Head Coach: Todd Hartong
Head Coaching History: 11th year (82-77-19)
At Woodridge: 3rd year (21-12-3)
Assistant Coach: Andrew Spencer
2017 Record: 8-9-1 (7-0-0 PTC Metro)
Returning Lettermen (9): Seniors Dante Arstone, Aiden Hartong, Tanner Laughorn, Reese Riffey, Alex Schertz, Nolan Spencer; juniors Manning Thiel, Ben Rado; sophomore Kalo Armoutliev
Lettermen Lost (8): Justice Fair, Chandler Kline, Zach Kumar, Manny Sese, Walter Sterling, Nick Tomic, Devin Vanyo, AJ Wojcik
Promising Newcomers: Nathan Dunaj, Mike Ritch
The winners of four straight league titles, the Bulldogs have long had a target on their back.
During its run, Woodridge has replaced plenty of big scorers, including Woodridge Athletic Hall of Famers Matt Tannous, who made first team All-PTC three times, and Caleb Whitaker, a two-time PTC Player of the Year. Now, the Bulldogs have to replace Zach Kumar, who scored 10 goals and five assists in 2017; A.J. Wojcik, who had eight goals and four assists; and Justice Fair, who had four goals and four assists.
While the Bulldogs are inexperienced up front, they should be very solid in back, returning a pair of top-line center backs, a strong keeper and a very experienced midfield.
"We will once again have the goal of winning a fifth consecutive PTC title and the seniors at center back and center mid will be our strength," Hartong said. "We have a larger group of role players coming up from the JV ranks who need to figure out how to contribute at the varsity level. If a number of them are successful in this transition, we should be a very competitive team."
Woodridge’s biggest question mark is up front, with an entirely new trio. Senior Dante Arstone missed 2017 with an ACL tear, while junior Josh Fleming and sophomore Nathan Dunaj have to make the adjustment from junior varsity to varsity.
The Bulldogs have plenty of experience in their midfield with a four-year letterman in Aiden Hartong, a three-year letterman in Nolan Spencer and a two-year letterman in Reese Riffey. Hartong led the 2017 Bulldogs with six assists.
The Woodridge back line is a mix of old and new.
The Bulldogs return their two center backs from last year — senior Alex Schertz, first-team All-PTC in 2017, and Tanner Laughorn, who also kicks for the football team and is a talented tennis player. They’ll be joined by newcomer Mike Ritch as well as the versatile Manning Thiel.
"(Manning) will be asked to play virtually every position this year," Hartong said. "His performance will very much affect ours."
Junior Ben Rado returns after posting a 1.42 GAA last season with 46 saves.