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boys soccer preview: FHS loaded for repeat
Ads nationally ranked, experienced; BHS goalies must step up; HVA ‘smart’


Returning 10 starters from its 2009 Class AAA state championship boys soccer team, Farragut is a national power according to one prestigious ranking.

“We're a top-10 team right now ... according to ESPN,” FHS head coach Wallie Culbreth said about the Admirals national ranking coming off a 22-2-1 season. “I've got a great nucleus.”

“One of our goals this year is to go undefeated,” Culbreth added. “This is the most enthusiastic senior class I've ever had. They really, really want to win.”

However, with powerhouse Knoxville Catholic added to District 4-AAA on top of traditional power/rival Bearden, “Just winning the games that our teams will play around here will be a monumental task,” Culbreth said.

Meanwhile, for Bearden to enjoy success — measured by reaching the state tourney after a state semifinal finish last year — “it's going to come down to our goalie play," SoccerDawgs head coach Eric Turner said. “If our goalies play well, and our goalies have a good year, I think we'll be alright.”


In terms of returning talent, Hardin Valley Academy doesn't match Farragut in proven quality — but Hawks head coach Michael McLean has three newcomers to go with a full slate of talented returnees off an 8-5-1 inaugural program season in 2009.

Previews on all three schools follow (all quotes attributed to that school's head coach).

FARRAGUT

Ryan Stinton, senior All-state midfielder, is one of Culbreth's “Division I” college-level talents, along with senior sweeper Nic Muth. Both were junior captains for the 2009 state champs.

“Having your captains back is real important. Ryan controls the midfield. Many across the state last year said he was the best midfielder in the state.

“With Nic Muth, I've got a great defense in front of him.” The 2009 Ads allowed just one post-season goal. Defender Wayman McLaughlin “brings a lot of speed and jumping ability to the team,” while the senior also can “be worked into the offense. ... Last year my halfbacks scored more goals than my forwards, which is uncharacteristic.”

Seniors Kendrick Schuettler and Marshall Ismael are returning defensive standouts. “Kendrick, Marshall and Wayman are a solid, hard line. They are very physical players, and very, very quick. And all three have improved their touch on the ball.”

Carlos Ramos, Brandon Klarner and Nick Peterson, moved from forward, will join Stinton in the midfield. “They are strong ... that gives me a senior midfield that I feel can play with anybody.”

David Jordan and Andrew Hale are “great players that are working hard to get into starting positions.”

Senior Stephen Matlock, a East Tennessee State signee, returns as goalkeeper.

Concerns? “My concern right now is the inability to score enough goals. I've got to get my forwards putting the ball in the net this year to have a chance repeating as state champion.”

Forward Cody Newby, a junior transfer who was an all-district and all-region honoree in 2009 “was Anderson County's best player.”

Paul Neuefeind, a junior, “Is playing as well as any forward I've got on my team. That's a pleasant surprise. ... He's gotten bigger, he's gotten stronger, he's gotten faster.”

Sam Eddy, a senior forward, also returns. “Sam was a good, strong forward for me last year. And his skills have improved this year.”

BEARDEN

Turner's team looks to improve on a 15-5-5 season last spring behind senior All-state forward Alex Wilkerson and senior standout forward Andrew Sullivan.

Also in the mix as the third starting forward are senior Ben Ferguson and juniors Landon Burke and Sean Yoder.

Senior midfielder Patrick Harmony, also All-state, joins juniors Carter Wykoff and Ryan Ramsey in the middle. Sophomore Andrew Fulcher will see lots of midfield playing time.

Defense features All-Region 2-AAA Seth Williams, a junior, with seniors Isaac Gwin and Garrett Ball and junior Adam Wojnar.

Goalkeeping is a two-man battle between junior Jamie White and senior Will Noggle.

“I think we're going to struggle to score some goals in the beginning. But I like the group that we have. It's just a matter of how they come together as a team, and how our goalies play.

“This team's got the capability of getting back to state ... but the way our district has been realigned, you can't take anything for granted.”

After its first test versus Baylor at BHS's Bruce Allender Field, “I was very happy with the first scrimmage,” Turner said about a 2-0 win Thursday evening, March 4.

“I thought Patrick Harmony had a great game; Seth Willliams had a great game; Wilkerson had a great game, and I thought Andy Sullivan played well.”

HARDIN VALLEY

Forward Nick Skoda, a junior transfer, “will be one of our best players. He's explosive, he's probably one of the quickest players I've coached. Good finisher.”

Senior Justin Haskell, an All-Region 2-AAA forward last season, “is smart, he reads the game well. He's got good skill.”

Sophomore Jonathan Perelman “will get some time at forward,” while Dalton Guzman, a sophomore center-midfielder, “is probably our best all-around player. He doesn't really have a weakness. He's good with the ball, smart, strong, gets other people involved.”

Other midfielders are Hayden Zelem, a junior who brings “skill,” while Ricky Ferre, a senior, is noted for his “work ethic.”

Adding depth is junior Tyler Baker, who “can play anywhere in the midfield.”

Defensive-ly, sophomore Trent Stethen is a team captain who “is our leader, he's kinda our voice on the field, a coach on the field."

He joins Garrett Hay, a junior "who has good pace. Smart, good positioning." On the right side is Devon Cox, a sophomore who “has great pace, he's good in the air.”

Patrick Meek, a senior captain, was the leader at left halfback as of early March.

Joey Hinshaw, a junior goalkeeper, earned the 2009 “Hawk Award” for “Best Character on the Team.”

Strengths? “We're smart ... got some real talented forwards to finish the ball.”

Concerns? “How we match up physically with other teams. ... And We’re still young [two seniors].”

 

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