XENIA — Greene County boys soccer teams have experienced a run of success in last five years and 2022 should see that continue forward with another strong group of league contenders.
Three of the eight schools made it to its respective district finals in the postseason in 2021 and seven of the eight finished in the top-three of the league they play in with three bring home championships.
Defense and goalkeeping are the key to success and four seniors will bring experience and a brick wall with them as Nate Fellie, Krishan Miller, Cole Roberts and Jaydon Smith will be a few of the top keepers in the Miami Valley.
That’s not to discount being able to get the ball in the net on offense, as five area athletes scored at least 20 goals last year and two of them return. Eli Eyrich and his dynamic scoring capabilities bring entertainment to the pitch. and he could reach 100 career goals scored this year as he only needs to eclipse just over half of his scoring total from last year to reach the milestone. Parker Burke could set himself up in 2023 to reach the same plateau with another strong season this year after netting 40 goals in his first two years.
The season kicks off today, but the majority of local schools will get underway on August 20 and 23.
The state boys soccer tournament draw will take place on October 9 and sectional play is scheduled to begin on October 17.
Here are previews of all area schools:
(Statistics from 2021 season)
2021: 15-3-2, 5-2-0 GWOC (2nd), lost to St. Xavier (0-0, 4-3 PKs) in district final
Coach: Jason Guiliano (4th year, 44-6-8)
Players to watch: Max Albrecht, Sr. (12 goals, 4 assists, 53 shots); Tyler Araujo, Sr. (10 gls, 1 ast, 28 shots); Charlie Carpenter, Sr. (3 gls, 3 ast, 34 shots); Braydon Sizemore, Sr., (1 gls, 1 ast, 14 shots); John Sutton, Sr. (0 gls, 3 ast, 14 shots); Cole Roberts, Sr (113 saves, 16 goals against, .876 percentage, 5.5 shutouts)
Outlook: Another heartbreaking exit for a fourth straight district final can be motivation for this group to be the one to break back through. The Beavers always have a large number of talented players and will have the goalkeeping to back them up as they go for a third GWOC title in four seasons.
Bellbrook Golden Eagles
2021: 14-4-3, 7-2-0 SWBL (2nd, East), lost to Oakwood (3-0) in regional semifinal
Coach: Michael Crane (4th year, 40-15-5)
Players to watch: Brooks Judd, Sr. (1 gls, 6 ast); Caleb Warner, Sr. (4 gls, 1 ast); Aiden Smith, Sr. (2 gls, 2 ast); Grant Driskell, So. (7 saves, 5 goals against, .583 percentage)
Outlook: After losing one of the top players in the state who heads off to college, the Golden Eagles will need to find new goal scoring options. Will be tough to accomplish while getting a new primary goalie ready at the same time.
2021: 10-5-4, 4-0-1 GCL (1st), lost to Springboro (2-0) in sectional final
Coach: Scott Molfenter (31st year at Carroll, 511-77-58 (33 seasons))
Players to watch: Lucas Truckenmiller, Jr. (4 goals, 3 assists); Andrew Ober, Sr. (5 gls, 2 ast); Sammy Deep, Sr. (5 gls, 5 ast); Carter Valentine, Sr. (3 gls, 1 ast); Shawn Seymour, So. (3 gls, 3 ast); Michael McHugh, Sr. (1 gls, 1 ast)
Outlook: A rare year the Patriots did not reach a district final in the 2021 postseason can only make this group hungry to get back to its winning ways. Goal scoring needs to improve after being shutout eight times last year in order to support a a good defensive unit that’s traditionally tough to score against.
