Inability to score looms large over boys soccer season

MHS+clashed+with+conference+rival+Lake+Zurich+at+home+in+a+game+on+October+13th.+The+Mustangs+ended+up+defeating+the+Bears+in+a+nail-bitter+3-2+thinks+to+two+goals+in+the+second+half.+Photo+taken+by+Sophia+Fiore.+
MHS clashed with conference rival Lake Zurich at home in a game on October 13th. The Mustangs ended up defeating the Bears in a nail-bitter 3-2 thinks to two goals in the second half. Photo taken by Sophia Fiore.

MHS clashed with conference rival Lake Zurich at home in a game on October 13th. The Mustangs ended up defeating the Bears in a nail-bitter 3-2 thinks to two goals in the second half. Photo taken by Sophia Fiore.

MHS clashed with conference rival Lake Zurich at home in a game on October 13th. The Mustangs ended up defeating the Bears in a nail-bitter 3-2 thinks to two goals in the second half. Photo taken by Sophia Fiore.

Carson Beck, Assistant Sports Editor

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   The boys soccer team had three goals this season: to win the North Suburban Conference, to win regionals and to win state.

   Although the team fell short of meeting these goals with an overall season record of 9-7-3, the coach and players said the team held its own in a competitive conference.

   “Our key wins this year were all of our conference wins this season. We are in one of the most competitive soccer conferences in the state,” said head soccer coach Ernie Billittier. “Most teams in our conference compete well and usually make a good run in the playoffs.”

   During the regular season in conference play, the soccer team was one win away from winning its first ever North Suburban Conference title in a game against Libertyville High School on Tuesday, Sept. 26. The team lost to Libertyville 2-1.

   The team was also one win away in the postseason from making a back-to-back sectional appearance and becoming regional champions. The Mustangs defeated Lake Zurich Bears 4-3 on Tuesday, Oct. 17, in the first round of regionals at Libertyville High School. However, the Mustangs lost 6-0 in the second round of regionals to their conference rivals the Libertyville Wildcats on Saturday, Oct. 21.

   Some players said a more set starting rotation at the beginning of the season would have led to more success.

   “Early on, we were struggling to figure out substitution rotations and find out who the starters were,” said senior Kenneth Adiyah. “Later on, we got into the groove of things, and we had a lot of valuable players come off the bench and give us quality minutes.”

   Another challenge early on in the season was scoring.

   “Putting the ball in the back of the net was a struggle,” said senior Josue Infante. “Even with this struggle, we were still able to compete with the higher-level teams.”

One reason the players said they remained competitive was because of the coaching. Head Coach Billittier is a former MHS soccer player, and players recognize that much of his coaching style draws on his past soccer experiences.

“Coach understands from a player’s point of view and understands the whole system,” said sophomore Camden Kowalski.  “He played in college for [University of Massachusetts], and he helps out a lot because he knows the system and how to help better how we play the game.”

With these experiences this year, coach Billittier said he remains optimistic for the future of the soccer program. Despite losing 15 seniors to graduation, Billittier still holds his current seven juniors and one sophomore to the same winning expectations and goals.

“My expectations for this team with a lot of young players coming back are simple, to win,” said Billittier. “We need to win games and hopefully win Mundelein its first ever North Suburban Conference title.”

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Inability to score looms large over boys soccer season