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Boys soccer: Hubs, Wildcats still teams to beat

August 28, 2012|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com
  • Washington County Preps Previews
Washington County Preps Previews

What a way to start another soccer campaign.

Teams will dive right into the fire by opening with the Washington County Public Schools Tournament this weekend.

South Hagerstown meets Smithsburg at 4, followed by Boonsboro against Clear Spring at 6. North Hagerstown and Williamsport tangle at 8 in quarterfinal games.

It’s the last matchup that really piques the interest, especially if it’s anything close to the 2011 match in which North Hagerstown defeated Williamsport in a 1-0 shootout win to take the tournament title.

The Hubs and Wildcats each appear ready to go after this year’s tournament — and MVAL Antietam Conference — titles. Smithsburg, undoubtedly, would like to have something to say about that, though.

Williamsport lost goalkeeper Alex Aleshire, the county Player of the Year, to graduation. In fact, 12 of the 15 first-team all-county stars have graduated.

“Since 2008, things have been well and there’s no reason why it can’t continue,” said Williamsport coach Chris Downs.

“Who knows what we’ll be like at the end of the year, but we’ll compete with everyone in the county,” said North coach Glen Singer.

St. Maria Goretti and Saint James each show signs of making serious challenges in their respective conferences, while Heritage Academy might be at the top of the Mason Dixon Christian Conference.

Boonsboro

Coach Roy Rickerds took the reins of the program in the final part of 2011, in what became another losing season for the Warriors, going 2-11.

However, Rickerds has an entire season to mold Boonsboro’s team to reach a level to challenge North and Williamsport.

“We’ve got kids that are excited, kids that I know and have worked with in the summer leagues for the past five years,” said Rickerds. “We’ve been down in the valley and now we’re working to get to the top of the mountain.”

Defense, in Rickerds’ mind, wins games and he will look to senior Rusty Kopp to anchor the back line. On offense, sophomore Connor Prunty will be a key midfielder.

“I think our bench also has some talent and can be as good as the starting unit,” said Rickerds.

Victories? Since making the state finals in 2008 with a 15-5 record, Boonsboro is 4-37-1.

Broadfording

The Lions may have had one of the biggest losses for any school in the county when Andrew Torres graduated. He was a first-team all-county player who scored 46 goals last year.

“We have some rebuilding to do in some areas with two seniors and a bunch of sophomores,” said coach David Grimm. “There is no (Torres) but we have some skilled and aggressive players still here.”

Broadfording will rely on two senior midfielders — Trevor Snodderly and Justin Halderman — with a goal of controlling the action in the middle of the field.

Senior Kevin Gibson transferred in from Smithsburg and will be in goal for Broadfording.

“(Gibson) might also help us on the back side and maybe outside,” said Grimm.

Clear Spring

Coach Lynn Mills has some returning players, but for the most part, he might have needed name tags for the rest of the team when the preseason began.

Clear Spring, coming off a 6-8-1 season, lost 13 players to graduation, including Ralph Weaver, who is now at Shepherd University after scoring 25 points last season.

“We’ve got a good group of boys with a lot to learn,” said Mills. “In general, we didn’t have a great year last year. Our youth program has grown and most everyone has been playing.”

Mills welcomes back junior midfielder Jonathan Henesy, a second-team all-county pick, along with senior defender C.J. Elwood, whom Mills said “could be one of the best in the county.”

Add midfielders Nick Brandt and Brad Mills, along with goalkeeper Levi Bucher, and there could be a basis for success. Brad Mills is returning after missing a year from a broken leg.

“We just want to stay in every game and I think our defense can do that,” said Lynn Mills.

Grace Academy

Grace Academy is still looking for the magic it had in 2009 when the team went 25-2-1. Since then, Grace is 2-26-2.

Coach Paul Umstead is looking for a successful youth movement after graduation hit the ranks heavily on both sides of the ball.

The Eagles are so young they may have two eighth-graders starting — sweeper Harrison Barger and striker Mark Koontz.

Grace added some experience when junior Nathan Brazil transferred from Broadfording.

“We’ll be looking for (Brazil) to spread the ball, shoot himself, get the offense moving,” said Umstead.

Senior Anthony Jacques is expected to be a top defender along with sophomore Josiah House and freshman Osung Choi will handle keeper duties.

Heritage Academy

This could be a year to make 2011 easy to forget.

After a 3-6 campaign, co-coaches Buddy Rohrbaugh and Greg Henesy have an experience-filled roster with only four players lost to graduation.

