Golfers show improvement in second match
One really was the loneliest number for Moraine Valley College golfers last Monday.
A single shot was all that separated the Cyclones from first place in their second outing of the year. Nevertheless, that showing marked a measurable improvement for Moraine, which was again paced by Jack Misheck, who fired an 18-hole score of 82.
He shared top team honors with Shepard alumnus Pat Neylon, while Sandburg grad Joe Knight was right behind the duo with a round of 83. Jeff Cizek (85) and John Randolph (88) were the Cyclones’ other competitors.
Two days later, Moraine wound up third in an Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference match. Knight posted the low score on that occasion with his 76, which also represented the best single round for any Cyclone thus far this season.
In back of Knight were Cizek (81), Neylon (82) and Misheck (82). Moraine coach Bob Freudenthal noted his guys’ progress in the early going of the campaign, but said the Cyclones needed to “be vigilant and expand their game” in order to stay competitive within the ISCC and Region IV.
The Cyclones kicked off their 2013 season last Tuesday by edging the College of Lake County 3-2 in overtime in an ISCC encounter.
Fuad Haleem, Patryck Paprocki and Stagg product Greg Healy notched the goals for Moraine, which is playing on a new home field this year. Paprocki and Jordy Padilla each doled out an assist.
Paprocki, Padilla and Haleem are all newcomers to the Cyclones’ program, while Healy is one of Moraine’s veterans. Other experienced performers back in the fold are all-conference midfielder Luis Navarrete (Shepard), defender Marko Enciso and netminder Max Boyso.
The rookie ranks also include midfielders Jonathan Marquez and Dan Vidos (Brother Rice), defender Jorge Martinez and goalkeeper Chris Vidos (Brother Rice). Cyclones coach Chuck Bales likes his club’s talent level, and he hopes better offseason conditioning will pay dividends — last postseason, Moraine players’ endurance appeared to tail off somewhat during a particularly grueling stretch.
“We should have a better record than last year, but like always, there are two seasons: the conference and the region,” Bales said. “I have a lot of players to work with and [I want to] make sure to push them.
“I’m excited about the group. This is a homogenous group, so there will be good competition among the players for spots in the lineup. We have some solid soccer grads from area high schools, good numbers and good talent.
“It’ll be a good season to watch. [We’re] in it to win it.”
The Cyclones women weren’t as fortunate as their male counterparts in their 2013 debut, as Stephanie Aimone’s goal amounted to Moraine’s full extent of offense last Wednesday. That resulted in a 3-1 setback to Elgin College in ISCC play.
Patricia Tuxford (Richards) earned the assist on Aimone’s tally, while netminder Roxanne Milan made seven saves. Tuxford, an all-conference selection last fall, and Milan head up the list of returnees from the 2012 roster. Along with them are defender Jill Kossifos (Mt. Assisi) and forward/defender Yesenia Galvin.
Coach Jim Knawa must replace last season’s top two scorers, Michaela Sheeran and Alyssa Braun, and he hopes a few of his first-year players can provide some spark. Besides Aimone, that group includes forwards Leticia Diaz, Maria Gabino, Diana Lozado (Richards), Janelle Walters (Shepard) and Antonia Zaper, defenders Aurora Delgado (Mother McAuley) and Ines Tepepa, and midfielders/defenders Cara Dillon (Marist), Kathleen Gribbon (Marist), Samantha Reyes (Marist) and Kenya Torres.
While Knawa thinks there is talent on hand, the ninth-year boss is putting as much emphasis on character and sportsmanship as he is on skill sets.
“We’re here to win, but we’ll do it the right way,” Knawa said. “So far it’s worked out well.”
James Kline, a former men’s team assistant, is serving in that same capacity for the women’s program this fall.
MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
Despite returning only two runners from last year’s team — one of whom was a national qualifier — the Cyclones aren’t figuring on losing a step in 2013. In fact, they’re counting on gaining a few that could lead to titles down the road.
“This will be one of the deepest teams we have had at Moraine Valley in a long time,” said coach Mark Horstmeyer, who is beginning his 14th season at the helm. “The guys remind me a lot of our last two national championship-qualifying teams.”
What those two previous squads had in common was a pack mentality, and Horstmeyer sees that as the Cyclones’ strength this year.
