Stanly teams look to challenge in ‘19 soccer season
Published 5:50 pm Friday, August 16, 2019
The 2019 high school men’s soccer season sees teams challenge North Moore for supremacy in the Yadkin Valley Conference while West Stanly looks to improve after reaching the second round of the state playoffs.
West looks to build on last season’s 12-7-1 team that finished one game out of first place in a competitive Rocky River Conference.
The Colts advanced in the state playoffs for the first time in school history with a penalty kick finish at Hendersonville.
In the second round of the playoffs, they were minutes away from taking an overtime victory at North Davidson before falling 2-1.
West graduated two seniors from last year’s team, both student-athletes at Lenoir-Rhyne University. Aldo Cruz finished as the leading goal scorer in school history and will suit up for the Bears soccer team this fall, while fullback Leo Martinez will run cross country and track for L-R after playing two sports for the Colts.
West’s 2019 club will have a healthy mix of veteran leadership and young talent.
The Colts anticipate having a larger squad this year with 19 players on the opening day roster when West travels to Monroe on Monday.
The team will return home for a county matchup vs. South Stanly on Tuesday before hosting regional power Central Cabarrus on Thursday in a competitive opening week of regular season competition.
Returners from last year’s team include seniors Logan Brown, Hector Jaramillo, Arturo Zelaya, Jairo Aguilar and Jackson Skinner. Returning juniors are Caleb Ferree, Noel Medina and Jorge Moran and returning sophomores are Isaiah McKibbon and Jayden Bigham. A solid core of nine newcomers join the returners, many of whom experienced a great deal of success for West Stanly Middle School’s soccer program last spring.
Head coach Ivan Osorio returns for his sixth season leading the Colts soccer program.
The Knights finished 16-8-1 overall last season, 11-3 in the YVC good for second place under head coach Brad Harrington.
Gray Stone returns eight of the team’s 11 starters from last season, including Levi Rosser, Erich Strohecker, Prior Sparks, Marshall Overcash, David Almond, Luke Hill, Keagan Vang and Connor Morin.
Returning for the Knights this season areAndrew Beohler, Nathaniel Brown, Sammy Hatley, Elias Jiminez, Edison Khan, Cameron Pierson, Lofton Pope and Ethan Wilkins. These players “will add depth and skill to our team overall. We will look to continue to build on the success we have had the last two years.”
According to Harrington, Gray Stone has a number of promising newcomers including Dylan Todd, Matthew Strohecker, Ryan Morin, Ethan Lutz, Quentin Hippert and Bhagwat Bhatt.
Harrington said the team looks to “build on its success” and “ develop individually as players and young men on and off the field and in every area of life, as well become one cohesive group/team that understands the importance of being part of the Gray Stone men’s soccer family.”
Head coach Matt Moeller said the Bulldogs are expecting to build on the successful Fall 2018 season, which resulted in a 9-10 overall record and 7-7 mark in the YVC. in the team making the State playoffs for the first time in several years.
While the team will certainly miss several All-League and All-Region players who have graduated including Josh Megson, the current AHS roster has exceptional depth. Returning starters include seniors Gavin Olivieri, AY Yang, Coley Dejak, Jesiel Gasga, Gustavo Sedano, Alejandro Martinez, cousins Calvin and Shawn Vang and brothers Axel and Leo Hernandez. Sophomore Lucas Megson will be leading a group of experienced midfielders.
Newcomers playing well in practice include Cristian Jaimes, Marco Navarro, Bryan Guttierrez, Spencer Thao, Darren Vang, Chris Sanchez and Justin Moua. Matthew Taylor may have improved the most during the offseason.
Moeller said he was ”very excited about this year’s team” and indiciated they are ready to get started.
The Bulldogs’ season opens on Monday with a non-conference road game at Anson County.
The Comets return several players from last season’s team which went 5-10-2 overall and 5-9 in the YVC under head coach Justin Carter after graduating seven seniors.
Senior Eli Williams returns for the Comets after playing midfielder last season.
Dyson Bell returns for his sophomore season with the team after playing as a freshman last year at midfield and defense.
Alex Huneycutt is another rising sophomore returning for North who will play at striker.
The Comets will be much younger this season according to Carter who said nine freshman will join the squad in 2019.
“I look for Clay Hatley and Jesus Luna to have major impacts this year,” Carter said.
North’s coach added the outlook for this season is interesting, adding “with having such a young team we are just looking to rebuild and solidify our footing for the future. But who knows? These guys may surprise some people. “
Information on the Rebel Bulls was not available as of press time.