June 19, 2012
Battered and worn down by a tough schedule, the Cyclones prevailed all year and into the NJCAA Region IV semifinals before seasons' end. They didn't end up where they wanted, but proved themselves in 2011.
Moraine Valley had a rewarding season, highlighted by a big win in the quarterfinals over undefeated Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference champs, Oakton Community College. That game ended in penalty kicks, advancing the Cyclones to the semifinals on Oct. 26 where they lost 4-2 to Morton College. In the end, the accumulation of injuries and fatigue from a grueling season proved too much for the team to continue their five-game winning streak and overcome a strong Morton team, a team they defeated in the regular season 5-4 in overtime.
"This season was particularly difficult with the team playing the toughest schedule in NJCAA Region IV," said coach Chuck Bales. "At times we struggled, but a focus on the process, not the results, and vision that the exertion would make them stronger in the end, paid off with a determined march through round one of playoffs and the quarterfinal game."
The Cyclones finished over .500 this year with a 9-5-2 overall record and 3-2-2 conference record, for a fourth place finish. A grueling schedule didn't come without some games that defined the season, however. Moraine Valley showed both their power and frailty on Sept. 6 against McHenry County College. Although the Cyclones won 5-3 with a smooth and fluid attack, the defense showed their susceptibility to mental distraction in gifting the three goals in what should have been a shutout game.
Nearly two weeks later, the Cyclones demonstrated pure power against Kishwaukee College. With an unstoppable attack, Moraine Valley won 6-2 after coming to grips with what would take them through the rest of the season, outscoring the other teams.
Then in the first round of playoffs, the Cyclones played something less than a pretty game. Between bouts of rain and relentless wind, Moraine Valley came up short in the first half, down 0-3 to Truman College with elimination a real possibility. The team fought back and scored four goals (the last one in the waning minutes of the game) to secure a place in the semifinals.
A shining moment for the Cyclones was their final win in the playoffs over Oakton. A high-scoring Oakton team, which boasts the number one forward in the conference and region, was held to one goal. Moraine Valley had a game plan, mental focus in check, their execution set, and bit of luck to give them the double overtime win. "We had the best defensive game of the season. It was awesome," Bales said. "Injuries and fatigue in two overtimes forced the back line to be unrecognizable at the end, but the team performed unbelievably and prevailed.
"This team, more than any will be defined by their resilience, ability to come back, and never say die attitude. The toughest schedule of the region was laid down before us but they responded by knocking off the top team and finishing as a well-deserved top four team in the region," Bales said.
A number of athletes received awards for their outstanding performance on the field this season. Midfielder Erik Gomez (Eisenhower) was named to the All-Region and All-Conference first teams and nominated an All-American. Forward Pawel Rychtarczyk (Reavis) and defender Zach Dahlman (Andrew) were named to the All-Region second team and All-Conference first team. All-Region honorable mentions went to Miguel Rivera (Bogan), Ivan Lopez (Argo) and Rogelio Orozco (Eisenhower). Lopez and Orozco along with Jonathan Rodriguez (Oak Lawn), Micah Van Bruggen (Andrew) and Joel Pepala (Zambia) were named to the All-Conference second team.
As the number eight seed, the Cyclones had their work cut out for them on Oct. 22 in the NJCAA Region IV quarter-finals against number one seed Oakton Community College. In yet another game, the Cyclones deadlocked, 1-1, thanks to a goal by Joel Pepala (Zambia) and assist by Pawel Rychtarczyk (Reavis), and ran the clock out in overtime. Erik Blancas (Chicago Military Academy) kept vigilant at the net, helping the Cyclones win 4-3 in penalty kicks.
The Cyclones played a nail biter on Oct. 11 against conference rival Morton College, but came out with a 5-4 win in overtime.
