Expectations run high for Stanly’s soccer teams
Five high school soccer teams from schools in Stanly will take to the pitch this season looking for success. One team looks to defend its share of the conference title while four others look to make their own respective marks.
The Bulldogs were 7-12 overall last season under first-year head coach Matt Moeller. Going 6-8 in Yadkin Valley Conference play, Albemarle returns a number of upperclassmen from that team.
Striker Josh Megson led the conference last season with 24 goals, adding eight assists, while midfielder Ross Griffin had four goals and four assists. The Bulldogs return three more seniors in defenders Jaden Sherrill and Jesiel Gosga and midfielder Alex Barcenas.
Five juniors return for Albemarle, including striker Alex Hernandez (7 G, 7 A) and midfielder Gavin Olivieri (3 G, 1 A). Also returning are Alex Yang in the midfield, stopper Leo Hernandez and defender Abram Hernandez.
One sophomore returning to the team from last season is midfielder Junior Hernandez.
Newcomers to the team are seniors Dasean Horne (keeper), Jevanny Guillen-Perez (striker), Angel Ochoa (D) and Adrian Hernandez (MF) and juniors Calvin Vang (D), Sean Vang (D), Gustaw Sedano (D) and Coley Dejak (D). Two freshmen join the team in midfielders Lucas Megson and Cohen Whitley.
“Practice has been going well and we are excited about our season. We have a nice mix of returning players and newcomers that should be fun to watch,” Moeller said.
The Knights finished tied for the YVC championship with North Moore, splitting the season series with the Mustangs. Gray Stone finished the season 19-2-1 overall (13-1 YVC), the other loss coming in overtime 1-0 to Mount Airy in the state 1A playoffs.
Head coach Brad Harrington lost just four starters from last year’s team. Starting for Gray Stone will be seniors Alex McDow, Zack Norman, Chase Viscomi, juniors Marshal Overcash, David Almond, Luke Hill and sophomore Levi Rosser.
Harrington said he is excited about some of the new players on the squad as well as returning sophomores who played sparingly last season. Sophomores returning include Eric Strohecker, Prior Sparks, Keagan Vang and several others, while freshmen Andrew Beohler, Sammy Hatley, Lofton Pope, Noah Mauldin and Angus Currie “look to build a solid foundation for the future,” according to Harrington.
Gray Stone’s head coach said the squad’s success “will be defined by how well we play together as a team, how well we gel early and really become a family, and staying together all season.”
Harrington said the team has high hopes and goals for the season. The mix of returning players and underclassmen “will allow us to compete right away in any game we play early. As we build throughout the season we hope to continue to grow as a team and get better together to become the best team we can be this season.”
Head coach Justin Carter returns seven starters from last year’s Comets squad that was 7-11 overall and 6-8 in the YVC.
North returns its starting goalkeeper in senior Addison Cord along with a number of other starters. Returning is senior and All-Conference selection Bryson Childress (F) and four-year starter senior Brody Lowder (MF/F). Also returning for North are seniors Levi Oliver (MF), Brady Pugh (F), Titan Thao (F) and junior Eli Williams (MF).
Three newcomers are showing great promise for North Stanly in senior Carson Lowder (D) and freshmen Koby Poole and Dyson Bell, Carter said.
Carter said the team is athletic and “looking to control the midfield while being solid on defense.” He also described Cord in net as “exceptional.”
The North coach said Lowder “should be a force on the defensive end” while Pugh “will control the defensive third of the field with his three years experience as being the quarterback on defense.” He also added the incoming freshmen “have shown their class can hang with the best of them.”
Carter said the goals are to win the county games while competing for the YVC championship.
After not winning a match last season, the Rebel Bulls look to improve by returning nearly the entire starting lineup from 2018. Over half of the team were freshmen last season, with the majority of the rest of the team sophomores in the 0-16 overall effort.
South enters the season having lost 24 matches in a row. The Bulls’ last win came on Sept. 29, 2016, an 8-2 road victory at South Davidson.
Head coach Jody Ledezma lost three seniors from last year’s team in goalkeepers Michael Bullis and Robert Furr along with Ty Smith. The Bulls have to replace one defender and its keeper for the upcoming season.
Ledezma said several new players look to help the Bulls improve, including junior Parker Crump, who brings experience to the team. Crump spent a great deal of time playing at the top levels of the Charlotte Soccer Academy.
“Last year we didn’t quite pull off a win with our extremely young team, but we came close and we improved leaps and bounds from years before even with such a young team,” Ledezma said. “This year, with only graduating two starting positions and new talent trying out, we hope to show even more progress and hopefully pull off some wins.”
The Colts graduated four seniors from the 2018 squad which was 8-10-6 and 3-3-4 in the 2A Rocky River Conference standings for head coach Ivan Osorio.
West returns seven starters, including seniors Aldo Cruz, Freddy Priego and Leonardo Martinez and juniors Jairo Marquez, Hector Jaramillo, Arturo Zelaya and Logan Brown.
Also returning for West are sophomores Noel Medina, Jorge Moran and Caleb Feree.
Two newcomers Osorio said show promise include senior Chance Yang and junior Jackson Skinner.
“Basically we will have most of the guys from last year so we look forward to a good season both overall and in conference,” Osorio said. “The team has the experience and the skill level to play a good game of soccer.”