“If everyone stays healthy I think we can win our conference,” said Rohrbaugh. “We’ve got players learning the same system so we are looking into the right direction. We’re working more passing and teamwork into our system.”

Three seniors lead the way, starting with midfielder Bryce Nigh. Striker Tristan Prejean and defender Collin Pyle along with sophomore midfielder Ian Rohrbaugh will pace Heritage.

Nigh and Pyle were all-county honorable mentions last year.

North Hagerstown

The Hubs have a boatload of seniors returning from last year’s 11-5-1 team and every year, Singer manages to put the right personnel in the right spots.

Senior forward Ryan Byard has scored 17 goals in the last two seasons. The all-county performer should be among the best around this season.

Still, Singer is quick to point out: “The strongest part of our lineup is we should be fairly consistent all over the field if we stay healthy.

“We lost only five seniors so it’s not really a rebuilding year. We’ve got some starters back.”

The Hubs can take comfort with experience in goal as senior Max Ober returns. Ober posted five shutouts last year.

Saint James

Evan Solis was busy in the infant stages of the preseason meeting new players to start his first year as head coach.

There’s plenty of work to be done as the Saints try to retool from 2011’s 1-15-1 record and a defense that allowed a whopping 75 goals.

“We have six starters, a few role players and an overall good core of the team coming back,” said Solis.

Leading the veterans this year is senior Seung Gon Yoo, who earned all-county first-team honors with 11 goals and four assists.

“(Seung) was a great player for us and we look for his leadership this year,” Solis said.

Solis looks for newcomer Billy Walendom to add support. Thomas Rocca, an all-county honorable mention, returns to fortify the back line.

Smithsburg

Despite 10 seniors, coach Paul Newman said his Leopards are still relatively young as they hope to turn the corner on last year’s 6-10 record.

Whatever offense the Leopards generate will start with all-county first-teamer Adler Garrett, a senior forward who led all Washington County goal scorers last year with 15.

“No doubt we will look to (Adler) for leadership,” said Newman.

Sophomore Nate Redmond could work alongside Garrett and senior L.J. Etter is likely to work as a central midfielder. Newman also said sophomore Adam Dwyer will be in goal.

“He doesn’t have the formal goalie training, but he’s a natural athlete,” Newman said.

“We’ll be competitive and a team that gets better as the season goes on,” said Newman. “We’ll look for maturity and growth.”

South Hagerstown

The Rebels went through a winless 0-13-2 season, so 2012 is another rebuilding year.

However, coach Ryan Myers is optimistic.

“My players, through my program and who I consider the foundation of the future, can help us be competitive.”

Only two seniors — defender Johnny Martinez and senior midfielder Jeb Shingler — are holdovers. Otherwise, Myers has one sophomore — midfielder JonMichael Carbaugh, who will start — and 15 juniors.

Junior keeper Joe Rohr returns with hopes to improve after starting 12 games. Myers is looking for big games from juniors Austin Johnson and Brayden Tiner, both midfielders.

“They gained experience with big minutes played last year so we’re looking for breakout years from them,” said Myers.

St. Maria Goretti

The Gaels produced 14 victories with an experienced team last year, but seven of 10 key players graduated. Still, coach Tristan Longnecker is upbeat about the 2012 outlook.

“We’re a young team, but in many regards we’ll be competitive,” said Longnecker. “I think we’ll be solid at midfield and forward.”

Senior Kevin Proctor, a second-team all-county player, was responsible for 25 points last season and will be the offensive key, along with sophomore Jake Kline in the center midfield.

Aaron Snook and Jordan Petterson are leading defenders and Casey Bartholomew, an all-county honorable mention, will be one of the Gaels’ strengths up top.

“I think Proctor is exceptionally talented,” said Longnecker. “Overall, I’m happy with the progress.”

Williamsport

Corey Ellis has the job of filling big shoes this season, maybe the largest in the county, after the graduation of Aleshire.

“We lost Alex and that’s a huge hole to fill, but we’ll still put Corey up there with anyone,” said Downs. “He’s nice size and has been in several camps.”

The Wildcats also lost Cody Gardenhour and Chad Ridenour to graduation, but Downs has more than adequate replacements.

Senior forward/midfielder Colton Myers and junior midfielder Tiago DeSouza should power the new-look Wildcats along with junior forward/midfielder Owen Marx and junior midfielder Ryan Schnurr.

“(Colton) came on at the end of the year and worked hard to get to the net and score (seven goals) toward the end of the year,” said Downs. “(Tiago) is just a smart player and dangerous from anywhere. He’ll run and make feeds anywhere.”

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