Friday, August 24, 2001
Boys soccer preview: Div. I
Great expectations for Lakota West
By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Steve Cummins doesn't like to talk to his players about rankings. The Lakota West boys soccer coach prefers his team just go about its business and deal with its own concerns.
We have enough to sort out ourselves, he said.
Here's one more item for the agenda: Lakota West is No. 1 in the Enquirer's Division I preseason poll.
I'm not surprised, Cummins said. This is probably the most talented team I've had in my 19 years at Lakota. But we're young in places. How that youth will affect us we're not sure.
Moeller coach Randy Hurley called Lakota West the best high school team of field players ever assembled in the city.
The Firebirds return 12 players with varsity experience, including seven starters.
Among that group is senior Kenney Bertz, a 6-foot-2 all-state pick being recruited by schools such as Notre Dame, Ohio State and Maryland. Bertz had six goals and 12 assists last season.
The team's only other senior is Matt Fuller, who was all-city last year after totaling eight goals and six assists.
This is a good team; I won't deceive anyone, Cummins said. It's just that in soccer, you can have 20 shots and lose 1-0.
2. LAKOTA EAST: The defending city poll champions expect to be a strong attacking team. Junior midfielders Nick Bascom and David Brown are three-year starters, and Kevin Farrell, another junior midfielder, is a two-year starter who scored five goals in the 2000 state tournament.
One of coach Danny Landrum's concerns: A lack of depth on the defensive end. He'll be counting heavily on junior defender Scott Leuck, a three-year starter.
3. MOELLER: The Crusaders relied on their defense last season, specifically all-state goalkeeper Brian Schaeper, who graduated. The job now goes to junior Mark Mangano, who has seen limited action in two previous years on varsity.
Last year's leading scorers return: Junior Bob Trybula and senior Nate McCall had three goals each for a team that totaled only 14. The captains are seniors Matt Hoffman, a defender, and midfielder Mike Horejs.
Moeller needs to put the ball in the net to live up to its preseason ranking.
4. ST. XAVIER: The Bombers' roster lists 11 seniors, which could mean an abundance of experience. They also lost 11 players to graduation, which could mean little experience is back.
The fact is, players who scored 31 of the team's 37 goals last year are gone.
Coach Henry Ahrens will rely on senior goalkeeper Dan Greulich and sweeper/midfielder Griffin Gall. Kevin Gruesser played only five games last year because of an ankle injury, but had two goals. Dan Perica also scored two goals.
5. LASALLE:The Lancers are 39-11-8 over the past three seasons and have eight seniors, good team speed and no glaring weakness at any position. What they might lack is depth.
Sophomore forward Ian Helton might be the team's best player. Junior midfielder John Thinnes and senior forward Matt Brinker are captains. La Salle has a tough senior midfielder (Cory Cracchiolo), an all-league senior defender (Eric Busener) and a solid senior goalkeeper (Matt Braun).
6. FAIRFIELD: Juniors David Hieber, Dave Botos and Adam Midkiff are the top returning players. A big question mark: The goalkeeper spot. Senior Colin Yeakle and sophomore Andy Hackman will probably each get starts early, coach Dan Smith said.
7. (tie) COLERAIN: Two-time all-state selection Seth Byers is already the school's all-time goal scorer. The senior forward had 17 goals and six assists last season.
7. (tie) LOVELAND: The Tigers are led by Jason Boehm, a first-team all-Southwest Ohio player who tallied 15 goals and 12 assists last season. Loveland has just four seniors. Depth could be a problem.
9. OAK HILLS: The Highlanders' strength is at midfield, where they have senior Craig Keller, an honorable mention all-GMC selection last season, junior Andrew Bowers and senior Matt Worrilow.
10. (tie) ELDER: The Panthers should be strong offensively with senior forward Stephen Miller, who will be in his fourth year as a starter, and junior forward Chris Thompson, who led Elder in goals last season.
10. (tie) MILFORD: The Eagles hope to end a string of three consecutive losing seasons under Mark Trout, who is in his first year as varsity head coach. Senior midfielder Mike Hessel was first-team all-Southwest Ohio after totaling three goals and three assists last season; he was injured part of the year (knee). Hessel has 16 goals and nine assists over the last two years.
Reds 12, Cardinals 2
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