For 90 minutes both teams fired shots and kept pressing with defense, especially goalkeeper Erik Blancas (Chicago Military Academy) who was busy saving 10. Pawel Rychtarczyk (Reavis) scored twice for the Cyclones while Joel Pepala (Zambia) and Miguel Rivera (Bogan) scored the other two to maintain the tie. Within three minutes of overtime play, Erik Gomez (Eisenhower) scored the winning goal. Erik Quintero (Eisenhower), Rogelio Orozco (Eisenhower), Miguel Rivera (Bogan), and Gomez each had an assist.
For the second time this season the Cyclones have ended a game in a tie, this one coming Oct. 4 against Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference rival College of Lake County.
With 40 seconds left in regulation time, Pawel Rychtarczyk (Reavis) scored the tying goal. The Cyclones played two overtimes, but ended the game in a deadlock at three. Joel Pepala (Zambia) and Alan Ward (Venezuela) scored the other goals in the game with assists by Rogelio Orozco (Eisenhower) and Lukasz Szczesniak (Reavis). The keeper for the match was Danny Mack (Lincoln-Way North).
It was another struggle Oct. 1 for the Cyclones in their 4-1 loss to South Suburban College. The team is now back to .500. Joel Pepala (Zambia) scored the lone goal with an assist by Rogelio Orozco (Eisenhower).
The Cyclones surpassed .500 Sept. 27 with their 4-1 win over Waubonsee Community College.
As they have for nearly every game so far this season, Pawel Rychtarczyk (Reavis) and Joel Pepala (Zambia) scored for the Cyclones along with Alan Ward (Venezuela). Keeper Danny Mack (Lincoln-Way North) held the Chiefs to just one goal.
The Cyclones were in top form Sept. 23 as they outscored Kishwaukee College 6-2 at home. Ryan Butler (Andrew), Matt Prusak (Andrew), Rogelio Orozco (Eisenhower), and Marek Szczesniak (Reavis) each scored a goal while Pawel Rychtarczyk (Reavis) scored twice. Miguel Rivera (Bogan) and Butler provided assists and Joel Pepala (Zambia) had three for the game. Erik Blancas (Chicago Military Academy) was tough in the net, saving seven.
Moraine Valley played regulation time and then some Sept. 20, but ended in a 1-1 deadlock with Elgin Community College. Pawel Rychtarczyk (Reavis) scored the Cyclones goal with an assist by Erik Gomez (Eisenhower). Defensive player Ryan Butler (Andrew) and forward Alan Ward (Venezuela) each got a yellow card during the game.
The Cyclones were scoring maniacs on Sept. 17 when they crushed Daley College 8-1. Joel Pepala (Zambia) scored three times while Pawel Rychtarczyk (Reavis) had two goals and Erik Quintero (Eisenhower) had one. Pepala, Rogelio Orozco (Eisenhower), Ivan Lopez (Argo), and Micah Van Bruggen (Andrew) had assists in the match.
There weren't too many highlights in Moraine Valley's 4-1 loss to Oakton Community College Sept. 13. The Cyclones had an early lead thanks to a goal by Joel Pepala (Zambia), but couldn't stop the Oakton attack. Erik Gomez (Eisenhower) received a red card and will not play in the next game, Sept. 17, against Daley College.
The Cyclones grabbed their first win of the season on Sept. 6, a 5-3 triumph over McHenry County College.
Moraine Valley's offense is starting to click, the passing and possession by the players is looking more solid, and the defense is improving every game. Goals were scored by Pawel Rychtarczyk (Reavis), Miguel Rivera (Bogan), Joel Pepala (Zambia), and Rogelio Orozco (Eisenhower). Erik Blancas (Chicago Military Academy) was strong on goal by saving a penalty kick.
Although the team still needs to work on focus and concentration, they are looking stronger on the field, said coach Chuck Bales. In their next home game, Sept. 13, the Cyclones are looking forward to getting defenders Johnny Rodriguez (Oak Lawn) and David Esparza (Eisenhower) back in the game from injuries.
