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Boys Soccer: Stagg recharged for a run at the top

Key performers for Stagg include (from left) senior defender Sean Runyjunior goalie Erick Estradsenior forward BeTorres. | Steve Millar~For Sun-Times

Key performers for Stagg include (from left) senior defender Sean Runyon, junior goalie Erick Estrada and senior forward Beto Torres. | Steve Millar~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 29, 2013 6:09AM



Stagg senior Beto Torres has been a standout player since his freshman year.

The dangerous forward was a key member of Chargers squads that won a sectional title in 2010 and advanced to the sectional finals in 2011.

Last year, though, Torres played in just four games because of hamstring and groin injuries. The Chargers had a fine campaign without him — winning their fourth straight SouthWest Suburban Red title — but the loss certainly was felt and Stagg failed to get out of regionals.

Now Torres is back healthy and hungry for a big season.

“I’ve been working all summer for this,” he said. “It’s my senior year, and I want to make the most of it, unlike last year. I think we have a really strong team and it’s going to be a good year.”

His teammates certainly are glad to have him back.

“It was a big blow not having him,” goalie Erick Estrada said. “He does a good job positioning the midfielders and he’s just a well-rounded player. With him back, we can pass through the seams a lot easier. Our finishing’s good and our defense is good, too.”

Estrada, a junior, has started in goal since his freshman year.

“He’s made some saves in practice that have just made us all turn and go, ‘Wow,’ ” Stagg coach Mike Kealy said. “Having him back there helps our entire team so much.”

Kealy is counting on Torres and Estrada as well as senior defenders Sean Runyon and Sebastian Kolpak and forward Phil Kolesinski for leadership.

“Kolpak is 6-foot-4 and Kolesinski is a 6-foot-2 target up top,” Kealy said. “We have some size, and we’re hoping to be good in the air.

“I think the most important things are leadership and team chemistry. If you have that and a little luck, who knows how far you can go.”

The Chargers have the drive to go along with the talent. Losing in regionals last season was bad enough, but falling to rival Sandburg, which went on to finish third in the state, in a 1-0 tussle? That certainly left a bitter taste in their mouths.

“My personal goal this year is to beat Sandburg first off,” Runyon said. “After that, we want to go as far as we can and get to state.”

The Chargers will move to the SouthWest Suburban Blue this season, switching places with Lincoln-Way East because of enrollment changes.

“Making the move is exciting,” Kealy said. “It’s another challenge. We won four straight championships on the other side, so if we can at least win one and go from there, that’d be great.

“We’re motivated and we’re hoping to make this another historic year.”



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