills Invitational on Sept. 8.
Sophomore Laura Ringo and senior Nadya Cortes also have played well for the team.
“We have a solid mix of players one-though-eight. Anyone can contribute on any given day,” Mondrella said.
Plainfield Central’s quest for its seventh straight Southwest Prairie Conference title begins in earnest this week and the Wildcats know they have a tough road ahead of them.
“We know that we need to continue to improve as the conference looks pretty strong this year,” Central coach Kevin Fitzgerald said.
In its only conference match so far this season, Central lost to Plainfield South. The Wildcats have a huge week ahead, visiting Plainfield North on Monday before Wednesday’s trip to Minooka and a home match Saturday against Romeoville.
Minooka and Romeoville have established themselves as contenders in what seems to be a wide-open league, taking conference marks of 3-1 and 2-0, respectively, into the week.
Oswego, Plainfield South and Plainfield East are top challengers to the Wildcats’ throne as well.
“There’s some pressure on us,” Central goalkeeper Tyler Badertscher said. “We know we have the targets on our back and we have to step it up if we want to keep holding the title.”
Central is 6-7-1 overall, playing a tough nonconference schedule that included a trip to downstate power Chatham Glenwood.
Lincoln-Way West’s Emily Maynard, a No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles player, has an 11-4 record. She has posted wins over Lincoln-Way East freshman Tia King (6-0, 6-2), Andrew’s Amanda Aronson (6-2, 6-1) and Lincoln-Way North’s Olivia Knuth (7-6, 3-6, 6-3).
“She’s hoping to qualify for the state tournament this year,” West coach Karla Horn said of Maynard.
Lincoln-Way Central has won five of its last six dual meets, including a 4-3 SouthWest Suburban Conference win over Andrew.
“The girls are definitely headed in the right direction coming up to the conference meet in a few short weeks,” Central coach Sue Schneider said. “There is still a lot of work to be done and the girls are ready for it. They have a don’t give up attitude and that’s great to see.”
In the Knights’ 4-3 win over district rival Lincoln-Way East, all four Central wins came in three sets.
“The entire team has been working so hard on technique, shots and footwork and it is starting to pay off for them,” Schneider said.
Plainfield East is in its fourth year of varsity competition. Although wins have been hard to come by, first-year coach B.J. Buncio has been pleased with the Bengals’ toughness.
“We have not had many wins but we play tough,” Buncio said.