On an unfavorable field the Cyclones controlled the game and looked good in possession, but couldn't score against College of DuPage in a 4-0 loss on Aug. 27.
Moraine Valley's passing was as good as it could be on a poor field, but the defense struggled. There were missed scoring opportunities and individual errors that cost the game. Combination play in the attacking third needs work but through the midfield and attack the Cyclones looked good, said coach Chuck Bales.
A strong finish to the 2010 season didn't get the Cyclones as far as they wanted, but they are more determined in 2011 to attain those Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference and NJCAA Region IV titles.
Four of the sophomores from the 2010 team graduated and will continue their soccer careers at four-year universities, but all the freshmen returned. After stumbling in the quarter finals last year, coach Chuck Bales and the returners are ready to pick up the momentum from the end of last season. "I think the team from last season felt, rightly so, that we got the shaft by losing 3-3 in penalty kicks in our last game. This year we are committed to getting things right so that we finish the season as strongly as possible," he said.
Bales is counting on the experience and technical skill of his sophomores to reach further in the Region IV tournament this season. Erik Gomez (Eisenhower) will be expected to pick up where he left off and fulfill his potential. "Erik is one of the best players I've ever coached. On the field, in training and in games he works harder than you can imagine. His determination is an inspiration to the rest of the team. He sets the bar very high," Bales said. Zach Dahlman (Andrew) and Miguel Rivera (Bogan) will be returning stronger than ever after red-shirting due to early season injuries in 2010. "Zach and Miguel were sorely missed last season. Their inclusion this year will be one of the biggest reasons why I'm predicting we surpass last season. Third-year sophomores bring a level of experience to a two-year college team that is very rare. On top of that, they are both starters from their previous seasons at Moraine Valley. I'm as excited as they are to have them back for one more season."
One of the key elements to the team this year will be speed and skill. Returning sophomores Lukasz and Marek Szczesniak (Reavis) are two of the quickest, most attack-oriented players to compete at the college. "Lukasz and Marek love playing soccer. You can tell every time they step on the field, be it the game field or training field. They played all summer and are in tip-top shape," their coach said. In midfield, Micah Van Bruggen (Andrew) will be returning after ending last season strongly. "Micah was an unknown for me last season, but his excellent control, passing ability and hard work made it easy for me to pick him in the important games." Two other surprises from 2010 that will continue in 2011 are Seth Veloz (Morton West) and Johnny Rodriguez (Oak Lawn). "Seth and Johnny came on the team last year and were asked to play in a number of positions due to injuries and tactical changes. Each time, they surpassed my expectations with their hard work and excellent play. Both were Jacks-of-All-Trades that could perform at the top level in any position they were asked to play, whether in defense, midfield or forward."
Of course, every team needs a goalkeeper and this season Danny Mack (Lincoln-Way North) returns after getting accustomed to the pace and level of the game as understudy to main keeper Matt Calhoun in 2010. Joining him between the sticks will be freshman Erik Blancas (Chicago Military Academy). Both are expected to compete throughout the season for the starting position.
The squad was strengthened by the addition of several key players from high schools within Moraine Valley's district. Chief among them is Pawel Rychtarczyk (Reavis). "Pawel was the all-time top scorer at Reavis, surpassing former Cyclones and Reavis alums Mario Zubek and Mario Waksmundski," Bales said. "I think he will continue his goal-scoring success at the college level, too." Joining Pawel from Reavis will be stand-out midfielder Edward Vallejo. "Eddie will fit in nicely with our style of play as he's an excellent passer and playmaker- two qualities that are a must."
As usual, Eisenhower High School head soccer coach and Moraine Valley soccer alum Dylan Shaughnessy has made sure a number of his outstanding players make their way to Moraine Valley. David Esparza, Erik Quintero and Rogelio Orozco were all integral to the success of Eisenhower's soccer program over the last four years. Their experience and skill will be an important element to the success of Moraine Valley in 2011. "Dylan recommended each one of these players with glowing accolades, insisting they were key to his success at Eisenhower and that they would be stand-out players at Moraine, too," Bales said.
