"We play three schools in the St. Louis
area that are ranked in the top 25 in the nation, and we play East
Central, ranked third, along with Springfield College and Lewis &
Clark, both rated in the top 25," said Massena. "Playing the tougher
schedule makes us a better team for regional. We have a much larger
squad and have a lot more physical talent than last season."
The Lynx mentor continued: "We had a
good recruiting year, and I look for us to be twice as good as last
season. Our starting 11 should be as good as anyone we play. If we
can avoid injury, it should be a good season. We also have some
talent coming off the bench that will help us later in the season."
Augistine Barboza, Moline, is a
returning starter from last season and is one of the captains on the
squad. Barboza was all-conference last season and is a phenomenal
player who possesses the midfield skills to dictate a game. Chris
Pettineo, Naperville Central, is serving as the other captain for
the Lynx. "We are looking for Chris to shut out a lot of our
opponents from the goalie position," said Massena. "He has worked
hard all summer and has shown a lot of improvement."
Ryan Metz, Bloomington, returns at the
midfield slot and has greatly improved from last season, when he
spent a lot of time on the injured list. "He will be a physical
force and a big key to our defensive play," Massena said. "He will
be joined by Seth Bishop, Bloomington, as an outside midfielder.
Bishop understands the game and came to practice in great shape.
Taylor Gilliland, Chatham, is technically sound and very quick. He
is a vocal leader and keeps us together. He was a redshirt last
season and has two years remaining."
Massena continued: "One of our top
recruits is Adrian Contreras, Argo, who has scored in each of our
preseason games. He is very fast, knows the game and knows how to
score. Santos Omar Rodriguez, Bartlett, is another of our top
recruits who is very physical and very creative. We look for both of
these young men to score between 10 and 15 goals this season.
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"Leandro Jones, Madison, Wis.., is a
possession-type player who will play in the midfield area. He is
very unselfish and is able to move the ball quickly. He will set up
our scorers and is also capable of scoring on his own. Ryan Hudkins,
Hoffman Estates, is an outstanding defender with good speed. He is a
scrappy-type player and a hard-nose kid. He is making the transition
from high school to college soccer.
"Others who will help throughout the
year are Colin Smith, St. Johns, Antigua, who is very fast and
physical. He is still learning the game, and he will see action as a
right-side defender. Miguel Orozco, St. Joseph, is a very solid
midfielder who can boot the ball 50-60 yards. Carl Bartholomay, Glen
Ellyn, was a goalie in high school, and we are transferring him to
the field. He is a smart player with a lot of physical talent. Paul
Davis, Mount Prospect, was a diver and did not play soccer last
season, but he played in high school and is a quick, scrappy-type
Maxwell, Gurnee, Ryan Hoyt, Lincoln Christian College transfer, and
Luca Andreuccetti, Elmhurst, all will be coming off the bench for
some playing time. Chris Bruce, Maize, Kan., and Cole Clapper,
Tuscola, are both goalies who will be pushing for playing time. Both
are solid players. Charles Schwartz, Peotone, is one of the hardest
workers on the team. Jacob Donovan, Yorktown, Ind., is one of those
players every coach loves to have on the team, as he is an extremely
hard worker and willing to put in the extra time to learn. Chris
Tourloukis, Maine South, will play the midfield area and is a team
sponsor of the week