Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

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Offsides and scoring struggles end boys soccer’s State Championship title defense

Seniors+Blake+Stevens+%28left%29+and+Jackson+Tritt+%28center%29+get+into+position+during+Centrals+5-0+win+over+DeKalb+on+Sept.+26.
Sam Lockhart
Seniors Blake Stevens (left) and Jackson Tritt (center) get into position during Central’s 5-0 win over DeKalb on Sept. 26.

Naperville Central’s varsity boys soccer team wrapped up their season with a 1-0 loss to Naperville North in the IHSA Sectional Final on Oct. 28.

The team’s season ended in dramatic fashion. With the game tied 0-0 late in the second half, junior Mikey DeFalco scored, but the goal was ruled offside. Naperville North was then able to meet the back of the net, sealing the win and advancing to the Super-Sectional. 

“Looking back on the film, he was clearly not offsides,” senior captain Patrick Berryman said. “Obviously, we’re not in the professional leagues, so we don’t have the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) where we can review that. Because it was scoreless at that point, it totally could have changed the whole game. I don’t know if they would have scored their goal if our goal had gone through.”

Naperville North would go on to claim the third place trophy with a 5-2 win over Glenbrook North.

This season brought a lot of changes to the squad coming off the program’s first-ever IHSA state championship last season. The team lost top goal scorers to graduation, along with now-sophomore Chase Adams joining the Columbus Crew Academy. These roster changes left big holes in the attack, making for a season of learning and adjusting.

“It was a lot to figure out,”  Berryman said. “We knew we had a lot of returning guys from the team that won state last year, so we knew we had a good core. We knew that we had potential, it was more just figuring out where to put everybody because we lost all of our main goal scorers from last year.”

Senior Michael Cavalleri ended up shifting forward to play a major role in the team’s attack.

“He was a center back all of last year, one of our key defensive guys,” Berryman said. “We started him that way this year, but one of the main shifts that happened was he went up to forward.”

Coming off the state championship, managing expectations was important for the team.

“We didn’t want last year’s success to influence our goals for this year,” Berryman said. “We wanted to keep it realistic. Our goal every year I’ve been with the team is to win a sectional. Obviously, we’re in a tough sectional; Naperville North is always a powerhouse in soccer, and then there’s some other teams that are always really good.”

The beginning of the season brought some rough games for the team, according to Berryman. The team’s first DVC match of the year was a 5-0 loss to Naperville North.

The team was able to pick up momentum going into the postseason, which helped them win their second straight DVC championship. This marked the first back-to-back conference championship in the history of the program. 

“Despite the adversity, that pressure from the media and the community, our boys rose to the occasion when it really mattered,” Assistant Coach Mike Ortiz said.

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About the Contributor
Nolan Shen, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Nolan is a senior, entering his third year on staff. He is excited to be heading the Arts and Entertainment section this year. When not writing for CT, he can be found playing with the Marching Redhawks Drumline, performing in the Naperville Youth Symphony, eating too much McDonald’s, and watching bad sci-fi movies. Next year, he plans on going to college to study political science and hopefully not flunk out.
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