Also joining the established sophomores and potentially potent freshmen will be Ryan Butler (Andrew) and Joel Pepala (Zambia), a reverse transfer from Eastern Illinois University and Lincoln Land Community College, respectively. Both players have a wealth of experience playing at all levels and are excellent additions to the team.
It's becoming a collaborative effort to prepare the men's soccer team for game time. The Cyclones are joining forces with Moraine Valley's Massage Therapy program and a university sports psychology student pre-season and during the season.
Moraine Valley sports massage therapy students need contact hours, preferably with athletes, to complete their classwork. Athletes match up with massage therapy students who will help the players prevent injuries or help those players who are getting back into the game after healing from an injury.
"We did it last year and had rave reviews. It's a win-win situation for both groups. It helps the students get their hours for working with people with sports-related problems and gives my athletes alternative help with overall health," said head coach Chuck Bales.
The team also will work with a university student who is finishing a degree in sports psychology. She needs 100 practical hours with athletes, and will be fully integrated into the men's soccer team staff for the fall season, Bales said. Players will have group discussion periods with her on Mondays and Wednesdays in the pre-season, and cover five main topics: goal setting, team building, focus and concentration, visualization, and positive self talk. The goal is to create a mental peaking plan for the post season and give them mental skills to use on the field. She will talk to the players in a group setting and set up times to meet with individuals throughout the season.
"I'm very excited because it's an avenue I know our players can benefit from. I don't think any of them have been exposed to this. I think there will be a great return on a minimal investment," Bales said. "We have fantastic athletes. A lot of times it's not the skill that's missing, it's the mental side, like a lack of focus for example."
The men's soccer team is looking for a few good athletes to join the squad for the fall season. Tryouts will be held Monday, August 1, from noon to 2 p.m. on the soccer field, which is on the west side of campus.
Anyone who is interested should show up wearing soccer attire and shin guards. Direct any questions to head coach Chuck Bales at (708) 974-5401.
Season Record: 9-5-2
All-Region IV first team:
Erik Gomez (Eisenhower)
Season Record: 9-6-1
All-Region first team:
Jorge Flores (Argo) and Erik Gomez (Eisenhower)
*Denotes Conference Game
October 25, 2010
The men's soccer team ended their 2010 season in a thrilling NJCAA Region IV quarter-final game, culminating a solid year of big wins and award-winning athletes.
The Cyclones played their final game Oct. 23 against one of the perennial powerhouses in the NJCAA, College of DuPage. Unfortunately, the decision did not fall in favor of Moraine Valley. Leading 3-1 with 20 minutes to go- thanks to a hat-trick by sophomore forward Mostafa Abdelrahman (Oak Lawn)- the Cyclones gave up two late goals to finish regulation time in a 3-3 tie. The overtime period proved fruitless for both teams pushing the match into penalty kicks, which the Chaparrals won 5-3. "This final game summed up the season for the team- thrilling, at times unbeatable, able to score almost at-will, yet vulnerable in defense," said coach Chuck Bales.
The level of competition in the NJCAA Region IV is the highest in the nation and is a real fight to the end to reach the championship every year, Bales said. Each year there are five to six teams vying to advance, and Moraine Valley is always in the top group due to the quality players that come from the college district and surrounding area.
Several of those athletes from this season's crop of Cyclones were honored for their skills on the field. All-Region IV first team honors went to captain Jorge Flores (Argo) and Erik Gomez (Eisenhower) while Mario Waksmundzki (Reavis) received second team honors. Luis Montoya (Eisenhower), Flores, Gomez, and Waksmundzki were named to the All-Conference first team with second team honors going to Luis Cajero (Eisenhower) and Christian Boyle (Sandburg).
