On May 3, 2012, St. Rita Athletic Director and Varsity Head Baseball Coach, Mike Zunica was joined by family, friends and colleagues at the 52nd Annual Hall of Fame Induction Banquet of the Chicago Catholic League. Zunica was one of fifteen men honored by the Chicago Catholic League Coaches Association for their contributions to academic and athletic excellence within Chicago Catholic high school athletics
Coach Mike Zunica is currently entering his 16th season as Varsity Head Baseball Coach at St. Rita High School. He has amassed an overall record of 440 – 141. During his tenure, he has lead the Mustangs to 9 regional championships, 4 sectional championships, 4 super-sectional championships, and 9 Elite 8 appearances, including summer state championships in 2005 and 2009, and a 2nd place finish in both the spring of 2009 and 2010.
In addition to their success on the field, the St. Rita Mustangs Baseball team is proud of their comparable achievements in the classroom. This year’s Varsity Mustangs have 17 student members of the National Honor Society. During Mike’s tenure as head baseball coach, he has witnessed four members of his team earn the distinction of Class Valedictorian. St. Rita principal, Brendan Conroy said, “We are fortunate to have a baseball coach and athletic director like Mike, whose passion for St. Rita and commitment to the growth and improvement of his athletes and all our students is truly an inspiration.”
“I believe the greatest gift you can give your kid is a Catholic education,” said Zunica, who gave special thanks to his parents for the sacrifices they made to send him to Catholic schools. Zunica’s wife, Jacqui and three children, Camille, Michael and Mateo were also present at the induction ceremony. During the past four years, Zunica had the opportunity to coach his son, Mike, who will be graduating from St. Rita this month and entering Columbia University in New York to play football in the fall.
A broken wrist that required surgery during the summer subsequently resulted in a staph infection for St. Rita senior Stan Sojka.
It nearly derailed his hockey season.
Fortunately for the Mustangs, Sojka completed his final season Friday with a two-goal, one-assist performance in a 5-0 victory against St. Ignatius in the Illinois High School Hockey Championships boys final at the United Center.
“I spent a week straight in the hospital and lost 13 pounds, but I came back strong,” said Sojka, who missed 34 games this season and entered the final with eight goals. “I was told there wouldn’t be any complications regarding the wrist, so that kept my hopes up.”
Marty Napleton stopped 29 shots and Rick Faron scored twice for the Mustangs (46-13-4), who won their second title in three years and third overall. Sojka was one of six current Mustangs who played in the 2010 title game. Read Full Story
Napleton, however, saved arguably his finest performance of the campaign for Friday night.
The junior netminder turned aside 28 shots, many in spectacular fashion, to carry St. Rita to a dominant 5-0 victory over St. Viator in the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois’ state championship at the United Center. Napleton earned Most Valuable Player honors for his performance.
Stan Sojka (assist) and Ricky Faron paced the offense, scoring two goals each. Jack Warren added a solo tally for the Mustangs.
“Marty has been unbelievable all year,” Faron said. “He stood on his head tonight.” Read Full Story
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media March 5, 2012
The shouts of “This is our house’’ that came from St. Rita fans when Keith Burchett gave the Mustangs a 2-0 lead became a boisterous celebration after the players lived up to the chant.
St. Rita scored three unanswered goals in the second period Monday night, then held on to earn its fifth straight Catholic League Kennedy Cup with a 3-2 victory over Benet at Southwest Ice Arena.
“It’s awesome,’’ Burchett said. “It feels like it keeps getting tougher and tougher every year. Benet played awesome. It was tough. I think it was the toughest one yet.’’
St. Rita won the last two games in the best-of-3 series after falling in overtime to Benet in Game 1.
When time expired Monday, St. Rita goalie Marty Napleton threw his stick and gloves into the air as his teammates rushed to the crease to start the mob scene near the net.
“For two periods we were rolling along,’’ St. Rita coach Craig Ferguson said. “Marty came up big when he had to. He made some big saves at the end.’’
A rebound goal by Jack Warren that put St. Rita ahead 3-0 with 3 minutes, 53 seconds to go in the second period turned out to be the winner. Read Full Story