Team balance is the theme this year more than others

Thirty-three dot the roster of the Steubenville Catholic Central boys soccer team.

“We experienced a large number of new players this year that will now help us develop depth in several positions,” said veteran head coach Steve Kopcha. “Our goal, as always, is to develop them into players who are able to contributed to the team now and in the future.”

The Crusaders graduated six from the team that went 14-2-1, including Leo Herrmann, who finished his career with more than 100 goals.

They return key lettermen in seniors John Bolster, Harold Rogers, Jude Ledyard and Jacob Decker and juniors Jacob Rigaud, Brady Bolger, Kevin Herrmann and Aidan Gotta.

“I think that we will have a good balance this year witht he players we have returning,” said Kopcha. “We have some who were starters last year and others who provided valuable minutes coming off the bench.

“All of these returning players will provide a core of experience that will help is be competitive each game.”

Rounding out the roster are seniors Anthony Lamantia and Andrew Nese, juniors Anthony Raymond, Caleb Moore, Connor Pecar (a Harrison Central transfer) and Isaac Kiedrowski, sophomores Stephen Bolster, Lucca DiMichele, Shane Callon, Evan Moore, Austin Fowkes, Joey Schlich and Joseph Sanford and freshmen Colin Brown, Mark Kissinger, Dante Asci, Joe Kuebler, Gave Ferris, Joe Zinno, Joe Mello, Carlin Long, Kelen Gotta, Mikey Irvin, Caleb Wlker and Joe Marrow.

Steubenville

Head coach Greg Bowers enters his 10th season for Big Red and welcomes 13 lettermen. Leading the way are Jason Criss, Jorge Dominguez, Nate Kurty, Phil Stoutz, Tyler Clevenger and Parker Dalton.

Kurty was second-team all-Eastern District and first-team all-OVAC and Dominguez was an honrable mention choice in each category.

“We have a mix of experience and youth this season,” said Bowers, who is 109-38-13 and 11-5-2 a year ago. “The returning letterman will be asked to play a bigger role than last year and be play makers.”

Dominguez scored 10 goals last season. Criss added nine and Dalton four.

Clevenger takes over in goal.

“He has done an outstanding job stepping in for all-state goalie (and graduate) John Paul Duff,” said the coach.

The top newcomers are Brandon Delaratta, Marc Porter, Federico Torres, Ethan Brown, Ryan Archer, Codey Criss and Alex Isla.

“The new players to the varsity team will be asked to play supportive roles,” said Bowers.

Rounding out the roster are senior Michael Damico, junior Riley Shelton, sophomores Austin Duggan and Ian Baird and freshmen Ryan Delelles, Adam DiCarlo and Evan Naylor.

“This group has a ton of potential, but when and if they reach their potential, will depend on the their ability to learn and develop as a group,” Bowers added.

Weir

The Red Riders are under new leadership for the first time in school history as Jim Luevano takes over the program.

“I am looking forward to an exciting season this year, as I have 13 returning letterman,” said Luevano. “I also have a strong class of incoming freshman who show a lot of promise. The boys have been working hard getting ready and I hope we go far this season.”

Kristian Fuchs (senior) and Ryan Kirk (junior) return. They were honorable mention all-OVAC and Fuchs honorable mention all-state. Michael Ceraolo, a two-year returning letterman, starts in goal.

The new coach also has two-year returning lettermen in seniors Jordan Barney, Ben Kopa and Jon Fedoush and juniors Ethan Gilbert and David Gianni and three sophomores who lettered as freshmen, Chayton Luevano, Michael Gresko and Zach Hannah.

“We also have juniors Matthew Stonebreaker and T.J. Szymanek,m who will definitely add to my depth chart,” said the coach.

The Red Riders graduated three players off last year’s 7-10-3 team.

“The rest of this young team saw a lot of varsity time,” said the coach. “This is a very exciting time for boys soccer at Weir High.”

Rounding out the roster are senior Anthony Velrtri, juniors Caleb Foglio, Brandon Konnovitch, Daniel Mayfield and Tyler Stump, sophomores William Crago and Justin Roberts and freshmen Ryan Bodrog, Ben Fodouch, Brett Hinchee, Ashton Knuutila, Cody Miller, William Rice and Luke Tenaglio.

Brooke

The Bruins are coming off a 4-11 year and have a new regime.

Joe Pepe, who started the boys program at Weir 21 years ago, now coaches his alma mater.

“This year is going to be a good year of learning a new system,” said Pepe, who was 261-130-30 with the Red Riders. He led them to nine OVAC titles and one overall OVAC championship, eight sectional titles, four regional titles and were state runners-up in 2009 and 2011.

“The players have a great attitude and they are pulling together as a team. Helping to rebuild the program as my assistant is longtime coach Dan Shorts (who coached at Brooke and Steubenville).”

The Bruins have four senior lettermen in Jakob Heilman (two years), Paraag Gupta (two), Chris Beaman (one) and Garrison Mathison, a transfer from Jefferson County Christian, where he was a three-year starter and three year all-SWCAC performer.

Two-year returning junior lettermen are Dalton Minger, Ty Sicurella and Matthew Valentine.

The Bruins also have seven returning sophomore lettermen in Austin Tennant, Dylan Wounaris, Adam Law, Austin Chambers, Nick Calvert, Gavin Browne and Zac Bolner. Sophomore Jacob Jones is in his first year.

“Even though we have 14 lettermen returning, we are very young,” said Pepe. “We will mature as the season progresses.”

Brooke is supported by a big freshman class “with a lot of them already stepping up,” according to Pepe.