Despite the brief post-season, the Cyclones were over .500 with a 9-6-1 overall record. The team finished second in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference with a record of 5-2. Where the team really stood apart from the rest of the field was in goal scoring thanks to a core group of players including sophomores Waksmundzki with a team-high 18 goals and three assists, and Abdelrahman, who had six goals and one assist, and freshmen Gomez with 10 goals and two assists, as well as Jonathan Rodriguez (Oak Lawn) with seven goals and six assists. The team scored an astounding 73 goals in 16 games, two games in which they collectively scored 25. They led the region in goals with 34 in 10 games and led the conference with 30 goals. There were, however, a handful of games where the Cyclones were shut out. "In the end, the old saying that 'attack wins games but defense wins championships' proved prescient," Bales said.
October 24, 2010
Ending their season far too early, the Cyclones lost in penalty kicks to College of DuPage Oct. 23 in the quarter-finals. Mostafa Abdelrahman (Oak Lawn) scored all three goals with one assist by Christian Boyle (Sandburg). Moraine Valley was up 3-2 until the Chapparals tied it with 46 seconds to go and eventually pushed the game to penalty kicks. "We should've won. We had a dozen chances to score. Once it goes to penalty kicks, it's like the toss of coin," said coach Chuck Bales.
October 21, 2010
In their first round of post-season play, the Cyclones defeated Daley College 5-1 on Oct. 20. Mario Waksmundzki (Reavis) had two goals while Christian Boyle (Sandburg), Mostafa Abdelrahman (Oak Lawn) and Lukasz Szczesniak (Reavis) each scored one. Jonathan Rodriguez (Oak Lawn), Erik Gomez (Eisenhower), Jorge Flores (Argo), and Micah Van Bruggen (Andrew) each helped out with assists.
October 18, 2010
In one last regular season match, the Cyclones came up short, losing 4-2 to South Suburban College on Oct. 16. Micah Van Bruggen (Andrew) and Jonathan Rodriguez (Oak Lawn) scored the goals with assists by Luis Montoya (Eisenhower) and Jorge Flores (Argo).
October 13, 2010
The Cyclones recorded their third straight win Oct. 12 after defeating conference rival Prairie State College 3-1. Jorge Flores (Argo) and Mario Waksmundzki (Reavis) each netted goals with assists by Micah Van Bruggen (Andrew). Erik Gomez (Eisenhower) scored on a penalty kick.
October 10, 2010
October 9, 2010
October 6, 2010
Moraine Valley suffered a tough 1-0 loss to conference foe Morton College Oct. 5 after totally dominating and outplaying the Panthers. The Cyclones struggled to put the ball past the goalkeeper.
October 4, 2010
The Cyclones kept Aurora University JV at bay Oct. 3 by tying the match 2-2. Marek Szczesniak (Reavis) assisted with a goal by Mario Waksmundzki (Reavis). Erik Gomez (Eisenhower) tied the game with a penalty kick.
September 30, 2010
The Cyclones had an offensive boost after they went in to overtime with Kishwaukee College Sept. 29, and pulled out a 5-4 win at home. Mario Waksmundzki (Reavis) and Johnny Rodriguez (Oak Lawn) each scored two goals while Luis Montoya (Eisenhower) topped it off with a fifth goal. Rodriguez also had an assist.
September 29, 2010
September 22, 2010
After losing some close games this season, the Cyclones fell into a scoring rhythm, blanking Waubonsee Community College 12-0 in their match Sept. 21.
The Cyclones jumped back to form with a 3-2 win over Elgin Community College Sept. 14. Mario Waksmundzki (Reavis) scored two goals and the third one was accidentally scored by the Spartans.
The Cyclones had a rough and tumble outing with Truman College Sept. 11, losing in overtime 5-4. Collectively both teams accounted for three red cards.
