Boys soccer: Blazers trade in glass slipper for target

September 04, 2007|By DAN KAUFFMAN

Last year proved to be one for the ages for the Clear Spring boys soccer team.

Held to one win in 2005, the Blazers turned it around in 2006, going 13-5 and winning the Class 1A West title to reach the state semifinals for the first time since 1993.

"They far exceeded their goals last year and it set them up for this year," said Blazers coach Mark Myers, who is starting his second stint as Clear Spring's leader, the first lasting from 1987 to 1991. "They're a lot more mature and solid."

This year, in the new-look MVAL Antietam - with North Hagerstown and South Hagerstown in the MVAL Piedmont - Clear Spring's glass slipper no longer fits. Cinderella now sports a target on her back.


While All-Area Second Team goaltender Andrew Beadle moved on to Hagerstown Community College, he's the only significant loss the Blazers suffered. All-Area Second Team forward Adam Reid and defender Aaron Mills, and All-County First Team forward Francesco Scotto-DiCarlo make Clear Spring a favorite in the Antietam.

"It all began last year where we tried to erase the individual play and make it more about team play," Myers said. "They're just enhancing that and carrying it forward."

Brunswick won the Antietam title last year with a 6-0-1 league record, with Clear Spring and Boonsboro tying for second at 5-2. Boonsboro has a new coach this season in Brad Delauter.

Smithsburg finished fourth in the Antietam last year at 4-3. The Leopards return All-County First Team defender Craig Trueblood.

Williamsport tied for fifth in the Antietam last season with a 3-4 mark, but the Wildcats may be the county team best positioned for a run up the standings this season. Williamsport returns all four of its All-County performers - First Team midfielder Michael Reyes, Second Team forwards Edwin Reyes and Jesse Buchman and Second Team goalkeeper Derek Munro.

"Right now, I'm expecting to compete," first-year coach Tim Michael said. "I have a great nucleus of kids, but I know they're going to have to work hard. Smithsburg, Boonsboro, Clear Spring, they all have great teams.

"I think I have talent, it's just a matter of fitting them into my system and gelling together."

The Hubs (7-8 in 2006) and Rebels (2-11-1) join Middletown, Walkersville and Frederick in the Piedmont.

While North loses All-County First Team goalkeeper Josh Borland and Second Team midfielder Will Abeles, the Hubs return First Team forward Michael Baer and Second Team defender Ethan Unrue among 10 seniors who coach Glen Singer has high hopes for.

"We have pretty good leadership," Singer said. "It will be a good test for us with the new alignment. I think if we use our leadership and play together well, we'll be able to compete and give everyone a good go. Collectively, it's just a real good group of talented kids."

South placed three underclassmen on the All-County teams in 2006 - junior midfielder Rajab Kigembe on the First Team, and junior midfielder Vo San and sophomore midfielder John Barrera on the Second Team. The Rebels will be led by first-year coach Mark David.

West Virginia

No team in the Tri-State area lost more talent than last year's top team, Jefferson. The Cougars bid adieu to five All-Area First Team players - forward Matt Tiano, midfielder Aaron Kelly, defenders Gordon Cohen and David Fuelhart and goalkeeper Derek Walls - and Second Team midfielder Aaron Kelly.

Forward D.J. Upson and midfielder Chris Lambert are the main pieces back, joining midfielders Chris Geigel, Joaquin Romero and Zach Cramer as the Cougars hope to make another deep run in the West Virginia Class AAA playoffs.

"We returned just enough guys from last year's squad that we were able to build upon last year's success," Jefferson coach Doug Hunt said. "It's taken a few games to get everyone working together. Lambert and Upson are playing up front together and make a real nice tandem. They're learning each other's stregths and working off that."

The Cougars, already 5-0-1 this season, will receive stiff competition from Martinsburg and Musselman this season.

The Bulldogs (2-0-1) lost All-Area First Team forward Trent Reid - currently playing for Old Dominion's nationally ranked Division I squad - as well as forward Josh Rudy and defender Cody Sabol. Back are All-Area Second Team midfielder Mike Seem and forward Kent Lemaster.

The Applemen (2-1-1) finished a game under .500 in 2006 but appear poised to take a big leap forward, with top forwards John Boyd - an All-Area Second Team pick - and Trevor Dusing back.

"I'm liking what we're seeing," Musselman coach Gino Marchese said. "We're very offensive-oriented but we're solid defensively as well. I think we're going to go back and forth (with Martinsburg and Jefferson) all season."

"Every one of those games is a battle," Hunt said. "Even Hedgesville gives us a game."

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