Boys Soccer: Four Redhawks sign with Division I teams
BY STEVE NEMETH For Sun-Times Media February 6, 2013 7:18PM
Naperville Central goal keeper Mike Pavliga, shown making a stop against Stevenson during last year’s state semifinals, has signed to play with Northern Illinois. | Brett roseman~SUN-TIMES MEDIA
Updated: March 10, 2013 6:10AM
Having played vital roles in back-to-back Class 3A runner-up finishes in boys soccer, it’s not surprising to see four Naperville Central players signing National Letters of Intent Wednesday to play for Division I programs hungry for a return to NCAA success.
The Redhawk quartet of Mike Pavliga (Northern Illinois), Pat Flynn (DePaul), Jack Patrick (Eastern Illinois) and Connor Allen (Marshall) are among eight Naperville soccer players who will continue at the next level.
Pavliga, the Naperville Sun’s Player of the Year, was signed by Northern Illinois coach Eric Luzzi, who wants to fill a void at goalie after the Huskies fell short of consecutive NCAA appearances, losing the Mid-American Conference Championship to perennial power Akron. NIU senior keeper Jordan Godsey, blanked Akron for 72 minutes in that title game before the Zips won 2-0 to end a career that saw him rank 13th in NCAA history for career shutouts.
“There are elements of Mike’s play that reminded me of Jordan, and whether it’s him or (2012 backup) Miles (Herbert), there are some big shoes to fill. When he came on his visit, he and his family impressed me as the type of quality people we want in our program. He’s an awesome kid,” Luzzi said. “He has the pure shot-stopping ability that can’t be taught, plus he’s got the kind of keeper muscles put together by God that no amount of soccer training can account for.”
Benet could potentially be providing a goalie for another NCAA tradition-rich Division I program with Kyle Dal Santo signing with Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. His Redwing teammate Brad Bozych joins another D-I program in American University.
Naperville North’s Joe Sullivan made his early commitment official to Bowling Green State.
Waubonsie Valley’s Tim Miller decided on a career with Division II Bellarmine in Kentucky.