The Cyclones endured another tough defeat, losing 3-0 to Oakton Community College on Sept. 7. The Raiders played directly and kept pushing forward, which has hampered the Cyclones early on this season. With aggressive pressure, the Cyclones struggled to get a handle on the ball and score.
The Cyclones fought the wind and a tough defense in their 2-1 loss to College of DuPage Sept. 3. Sophomore Miguel Rivera (Bogan) scored the lone goal in a solid shot. Wind was the culprit in aiding the Chapparals' first goal.
The Cyclones dominated McHenry County College with a 6-2 win at their home opener August 31. Mario Waksmundzki (Reavis) had a standout game with four goals while Erik Gomez (Eisenhower) scored the other two.
busy and successful 2009 season that included competition in Italy, the men's
soccer team is ready to maximize their potential and progress even deeper in the
Region IV tournament in 2010.
soccer team is looking for a few good men to join the squad for the fall season.
Tryouts will be held Sunday, August 1, from 10 a.m. to noon on the soccer practice fields, which are just northwest of
the game field on the west side of campus.
Season Record: 15-4-1
All-Region first team: Jose
Alonso (Whitney Young) and Eric Garcia (Bogan)
*Denotes Conference Game
October 30, 2009
There were great highs with a nine-game winning streak, stellar play and trip to Italy, and the low of losing in the semi-finals. But the men's soccer team played well all season long to the bitter end, culminating with a superb 15-4-1 season record.
The Cyclones ended their season Oct. 28 with a disappointing 2-1 loss against Morton College. There were chances to win, but Moraine Valley could not get the ball in the net.
"I think we were good enough to go all the way to the finals. We had the team to go further. We just couldn't make it happen," said coach Chuck Bales. "The guys did everything they could during the game, but just couldn't get the ball past Morton."
At the onset of the season the Cyclones played well, even brilliant at times. The squad was deep with 12 sophomores and several stellar freshmen. From Oct. 8 to 17 just 16 soccer players were able to join Moraine Valley's women's volleyball team in Milan, Italy, to compete in the World Interuniversity Games and perform an environmental service project. The end of the season saw more players with fatigue, players out of certain games after receiving red cards and being affected by sloppy field conditions.
"We had a really great season except for the very end. A lot of players got meaningful minutes in games, we went to Italy for a week in between the regular season and a lot of freshman played good soccer. Everyone played well. It's hard to just pick out a few standouts. Each player rose to the challenge and stepped up when needed," Bales said. "I look forward to those freshmen returning next year for an outstanding season."
October 19, 2009
Class and stellar playing sums up the men's soccer experience at the World Interuniversity Games in Milan, Italy, Oct. 12-16. The team has played overseas in international competition on two other occasions in the last four years.
The Cyclones started their competition against a team from Finland, winning 2-1. They went on to win 2-1 against the Milan team, followed by a 3-0 loss against Iran and a 0-0 tie with Belgium. Moraine Valley qualified for the quarterfinals meaning they had to play last year's champion, University of Nancy from France. In a tough battle the Cyclones fell 7-2 to France, who eventually won the tournament. Because of their overall competitiveness and attitude during the tournament, the Cyclones were given the Fair Play Award.
"Our only two losses were against the two teams that played in the final of the tournament," said coach Chuck Bales. "The soccer team performed excellently in Italy. They showed their true class both on and off the field. I'm sure that each one of them had the experience of a lifetime. Now we are ready to continue our run of form in the NJCAA Region IV tournament."
August 31, 2009
June 10, 2009
Season Record: 5-7-3
All-Region IV second team: Jose Alonso (Whitney Young), Miguel Enciso (Reavis) and Eric Garcia (Bogan)
All-Conference honors: Mark Hermann (Andrew), Christian Marquez (Argo), Alonso, Enciso and Garcia
*Denotes Conference Game
Nov. 3, 2008
August 29, 2008
Season Record: 10-3-1
of the Year: Takuya Mamada (Japan)