Soccer Starts Fresh(men)
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Last year’s 2015 Jamestown boys soccer season ended in a state championship for the Eagles. But when the season came to an end, the team lost 14 of its most valuable players, leaving only five veterans to defend their title. So, the question is, how will they compensate for the loss of experienced players while maintaining the state title?
“Ben Carper, Kevin Tripp, Duncan McDevitt, Antonio Gonzalez, and Kyle Wade will
all play big roles as returners to this years team,” Coach Bobby O’Brien said. The five returning players will be the focal point of this year’s efforts as they figure out a way to win with their new team as they did last year.
“It’s going to be a challenge to live up to the expectations of last year, but I think we definitely have a chance because we have a lot of people returning who were starting,” senior Ben Carper said. “There’s a lot of pressure, but it’s also a lot to look forward to.”
Last year’s championship season will not be easily surpassed, for the Eagles had 20 wins and only one loss. Senior Jeff Wolons led the 2015 season with 46 total goals, setting the school record for the most in a season, while also scoring numerous hat tricks each game.
“We are going to have to be more balanced,” Coach Bobby O’Brien said. “We relied a lot on Jeff last year to score goals, so we’ll have to have players step up to take on those challenges.”
Without Wolons up top to score the much needed goals, the Eagles will have to figure out where the goals will come from. “Hopefully, Antonio Gonzalez and myself can make up for the loss of Jeff and his ability to score,” junior Kevin Tripp said.
“I’m going to score,” sophomore Antonio Gonzalez said. “I’m very confident that I can this season with Kevin assisting me.” Gonzalez and Tripp, who both played on varsity last year, managed to procure essential wins for the Eagles last season and are looking to do it again.
With the loss of two captains and multiple seniors, the Eagles not only lost talent, but leadership. Ben Carper will be returning as a captain and Coach O’Brien has Kevin Tripp ready to step in and help lead his new team. “Carper was fantastic down the stretch last year and he will be asked to play numerous positions and keep the team together,” Coach O’Brien said, “Tripp also scored big goals in the final five games as a sophomore and will have to be the offensive leader this year.”
The Eagles have adversity to overcome. They are not only willing to get through it, but they are capable of doing it with the immense talent they possess. They expect old and new players to come together to form this year’s soccer team, and whatever they achieve this season, it will be a new team’s accomplishment.
“We know that we have talent,” senior Kyle Wade said. “This year is going to be a year for us to pull everything together and get the next couple of years ready. We’re going to set high goals for ourselves and hopefully achieve them.”