Marmion’s Flynn Collins is saddened that his senior season was cut short, but missing the soccer field is only part of the Batavia resident’s struggles these days.
Collins, whose jaw was broken in two places in a collision during last Thursday’s match at St. Charles East, attempted to return to school for the first time Wednesday, but his day was cut short when the pain became too much. He’s on a liquid diet for the foreseeable future after undergoing a four-hour procedure on Saturday at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield.
“I feel lighter,” Collins said in a muffled but understandable voice. “If I was trying to lose weight, it’d be perfect. The weirdest thing I’ve had to grind up so far was chicken pot pie, and that was disgusting.”
Collins’ morale was raised by visits from teammates and coach Ricky Del Toro to show their support. Collins – who already had 15 goals on the season and helped set up several others – said the Cadets are not a one-man team, and predicted they’ll still be a squad “to be reckoned with.”
Since losing Collins, Marmion tied Glenbard North and beat Aurora Central Catholic.
“It’s tough to lose him but the boys had a great attitude for the next game, for the third-place game against Glenbard North [on Saturday],” Del Toro said. “ … We made a couple adjustments, especially with Jake Hutchison. We actually tried Jake Hutchison in Flynn’s position up top as a striker, and we like what he’s given us. He’s providing speed – not as much as Flynn – but providing speed. He’s very physical, and he can finish.”
Collins, a senior, slid in to try and steal a pass before East goalkeeper Mike Novotny could corral it, but the two collided; Collins said he thinks Novotny’s “knee or shin caught me under the jaw.”
Novotny suffered a partial ligament tear in his left ankle and a deep bone bruise from the collision but is expected to return to action later this month.
Collins won’t even be able to run for several months, but said several of the colleges that have expressed recruiting interest in him remain in contact.
“They knew the kind of player I am and the kind of person I am, so they’re still pretty interested,” Collins said. “They’ve offered their support and whatever I needed, so that’s pretty reassuring that the colleges I’m looking at are good choices and good schools with good people in them, so I’m pretty happy about that.”
Vikings tired of need for ‘scrub’ job
Geneva coach Ryan Estabrook acknowledged after Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to St. Charles East that it’s “no fun” losing as many matches as the Vikings have this season.
Geneva fell to 5-8 overall and 0-4 in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division with the loss as part of the Tri-Cities showcase doubleheader.
“I think there’s been quite a few games this year where we’ve said scrub this play, erase that play, and this game is entirely different,” Estabrook said.
Noting that sectional seeding takes place this week, Estabrook realizes the Vikings likely will be saddled with a so-so seed, but he contends the Vikings’ record is misleading considering the strength of schedule Geneva has played.
“People might think based on our record that we’re a pretty substandard team but teams are having a great season that are knocking us off,” Estabrook said. “We just can’t seem to turn that corner.”
Generating offense has been a struggle for much of the season, though French exchange student Igor Honore is doing his part to inject some lift into the Vikings’ attack. Against East on Tuesday, Honore put three shots on frame in a condensed span late in the first half. He then attempted another shot that was well off target before asking to be substituted out, apparently fatigued.
“He’s like a wild stallion without a saddle on him,” Estabrook said. “He’s got tremendous potential, he can do some great things, but he’s still learning the American game, and his endurance isn’t the best still, so we can only use him in spurts. However, he does add a different dimension to the game, and we like to get him out there whenever we can.”
Solid backup plan
St. Charles North coach Eric Willson praised the play of sophomore backup goalkeeper Kevin Sabres, who held Batavia to one goal in Tuesday’s 1-0 Bulldogs win. Sabres played instead of usual North starter Billy Larsen, who was ill.
“The good news for us in that situation is we’ve got a kid with Kevin who, I thought, he did a nice job [Tuesday], and made a couple of nice saves,” Willson said. “He was a solid keeper.
“He didn’t get to play any minutes as a freshman until the regional final against St. Charles East last year. That was kind of throwing him in with the wolves. He’s gotten some more minutes varsity-wise this year, and I think he’s given us really good minutes. He’s matured as a goalkeeper in just his one year. I’m really happy with what I’ve seen from Kevin.”
– Jay Schwab, firstname.lastname@example.org
IN THE GROOVE
Sean Fitzgerald, Burlington Central, Sr., M/F
What he did: Fitzgerald blistered Marengo for five goals on Monday as Burlington Central cruised past the Indians, 8-1.
What it did: Batavia’s 1-0 win against St. Charles North on Tuesday gave the Bulldogs four shutouts wins in their last five games, the others coming against Geneva, Larkin and Wheaton Warrenville South.
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LAST WEEK
The Tri-Cities rivals can come together for a good cause.
According to Batavia coach Mark Gianfrancesco, Tuesday’s Tri-Cities doubleheader helped raise $3,500 for the Owen Payton Foundation, supporting the family of a 7-year-old boy in need of a heart transplant. That total also includes money raised through a bake sale by the Batavia girls soccer team and at a St. Charles North girls volleyball match.
WHAT WE’LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD
Whether St. Charles East can solve Streamwood’s defense the second time around.
East and Streamwood played to a scoreless tie Saturday in the championship match of the Saints’ home tournament, and the Sabres return to Norris Stadium today for what shapes up as a crucial match in the Upstate Eight Conference race.
COACH SLY SAYS
Geneva and St. Charles North are both going through uncharacteristically tough seasons, and both teams lost their matches at Tuesday night’s Tri-Cities twin bill.
Part of the deal in sports is continuing to bust your butt when things aren’t going to plan. If both teams are able to do that despite the mounting frustration, all involved can walk off the pitch with their heads held high when the season is through.