2021: 10-6-1, 6-2-1 MVL (1st, Valley), lost to Northmont (1-0) in sectionals
Coach: Derek Gattambone (1st year, 0-0-0)
Players to watch: Jaydon Smith, Sr. (118 saves, 29 goals against, .803 percentage, 7.5 shutouts); Joseph Rutan, Jr. (6 goals, 10 assists, 37 shots); Robert Bray, Sr. (2 gls, 3 ast, 11 shots); Damin Langdon, Jr. (2 gls, 4 ast, 10 shots); Hayden Picarello, Sr. (1 gls, 1 ast, 2 shots); Jacob Kurtz, Sr., (2 gls, 1 ast, 15 shots)
Outlook: A veteran team brought home a league title, but now more than 75 percent of the team’s goal scorers from that team have graduation. Luckily, the Skyhawks will potentially have one of the best goalkeepers in the area to give the attack time to find its footing.
2021: 11-7-0, 5-2-0 OHC (3rd), lost to Yellow Springs (4-1) in sectional final
Coach: T.J. Milby (2nd year, 11-7-0)
Players to watch: Hayden Laudermilk, Jr. (11 goals, 4 assists); Jordan Erisman, Sr. (9 gls, 2 ast); Andrew Hurley, Jr. (5 gls, 13 ast); Layne Applegate, Jr. (2 gls, 3 ast); Sammy Jones, Sr. (3 gls, 7 ast); Jakub Laudermilk, So., (2 gls, 2 ast)
Outlook: The Rams lose one of the best players in the country to graduation, but have a solid core returning that it could count on for the next few years. Goalkeeping is one of the biggest question marks which needs an answer to determine its chances in the league.
Legacy Christian Knights
2021: 14-4-0, 2-2 MBC (3rd), lost to Miami East (1-0) in sectional final
Coach: Joe McCaskey (2nd year, 14-4-0)
Players to watch: Adam Newell, Jr. (128 saves, 13 goals against, .908 percentage, 9 shutouts), Parker Burke, Jr. (28 goals, 13 assists, 94 shots); Dillon Campbell, Jr. (16 gls, 17 ast, 71 shots); Boede Campbell, Sr. (9 gls, 6 ast, 31 shots); Andrew Riddle, Sr. (3 gls, 1 ast, 13 shots); Ethan Cooper, Sr. (4 gls, 1 ast, 9 shots)
Outlook: Almost everyone returns from a strong team which should contend for its second league title in three seasons. All four losses in 2021 came against its best opponents and the Knights will need to take away the positives from those experiences to get over the hump this year.
2021: 3-12-2, 2-6-1 MVL (4th, Valley), lost to Beavercreek (5-0) in sectionals
Coach: John Bongers (4th year, 17-25-10)
Players to watch: Nate Fellie, Sr. (170 saves, 49 goals against, .776 percentage, 3 shutouts); Simon Dykman, Sr. (2 goals, 3 assists); Jack Uszynski, Jr. (1 gls, 1 ast); Luke Cushman, Jr. (1 gls); Tanner Prether, Sr. (1 ast); Saleh Essa, Sr. (1 gls, 2 ast)
Outlook: Don’t let the numbers fool you on Fellie. Opposing coaches raved in 2021 how they would insert him as their top goalkeeper immediately. The Bucs need to find ways to get the ball in their opponents net more often.
Yellow Springs Bulldogs
2021: 17-1-0, 4-0 MBC (1st), lost to Mariemont (5-0) in district finals
Coach: Ben VanAusdal (11th year, 123-44-18)
Players to watch: Eli Eyrich, Sr. (40 goals, 19 assists, 123 shots); Krishan Miller, Sr. (77 saves, 12 goals against, .865 percentage, 7 shutouts); Dylon Mapes, Sr. (19 gls, 20 ast, 71 shots); Henry Smith-Heston, Sr. (9 gls, 8 ast, 67 shots); Issac Grushon, Jr. (3 gls, 6 ast, 17 shots); Alex VanAusdal, So. (2 gls, 2 ast, 9 shots)
Outlook: The reigning MBC champs should be considered one of the best squads in Southwest Ohio. The team scored more than 100 goals and won 15 of its 17 games by at least two goals last year. Eyrich and Mapes will be a tough duo for any team to shut down.
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.