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Putnam County Boys' Soccer Previews

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

GHS soccer seeks quicker attack in '07

By JARED JERNAGAN, Sports Editor

With nine returning lettermen, six of whom are seniors, the Greencastle boys' soccer team returns with no shortage of experience this year. However, Coach Dave Lilly's squad does have a very different group of players than last year, so the team could take on an entirely different look in 2007.

Members of the 2007 Greencastle boys' soccer team include (front, from left) Losson Jones, Brian Winslow, Tim Bray, Cameron Cash, Brandon Volland, Cary Russell, manager Jacob Phillips, (middle) Assistant Coach Mike Tucker, Derrick Thompson, Griffin Moore, Mitchell Robinson, Josh Dunn, Steven Miller, Clark Wilson, Jesse Elkins, Kyle Thomas, co-captain Adam Clute, Cody Watson, Coach Dave Lilly, (back) co-captain Eric Davis, Josh Bonebrake, Pat Eiteljorge, Greg Lilly, Damir Tarabar, JT Hennette, Buzz Deer, Kyle Parker, co-captain Pat Martin, Spencer Moore, Ryan Payne, (not pictured) Marcus Benassi and David Cath.
"We have a good core group of returning players that we're going to build around," Lilly said.

The difference from last year, though, is the Tiger Cubs had larger, more technical players. This year they have a more sleek look.

"We're hoping to build a smaller, quicker team," Lilly said.

Most of the returnees are forward players, so goal production should not be a problem. Most of the eight seniors the Tiger Cubs lost last year were defensive, including the goalie, so defense is a question mark for the time being.

"I think we'll score goals," Lilly said. "The question is are we going to be able to keep other teams from scoring goals."

The team is led by co-captains Adam Clute, Eric Davis and Pat Martin. Lilly will be counting on these three and all his seniors to set the tone for th team.

"This is a good group of kids," he said. "They work hard, but have fun doing it."

But the coach has faith in his returnees, knowing the question really falls to the younger players.

"The key is going to be on how the underclassmen progress through the year," he said.

One factor which gives Lilly faith in the younger players is the success they had last year in junior varsity. The Tiger Cubs compiled an 8-2 JV mark.

"Our JV teams have always been solid," Lilly said. "With the incoming freshmen, I think our JV has a good chance of matching that record this year."

The Tiger Cubs varsity record was 8-3-3 last year, and Lilly sees no reason the 2007 team shouldn't look to do at least this well. He pointed out all but two of last year's games were competitive, so the teams who defeated or tied them are on their radar.

"We'd like to reverse our fortunes," Lilly said. "I would expect to see us compete."

The only problems could come in the large schools on Greencastle's schedule.

"For our size school, it's always hard to match up with 4A and 5A schools."

One important goal for the seniors is to win the WCC championship. They were all freshmen the last time the Tiger Cubs took the conference title, and would like to do so again in their final year.

The coach simply wants to see his team improve throughout the year an be ready for a good sectional run.

Cougars get back to basics

By CAINE GARDNER, Sports Writer

BAINBRIDGE -- Key position changes and a concentration on fundamentals will be the focus of the North Putnam Cougar boys soccer team.

"We're fairly young, but I think we're starting out pretty good," head coach Dave Moeller said. "We lost a lot of key seniors last year in key positions and it will tough to replace them but I think we'll be competitive."

North Putnam junior John Taggert dribbles during a practice last week.
Moeller is in his third year with the Cougars and despite key losses due to graduation, he believes his squad has the ability to turn its fortunes around.

"We have 15 players on the team, including six freshmen and I'm happy with that," Moeller said.

A key change for the Cougars will occur in the net. Having lost their starting goalie from a year ago, the Cougars will look to T.J. Wilhite to be their new stopper in the net.

"He's actually new to the position this year," Moeller stated. "Last year he was a forward for us and did really well, but we lost our goalie and he wanted to play, so I had no objections. He's very athletic."

North is welcoming back three seniors for the 2007 season, two of which Moeller will look upon the set the tone on opposite sides of the ball for the Cougars.

"B.J. (Brewer) offensively, hopefully he can kind of control the game and the tempo, while Kyle (Smith) is a little more of a defensive player, so we'll look to him to control the defensive side of the ball," Moeller said.

The Cougars have trained during the summer but have really hit the field hard the past few weeks, something their coach feels will be to their advantage.

"We've had summer workouts twice a week but other than that most people have been showing up the past two weeks," Moeller responded. "So I've been working them pretty hard trying to get them in shape for the season.

"We work hard at practice. People come out here and give a hundred percent. Skill wise, it's tough for us to compete with other schools because other schools have more experience at soccer. Some of these guys, it's their first time playing out here," added Moeller.

With his field leaders and a new goalie, Moeller is hoping these changes will result in the Cougars turning around its record from a year ago.

"This is my third year here and we've had a tough few seasons before this. Last year we were 4-12," Moeller commented. "I think with T.J. back in goal, that will help a lot, so I think we can win some more game this year."

The Cougars will start their season against Danville on the road at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

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