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The five departures, however, were the entire back line and goalkeeper, including a pair of three-year starters. Although the defense will be green, Cappello said that practice reps against Melick and Walsh have sped up the development.
“When they get to defend some athletes like that day in and day out at practice it helps bring them up to speed, and they’ve been doing a good job,” Cappello said. “We have a nice group of kids that are competing to start back there this year that are pushing one another to get there. We feel pretty good that we’ll have a back line that’s pretty sorted out by the time we get into the season here.”
Expected to lead the charge against Jacobs for the FVC title is Dundee-Crown and the area’s other most dangerous striker: Julian Ajroja. Ajroja, speedy and capable of playing up top or out wide, bagged 19 goals and 10 assists last season for a Dundee-Crown team that took second in the FVC (6-2), handed Jacobs its only conference loss, went 13-9-1 overall and won its first regional title.
Even beyond the top two teams, however, there should be a deep pack chasing with teams such as Crystal Lake South, Huntley, McHenry and Prairie Ridge, who had ups and downs last year, but bring back some contributors and will have more experience than last year.