Seniors aim to set program record for wins with Freeport boys soccer
The last four years have been historic for Freeport boys soccer, and the program is at a point where it is as healthy as it’s ever been, but there’s still more it wants to accomplish.
The eight graduated seniors set a new standard with 48 wins, a program record for one class, a section championship for the first time in 17 years two seasons ago and three consecutive postseason appearances.
But a third-place finish in Section 2-2A last year and bitter first-round exit in the postseason for the second straight year have the current group of seniors -- led by tri-captains Stevie Teorsky, Tanner Hoscheid and Brock Loevlie -- hungry.
They want to keep the program ascending in the right direction by regaining the section title and getting over the playoff hump.
“Coming into my freshman year, it was a big step up from where the program had been, and this year this class has the chance to become the winningest class that Freeport has even seen,” Stevie Teorsky said. “To achieve that would be huge, and we obviously want to go farther than we have in the past in the postseason, as well.”
The seniors need 11 wins to surpass the benchmark set by last year’s class, which is one of the goals on the list.
Freeport hasn’t advanced past the first round in the playoffs each of the last three years, including a 6-1 loss to Riverside last year in which the Yellowjackets surrendered five second-half goals. They saw a second-half lead slip away against Beaver in the first round two years ago and lost 3-2.
Neither one is a pleasant memory, but they are motivators.
“We’re proud that we’ve elevated the program, but we don’t feel like we’ve accomplished what we feel we can accomplish,” Freeport coach Dave Teorsky said. “We’re all working toward trying to get better and hit new goals each and every year.”
The Yellowjackets return five starters and depth in each third of the field. Hunter Hardin, a junior and the team’s second-leading scorer last season, is back as an attacking midfield/striker. Senior Braden Change, who coach Teorsky, called an “extremely versatile player,” has been paired up top with Hardin. Luke Haider, a junior, slots in a goalkeeper.
Then there’s Teorsky, Lovelie and Hoscheid, who anchor the middle of the defense as the center backs and center defensive midfielder. They’re tasked with limiting scoring chances in the box and have been effective in the past. They helped pitch five shutouts and allowed two or fewer goals in all but one section game last season.
“Stevie is definitely the most vocal, but we all communicate well,” Hoscheid said. “We’re basically a triangle, and we have to work together to limit the opportunities.”
Dave Teorsky praised all of his returning starters for their work ethic in the offseason and commitment to improving. Several underclassmen vying for starting spots have impressed in camp, including Danny Lynch, a junior who’s been playing at center attacking midfielder.
The meshing process with new starters has been smooth for the returners because they’ve all shared a field at one point in time.
“I know most of these kids, because we’ve been playing together since we were like 6,” Loevlie said. “We have a really good bond, and I think we’re even closer as a team this year.”
Last year, Mt. Pleasant ran the table to take the Section 2 title after finishing fourth the previous year. Deer Lakes placed second, one game ahead of Freeport, and Shady Side Academy took the final playoff spot. Derry, Burrell and Valley make up the rest of Section 2.
“A few years ago we could kind of sneak in on teams with the way our record was and maybe they weren’t sure of our style of play, but I told our club that we aren’t sneaking in on anyone anymore,” Dave Teorsky said. “Everyone gives us a good game, and we certainly hope to give them a good game, as well.”