The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

August 17, 2013

2013 Area Boys Soccer Preview: Best foot forward

Area teams are ready for the season

(Continued)

Edgewood

The Warriors are coming of a difficult 2-12-2 campaign but are looking to improve under coach Kevin Santee and a strong core of returning players.

Edgewood lost five lettermen from last year’s squad but return 12, led by seniors Aaron Ball (defender), Erik Hodges (goalie) and Lance Butler (forward).

“I’m looking forward to the season as we are still a relatively young team but we have had a lot of positive energy and play during our presason workouts,” Santee said. “Keys for us will be to establish ball possession during matches so we may take more advantage of scoring opportunities and not have to be playing so much in our defensive third.

“On the other side of the ball or at least in transition from offense to defense we will need to put immediate pressure on the ball and get supporting players behind to defend.”

Santee has a strong group of juniors returning, led by midfielder Adam Heffner, Gian Englemen (forward), James Kulko (midfielder), Justyn Oliveraz (midfielder), Joseph Scarpetti (defender) and Joe Wimer (defender).

Also returning are sophomores Garrick Butler (midfeilder), Breyton Santee (forward) and Ben Spangler (defender).

This will be the final season Edgewood competes without a conference as the Warriors join the All-American Conference in the spring of 2014.

Overall, Santee looks forward to playing a difficult schedule this year.

“We are looking forward to playing all the schools,” he said. “We have some very tough competition and look forward to raising some of our individual and team play to meet the challenges ahead of us.

“This is a great group and many are very motivated in competing for these starting varsity spots.”

Geneva

Although the Eagles have plenty to replace, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be a rebuilding year under first-year coach Jeff Hull.

Hull still has a strong group of seniors including Antonio Simoes (forward), Tyler Hunt (midfielder), Chad Weisbarth (forward), Ryan Weisbarth (defender) and Josh Swanson (midfielder).

Still, Hull knows it’s no small task to replace that many lettermen.

“It will be difficult to replace 12 lettermen from last season,” he said. “Our team has been working hard this off season and is ready for the challenge. Our success this season will depend on how well our seniors can take over as leaders and help our underclassmen fill in the holes.”

Also returning are juniors Michael Ankrom (midfielder), Anthony Cardaman (defender) and Tyler Hobel (midfielder).

As far as the Premier Athletic Conference is concerned, in which Geneva went 4-2-1 last year, he expects it to be another tough season.

“The PAC is a strong conference for boys soccer,” he said. “If we continue to work hard I think we can play with the better teams in the conference and compete for a conference title.”

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