“The guys coming out of high school all ran pretty similar times, and many of them ran against each other for several years, so they’re familiar with each other,” he said. “Even though they competed against each other in high school, they now have a common goal and are working together because they know that will produce success.”
Moraine’s ringleader this season is Brother Rice product Thomas Cira, who took part in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Championship at Rend Lake College last November.
“We expect big things from Thomas this year, but it’s nothing he can’t shoulder,” Horstmeyer said. “He wants to improve, and his experience from racing at the college level a year ago will be one of his assets.”
Also back on board is Sergio Villarreal (St. Laurence), who was hampered by leg injuries as a freshman. If he remains healthy, Villarreal will “contribute to any success we have during the championship season,” according to Horstmeyer.
Spearheading the incoming group of runners is Sandburg alumnus Zach Butera, a transfer from Carthage College who has already gotten a taste of collegiate racing.
“He has high expectations for himself, as do we,” Horstmeyer said. “He has set the bar high and he has the confidence to leap over it. We also are looking to him for leadership, as he has been through the cross country wars.”
Big things are expected as well from Dawid Palac, Alejandro Montes, Jesus Rojas, brothers Anthony and Justin Briante (Evergreen Park), Brandon Ceh (Evergreen Park), Ryan Dovgin and Anton Thauer.
“All of these guys are experienced high school runners and understand what it takes to be successful,” Horstmeyer said. “Once they make the transition to college racing, they will be a force. We’re putting high expectations on them and we have every reason to believe they’ll respond.
“Dawid was Reavis’ top distance runner last year, and there is a reason for that: his work ethic. He really wants to improve, and that’s a main ingredient for success. We really like what he’s doing for us.
“Jesus and Alejandro have the same ingredients. Ryan had a really good outdoor track season and we’re expecting him to carry over that success to this fall, [and] Anton is really working hard to get into shape and shows great potential.”
Horstmeyer is similarly confident the trio of Evergreen grads will be influential figures.
“All in all, we’re really excited about the season and for the guys to achieve a lot of success,” Horstmeyer said. “We have a long ways to go, but I think the journey will be fun and rewarding.”
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
Although the Cyclones have kept their core intact from last fall’s campaign, they will also have to rely on a few newcomers in their quest for 2013 success.
Five runners who gained experience competing against some of the Midwest’s top four- and two-year programs a year ago return. Leading the way is Sandburg product Diana Dinh.
“She has put in the time this summer, so we’re expecting big things from her this fall,” said Horstmeyer, who once again is pulling double coaching duty by guiding both the men’s and women’s cross country teams at Moraine.
Also back are Amanda Gerzon (Stagg), Nancy Ibarra, Maritza Najera and Sury Rosete.
“They all know what they have to do to go beyond what they accomplished last year,” Horstmeyer said. “We will need their knowledge of racing and courses to help our first-year runners.
“We [also] need to keep them healthy, which was an issue last year. If they can do that and continue to work hard, they will be pleased with their results.”
Among the newcomers on whom Horstmeyer is counting are Aileen Gorman (Marist), Tiffany Huntley, Miranda Reyes (Queen of Peace) and Jessica Flores. All have high school experience in the sport.
“They have competed, so they know what they have to do to get fit and prepared,” Horstmeyer said. “I really like their work ethic.”
Another new arrival is Alexis Mindock, who possesses less running experience but some definite potential.
“I really like how the girls are showing signs of being committed to improving,” Horstmeyer said. “They are doing what we ask of them [and] they are headed in the right direction.
“We have to get them to be confident in their ability and know what their potential is. When they get there, they will be a force. We’re excited about our chances this fall.”
The Cyclones’ home opener last Tuesday went smoothly, as they recorded a 25-20, 25-16, 25-17 triumph over Sauk Valley College.
This was an efficient match for Moraine (4-1), as Gina Ryan led the team with 13 kills on 20 swings while committing only one attack error. Kara Kentner (Sandburg) scored on eight attacks and had no miscues, while Alex Bojan swung on another four without error.
Kentner also had a good night at the service line, where she delivered five aces. For good measure, she distributed 20 assists as well, just one fewer than team leader Joanna Curtis.
Autumn Seiler added 11 kills, Taylor Serrano (Mother McAuley) pitched in six more, and libero Kayla Manthei was tough in the backcourt with 18 good serve receptions and 16 digs.