Soccer teams lack senior players

By Kyle Cusick, Sports Editor — Varsity soccer is in full swing as both the boys’ and girls’ team pass the midway point of their seasons. Both teams have surpassed any expectations that were set for them before the season. More remarkable than this is they have done it with extremely young and inexperienced players at the high school level.

Without a single senior to take charge and lead the girls’ team, they have left all leadership roles on the shoulders of juniors.

“I am very thankful that I’ve gotten the opportunity to be a captain as a junior,” junior captain Abby Hearne said. “I am able to grow and learn with this team for two years, so by next year we will be firing on all cylinders.”

Leadership is a vital aspect to any team, but it is even more important when the team is as young and inexperienced as the girls’ team.

“The upperclassmen do a very good job of pushing us to go the extra step and to compete as best as we can,” freshman Elizabeth Cerese said.

The girls’ varsity lineup consists of eight juniors, three sophomores and two freshman. With so many young players populating the lineup, there is bound to be problems that occur.

“We aren’t used to playing with each other and they’re [underclassmen] not experienced to the high school level yet,” Hearne said. “They lack confidence which is important on the varsity level.”

There are many positives to having a young team as well. Almost the whole lineup will be identical next year and the team will know each others’ playing style better and be able to play more efficient.

“We still have another year to build on and be even better next year,” Hearne said.

The boys’ team has two starting seniors, which is relatively low compared to the Federal League average of about five seniors in the starting lineup. There are also five starting juniors and four sophomores to accompany the seniors on the field.

“The inexperience hurts us,” coach Noah Dockus said. “Some of the younger guys look like deer in headlights out there.”

Another problem the team is facing is the lack of chemistry the new players have amongst them. Many of the younger players are coming from different clubs all across Ohio and have never played with each other before. To make that even worse, a lot of the players go their separate ways to different club teams once the school season ends.

There are some positives to take out of having such a young team. It has given opportunities for some young players to get varsity time. Freshman Kyle Ryter has gotten vital minutes off the bench this season.

“It’s definitely a challenge compared to my past years of soccer,” Ryter said. “It’s a great opportunity.”

Dockus is hopeful for the underclassmen in the program. He repeatedly compliments the work ethic and competitiveness shown in the younger generation.

“Even the last player on our roster still wants to compete and get better. We haven’t been able to say that before. Even our youngest freshman won’t back down. They want to work hard and have fun. That is the biggest thing from the younger class. They want to work hard and get better every day. They don’t have egos.” Dockus said.

Although the boys’ team struggled in the beginning of the season, they are improving immensely every week. The team managed to get a much needed victory against St. Vincent St. Mary who is an established soccer program. If they continue their upward trend of improvement, then look for continued success as the season goes on.

[Updated Aug. 12, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]