Top five: Potential postseason X-factors

Each week, sports editor Zack Carpenter provides a top-five list in different categories of sports, movies or music. This week, he offers up five potential area X-factor players who could make a big impact this postseason.

Andrew Ferguson

Fisher/GCMS soccer

After watching the flyin’ freshman do just that on Saturday — that is, fly all around the field — I’ve got a gut feeling he’s going to make a big play come regional time. Ferguson seemed like a non-stop burst of energy challenging every Bloomington Cornerstone possession with fire. Hopefully for Ferguson, his coaches and teammates, that was a harbinger of things to come — not just in the team’s rematch in the regional Oct. 11 but also during the next three years.

Jeremy Steidinger

Fisher/GCMS soccer

The senior was understandably emotional, as was goalkeeper Ethan Kasper, following the heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Cornerstone. Steidinger, a key defender and perhaps one of the best in the area, and Kasper probably thought they shouldered some of the blame for allowing the Cyclones’ last-minute game-winner. Some reassurance: it’s not your fault. It was an absolutely beautiful pass, and some luck was involved with the ball bouncing perfectly  off the grass. Time to forget about it and move on as the rematch quickly approaches.

Tessa Van Ostrand

Armstrong-Potomac volleyball

Van Ostrand’s coach, Candy Franzen, raved about the senior’s play of late following a win over Chrisman, saying, “Her defense and her ability to stay focused is pretty cool. ... She’s really filled a defensive role for us and uses her ‘spidey-senses’ to see what’s a smart play sometimes, which has been very big for her because she used to just get up there and whale on the ball. It’s fun to see her transform into a smart, aggressive player.” Van Ostrand and Destiny Fitzsimmons are two unheralded players worth keeping an eye on.

Nick Harness

Fisher football

As Andy Reid once said, “You’re only as good as your offensive line.” (I don’t think Reid actually ever said that, but I wanted to give a shoutout to the second-best coach in the NFL). So, sorry Nick, I’m not just giving you praise. Dawson Purvis, KJ Patton, Harness, Tanner Diorio and Andrew Zook will all play an integral role if the Bunnies reach the playoffs. They want to run it down other team’s throats, and it all starts with the big boys up front.

Martin Sebastian

Rantoul soccer

Unfortunately for the Eagles, they were a dealt a severely tough first-round draw, matching up with host and No. 2 seed Mahomet-Seymour in the semifinals of the Class 2A M-S Regional. But the freshman Sebastian has been playing very well of late, coming up and getting more varsity burn after strutting his stuff at the junior varsity level. Sebastian and Reyes Hernandez could be the future of the Eagles’ program.

Contact Zack Carpenter at zcarpenter@rantoulpress.com and on Twitter @ZCarp11.

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