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Preview story: Warren wants to continue roll, Lake Forest hopes to start one

By Bobby Narang, 05/02/24, 2:15PM CDT

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Warren junior All-State forward Addison Stanciak noticed a turning point in the middle of April.

The Blue Devils were on a roll entering their North Suburban Conference home game against Libertyville.

The visiting Wildcats, who earned a Class 3A state third place trophy last season, came into the key league game looking to start a new streak after losing three of their last four games.

Libertyville posted a sharp 3-0 victory April 16 and hasn’t looked back with its current 5-0-1 unbeaten streak.

Stanciak said her team benefitted from the tough home loss. Since then the Blue Devils (10-5-1, 3-1-1) are on their own unbeaten streak (4-0-1) which they carry into tonight’s 6:45 p.m. home game against Lake Forest (4-7-0, 2-3-0). Warren, the no. 22 team in the Chicagoland Soccer Top 25, has scored 11 goals in its last two games.

“I think our team learned to work together through hardships,” Stanciak said. “We had to keep our mindset positive and hard working to focus on the next play. This team has grown so much these last few weeks. We’re figuring out how to play together and how to play as a whole. It’s making us that much better. I anticipate we will keep trending up as the season goes on.”

Warren coach Ryan McCabe credited solid chemistry and teamwork for his team’s strong season.

“I think we have been playing at a high level since spring break. The Libertyville game was the exception to that,” he said. “I think a lot of our growth has come because we are learning each other’s tendencies and understanding the best way to play together. I think our growth is also a result of the players setting expectations for themselves and the team and then working to hold each other accountable. Our team culture and mentality have improved which leads to better soccer.”

Lake Forest’s Ty Stuckslager knows there’s often a fine line between a victory and a defeat. As his Class AA Scouts are battling to reach the .500 level, the coach is aiming for an upset road victory.

“We’re improving all the time, although in a couple of games we break down collectively in the last 20 minutes,” he said. “We’ve been in every game through the first 60 minutes and are looking to improve our physical and mental stamina to play complete games.”

Lake Forest, which posted an 11-8-3 record last season, suffered a 2-0 defeat to the Blue Devils last season. Stuckslager said he’s waiting for his team to reach their full potential after suffering heavy graduation losses. Stopping Stanciak, who has seven goals and four assists in the last five games, is crucial for the Scouts.

“The keys to beating Warren are limiting their opportunities and working quickly to remedy the situation after making a mistake,” he said. “We also need to work on improving our communication skills, work collectively on being 100 percent on offense or defense. We have tremendous potential that hasn't been seen yet for a full game.

“Eva Walsh and Caroline Kaiser have been working hard all over the field. They set the bar high for the rest of the team. (All-state keeper) Sarah Constantine has come up big in just about every game, incredibly stopping some sure-goals.”

Warren (10-5-1, 3-1-1) has to stick to its game plan to knock off the Scouts according to Stanciak.

“I think the keys to beating Lake Forest are exploiting their weaknesses and keeping energy, communication and intensity up,” Stanciak said. “This has been a main focus for us this season, and it has been working well. I believe it will continue working our favor.”

The teams meet at 6:45 p.m. Thursday.