They are Konnor Govey, Nicholas Hooper, Adam long, Justin Ambrose, Mason Zopp ,Anthony Ptaszek, Colin Heilman, Jacob Hinerman, Gage Barnhart, Jared Reinard, Domenic DU’lisse, Clay Riney, Michael Taggart and John Pronchik.

“All the players are working really hard and have done a great job bonding as a team,” said the coach. “We have good senior leadership and great backing from the parents, school and the boosters.

“We will surprise some teams this year.”

Indian Creek

The Redskins, who are under first-year coach Joe Lewis, graduated four players and return 12 lettermen off last year’s 8-10 squad.

“Our record has improved in each of the last three seasons under Jonathon Hoover,” said Lewis. “We aim to continue that trend with the experience of twelve returning lettermen.”

Hoover is now an assistant coach witht he Franciscan University of Steubenville men’s soccer program.

Leading the way for Indian Creek are captains Max Lewis (senior, three-year letterman) and Jonathan Blackburn (junior, two-year letterman).

“We hope to capitalize on our speed and endurance with seven players benefitting from participating in spring track and field,” said the coach.

Rounding out the Redskins roster are senior Jimmy Bolyog, Chris Carr, Tyler Gaydosh, Jordan Herald and Cole Recinella; juniors Zach Barker, Brendan Cole, Joey Donley, David Emley, Lucas Kennedy, Drew Markja, Noah Thomas, Nick Utt and Mochael Vella; sophomores Zach Neely, Andrew Price, Bradley Quaigg, George Shea and Paul Voltz and freshman Ensign Maiorano.

“We also have a disciplined defensive backfield anchored by Drew Markja and two solid goalies in Zack Barker and Andrew Price,” said Lewis.

Oak Glen

The Golden Bears finished 12-9 and one step from the state tournament last season, losing to Fairmont Senior in the West Virginia Class AA regional finals, after defeating Weir High for the Region 1, Section 1 championship.

“Captains and three-year lettermen, Nate Bennett and Addison Sayre will lead the team this year,” said head coach Aaron Bennett. “I also have sophomore lettermen Devon Flanigan and Nate Fryer helping to lead this young team.”

Nate Bennett was an OVAC honorable mention pick last year.

“Two-year lettermen Jesse Lantz and Cody Waggoner and lettermen James Crain and Dylan Garmire, as well as, first-year senior Ryan Six will play strong support roles,” said the coach, whose team graduated seven seniors.

“We are going to be a very young team on the field this year. My goal for them is to just improve with each game we play.

“With such a small roster our freshmen and first-year players will be asked to play a very large roll and learn quickly on the field.

“This will be a bittersweet season for me since I have coached Nate Bennett and Addison Sayre for over seven years, to see all their accomplishments throughout these years and to know I will no longer be able to guide them on the field makes me full of pride and sadness.”

Rounding out the roster are Coleman Conley, Nate Ferrell, Chance Provenzano, Tyler Ridgeway, Collin Williams, Andy Gonzalez and Shane Theiss.

Edison

The Wildcats graduated three players from last season, a winless one in 16 starts.

Their top returners are Cory Kuntupis, Cody Kuntupis, Alex Mariscal, Christian Durbin, Brett Ferrell and Josh Woika.

“We are a team with a first-year head coach trying to rebound from a winless season,” said new coach Aaron Richardson. “However, we are not letting either of those factors hold us back. We have a small team, but an experienced one.

“If we are able to stay healthy, I believe that we will be a dangerous team to contend with and a fun team to watch this year.”

Edison has started the season 2-0 with wins over Carrollton and Harrison Central.

Rounding out the roster are juniors Brad Springer and Davis Harris, sophomores Misha Zdinak, David Kinney, Hunter Howell, Logun Gates and Mitchell Sinicropi and freshman Evan Maple.

Harrison Central

The Huskies lost nine players from the 2013 team, but have 25 on the roster, including eight lettermen.

“Most people would be under the impression that our program will take a step back, but we have 25 kids out,” second-year head coach Erick Sheets said. “I believe that we can have a very successful season this year. It’s just going to take time for our team to gel.”

Leading Harrison Central are junior lettermen Scott Forrester, Nathaniel Hoyt, Tristan Kulow and Andrew Mizer, and sophomore lettermen James Forrester, Matthew Mizer, Logan Starr (goalie) and Zachary Stubblefield.

Rounding out the roster are seniors Evandro Vieira and David Downs; juniors Ian Saho, Isaac Arnold, David Morgan and Brenden Masur; sophomores Zachary Matusik, Matthew Bone and Reese Saho; and freshmen Matthew Rose, Matthew Parrish, Kadyn Palmer, Michael Downs, Luis Magana, Cole Manbeck, Bruce Muklewicz and Lucas Puskarich.

“By the end of the year, I hope to compete with some of the better teams in the valley but we’ll just have to wait and see,” Sheets said.

Jefferson County Christian

Coach Jim Seabright returns seniors Christian Brown, Michael Orsatti, Chris Brown, Chris McGurn, Blaze Bowers and Jerome McCoy, junior J.D. Pritchard and welcomes underclassmen Ian Wise, Nathan Yaskanich, Nathan Jones, Andrew Speirs, Dalton Sindeldecker, Allen Moro, Blane Bowers and Gabriel Beadle.

“Our goals are always the same and leading the way is our team verse, Matthew 5:16,” said Seabright, in his fourth year. “We have athletes who can play both ends of the field and that will help us. We are also a pretty versatile team. I like what we will bring to the table each game.”

The Royals have been in the SouthWestern Christian Athletic Conference championship game two of the past three seasons. They were semifinalists in 2012.

McGurn was an all-SWCAC performer a year ago.

“We just have to remember each game who we are playing for,” said Seabright.