Edgar Garcia (25) will lead No. 3 Morton from his midfield position. | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media
1. St. Charles East: Saints are tall, rangy and explosive. “We have 18 seniors, the most I’ve ever during my time here,” coach Paul Jennison said.
2. Hinsdale Central: The Red Devils return seven starters from a 20-1-2 sectional qualifier that features All-Area goalie Wes Bergevin and elite defender Evan Floersch. Forwards Sam Johnson and Jake Semba make the offense click. “The team has shown great chemistry on and off field,” Wiggins said.
3. Morton: Coach Mike Caruso returns six starters from a 25-3 supersectional qualifier. “We’re a solid team that possesses the ball well and plays very good defense,” Caruso said. Senior All-Area goalie Ian Chacon is a star, backed by midfielder Leo Delgado and midfielder Edgar Garcia. Hector Luna is an elite defender.
4. Naperville Central: The Redhawks have won three consecutive state trophies in Class 3A. Coach Troy Adams returns several prized players from last year’s 19-win, third-place state team. Senior forward Jordi Heeneman (14 goals, six assists) is one of the state’s top players.
5. Neuqua Valley: Led by Bowling Green-recruit Ryan Ross, the Wildcats have size, skill and depth. Midfielders Xavi Ortiz, Joel Algrem and Kas Baladi help balance the attack. Reed Kurtenbach and Jack Schoonenberg are the defensive anchors.
6. Benet: All-area forward and Yale-recruit Kyle Kenagy (26 goals) headlines a strong nucleus of five returning starters from a 17-4-1 sectional qualifier. Coach Sean Wesley has deep junior class with midfielders Richard Michalik, Trenton Wray, forward Daniel Morefield and goalie Konrad Bayer.
7. Wheeling: The Class 3A state second-place finisher suffered heavy graduation losses. Coach Ed Uhrik’s side features gifted midfield Fabian Acosta and strong defenders Frankie Astrada and Francisco Arellano.
8. Lyons: Perennial power returns three starters from an 18-win sectional finalist. Midfielder Harry Hilling and forward Patrick Duncan are the leading offensive threats.
9. Sandburg: The Eagles return five starters from a supersectional team. Kyle Kroll is top defender and sphomore forward Dan Roeder and senior midfielder Kevin Mahoney improve depth. “I’m confident there will be little let down from last year’s success,” coach Desi Vuillaume said.
10. Wheaton Academy: Five starters return from a 22-5-1 team that finished fourth in Class 2A. Junior Ty Seager (28 goals, eight assists), top state sprinter, is explosive. Coach Jeff Brooke is also highlighting newcomers Jacob Kapitaniuk, Isaac Anthony and Elias McCloud.
11. Naperville North: Jim Konrad returns to direct the program and welcomes back seven starters. Forward Chris Ensign keys the offensive attack and has strong support from two-year starting midfielder Grant Borg. The defense is solid with elite defender Brandon Hipp and goalie Christian Robert.
12. New Trier: The Trevians showcase six returning starters, led by elite midfielder Steven Childs, called by coach Wes Molyneaux, “the best player I’ve had since our 2007 state championship team.” Tim Moriarty, Tanner Walsh and Sam Boyd key the backline. Molyneaux is also touting Tommy Belliel and Michael Gallo.
13. Warren: The 2012 Class 3A state champions and last year’s preseason No. 1 were undone by the high expectations. Coach Jason Ahonen said this year’s edition has a renewed focus and dedication. All-state goalie R.J. Hill is the best of seven returning starters.
14. Lake Forest: Coach Rob Parry calls elite back Hunter Moore “the best one versus one defender I’ve ever coached.” Scouts return three starters and seven players who saw extensive time last year on a sectional qualifier. Forward John O’Connor sparks the offense.
15. Batavia: Senior midfielder Ian Larson is an elite scorer and best of six returning starters from a Bulldogs’ team that won 16 games last year. Midfielders Luke Laurich and Erik Faessler are the top newcomers.
16. Streamwood: In the loaded River division of the Upstate Eight, the Sabres look to challenge top-ranked St. Charles East and Batavia. Coach Matt Polovin returns seven starters and is also very excited by a talented freshmen class. Senior defender Mike Delaney is top-notch.
17. Highland Park: After a disappointing season, the Giants look for a fresh start with nine returning starters, a transfer and an academy player. “I believe we are the team to beat in the CSL North,” coach Blake Novotny said. Defense is solid with elite defender Omar Rodriguez and goalie Carlos Pineda.
18. Hersey: Huskies have a sharp blend of returning players and talented newcomers. Campbell White is an elite defender. Also watch Tim Griffin and George Boyle and top newcomers Alex Fillian and Lukas Wilke.
19. Downers South: Senior forward Eric Diaz is one of the state best players, headlining a group of four returning starters. Andrew Dobosenski is a top defender. Coach Jon Stapleton is also excited by offensive newcomers Nick Rohl, Peter Fish and Andrew Pierropoulos.
20. St. Viator: Traditionally strong program has four returning starters from a 15-win side expected to compete with Benet for top spot of the East Suburban Catholic. Javier Romero, Zack Gyuricza, Aiden Williams and Miles McDonnell are the top players.