ROCHELLE — Expectations were high as the Rochelle boys soccer team looked to follow up the most successful season in school history this fall. While the Hubs fell short of their championship goals, the team finished with a positive record for the fourth year in a row, and the team will have the majority of its roster back for next season.
Rochelle went 13-8 this fall, placing third in the War on 34 Championship before finishing fourth in the Interstate 8 Conference Championship and bowing out in the IHSA 2A Regional Semifinals against Kaneland. Senior Max Torres (26 goals and 13 assists) headlined the Hubs on offense, while senior Austin Brown (10 assists and 19 saves) showcased his versatility by playing in the midfield, on defense and in goal.
“I was pleased with our progression toward the end of the season,” head coach Brad Male said. “I’m looking forward to next season and hopefully we’ll have a lot of young players coming back. They earned a lot of experience this year and I hope they can carry that experience over into next season.”
Junior Brayan Orozco turned in another stellar season, finishing with a team-high 31 goals and adding six assists. He’ll be flanked next year by sophomore brother Josue Orozco, who recorded 12 goals and eight assists despite missing a chunk of the season. Junior Juan Cincire (three goals and three assists) is an early candidate to step up at forward next year.
The Hubs will return most of their starting midfielders including juniors Josh Hurtado (six assists) and Zane Walters, who totaled a team-leading 19 assists and seven goals for Rochelle. Senior Carlos Nambo (four assists) will be one of the few Hubs departing from the midfield.
“I thought the boys were looking for each other more often and we played more of a passing game where we were always looking for the open player,” Male said. “We got our shots off a little better and I thought we were where we wanted to be offensively by the end of the year.”
Senior Alexis Quintanilla (56 saves) will be vacating the net after this season, creating an opportunity for freshman Jarett Milan (49 saves) to be the starting keeper next year. Senior Gyvanziel Quinonez will be the only starting defender leaving the program, as junior Damian Salinas and sophomores Ethan Tooley and Bryce Whitehead are all slated to return.
“We worked some players in defensively who hadn’t been in that position before,” Male said. “I thought they progressed very nicely and they continued to communicate together. We were a lot stronger defensively at the end of the season than we were at the beginning.”