Men’s soccer aims to score conference title

Men's soccer aims to score conference title

Wyatt Richter

Setting up for a header, senior Luke Pilliod goes for the attack. Pilliod has been playing on varsity soccer since his sophomore year.

Hannah Mason, asst. sports editor

The men’s soccer team is aiming to win conference this season after amassing a record of 8-2-5, according to senior captains Luke Pilliod and Peter Campbell.

South started their season with a 3-2 victory against Schaumburg and then earned another victory Sept.7, beating Libertyville 1-0.

“[Libertyville] was ranked top 10 in state, and we beat them on their own field, which was nice,” Campbell said.

For the first time in 14 years, the Titans beat Maine South 3-2. The game started out with a goal by GBS, but within a minute Maine South scored, tying the score 1-1. Senior captain Kurt Roemer scored the second goal for the Titans about 10 minutes in, giving GBS a 2-1 lead, according to Campbell.

“We all went crazy [when Roemer scored] and mistakenly dropped back on defense, which put us under a lot of pressure,” Campbell said.

Maine South tied things up at 2-2, but the Titans were able to get a free kick in the final minutes of the game, allowing senior defenseman Michael Hanches to head the ball and set Campbell up for a bicycle kick for the winning goal.

“I’m looking at the ball thinking, ‘how am I going to get this thing in the goal?’,” Campbell said. “In half a second I [decided] that I [have to] bike this. I hit [the ball] as it was falling down and as I fell to the ground I looked back and saw it go into the back of the net.”

Head Coach Paul Agombar feels that the team has been good at controlling the ball and adjusting to different field conditions.

“Going back a couple of years, [the team was] playing in the stadium after football  and band. It was very difficult to pass the ball to each other because the fields were really muddy,” Agombar said. “Since we have got the turf, we have been able to adapt to a different style of play and keep possession of the ball.”

Agombar believes a key aspect of the team is their communication.

“The example of leadership on the field is always important, and all the way through all the seniors have done a good job,” Agombar said.

According to Campbell, he considers himself a very vocal player and can be distinctly heard when playing a game and from the sidelines.

“The yelling is constructive criticism; it’s not just yelling to yell,” Campbell said.

Pilliod believes there are a couple of things the team still needs to improve throughout the season, such as keeping the ball in the air and consistency.

“It seems like every other game is a good one, and then we go back to playing like we did at the beginning of the season,” Pilliod said. “We [also] need to get better at loose balls and our headers.”

According to Campbell, the team has had to overcome some obstacles such as injuries in the last few weeks. Some injured players included Pilliod at the beginning of the season with a pulled quad and senior defenseman Josh Just with torn. As a result of Just’s torn ACL, senior Evan Salathe has been starting in his place.

“[Salathe] has been playing unbelievably this season,” Campbell said. “He is probably the most improved player from the beginning of this year, and he’ll be key especially stepping up into a new position.”

Key members of the team this season include the other two captains, Roemer and senior Kosta Brkovic in the middle and on defense, seniors Dan Schwartz, Omar Duran, and Salathe, according to Pilliod. There are also two sophomores on the team this season, Perry Adamopoulos and Javier Ayala.

“[Roemer and Brkovic] do a great job in the middle and set the tone for our team,” Pilliod said. “Javier is doing a great job as well; he is only a sophomore, but you can’t tell by the way he plays.”

Pilliod hopes that not only can the team win conference but also make it down to state.

“I know we can win conference, but it all comes down to if we are on the same page on the day of conference games and [are] playing well,” Pilliod said.

Pilliod believes the team is capable of a lot and that will show as the season unfolds. South plays next tomorrow against Lake Forest Academy.