With all but three players returning from last season’s team plus an influx of freshmen, the Bryant Hornets soccer team hopes to improve on its 8-14 record from last season and earn a trip to the State tournament, something that evaded them last season.
The Hornets open the 2010 campaign at Benton on Friday, Feb. 19. There will be a JV boys match at 4 p.m., followed by the varsity girls contest at 5:15 then the varsity boys at around 7.[more]
“We played a whole lot of young guys last year,” acknowledged Hornets coach Jason Hay. “I think six or seven ninth graders played considerable varsity time.”
Hay also welcomes back senior Sean Sobba who sat out last year.
“He’s a difference maker,” said the coach. “I’ve also got a German exchange student, Fabian Ruthardt, who’s going to start for us as a defender.”
Hay said the team will be bolstered by the addition of Holden Chavis from football plus Hornets place-kicker Jace Denker will be back. Brandon Parish and Kyle Nossaman will be joining the team after basketball season concludes.
“I think, overall, we should be improved just from the fact that we didn’t lose many people,” he noted. “We’ve got 31 kids on the team and, of those, I think 21 of them are ninth and 10th graders.
“We’re ahead of where we were at the end of the year last year as far as technical skills,” Hay added. “All these kids play all summer and all fall together.”
The team returns starters Devon Norris at keeper and defender Tyler Salminen. Midfielders Jonathan Lowery and Alex Rowlan return along with Sobba at forward.
“We’re going to try to get Devon out and play some in the field this year, if possible,” Hay mentioned.
Sobba will be joined by Jose Vazquez at the forwards with Parish helping there. At wing, Denker will rotate with Peter Alverio on the left side and Forrest Fowler and Jesse Wolf will alternate on the right side. Nossaman will work along with Lowery and Rowlan in the midfield.
Across the backside, Chavis will work at the left outside defender with Ruthardt on the right side. Salminen and Reed Evans will be the center backs with Marshawn Hood working in.
The experience on offense and the return of Sobba should be the formula for improved goal production this season. Last year in 22 matches, the Hornets were shut out eight times and managed just one goal in five others.
“We didn’t really have a true finisher last year,” Hay noted. “Now we’ve got Sobba and Jose then, hopefully, Brandon and Chase Stuart and some guys that have speed can change that. That’s no knock on the guys from last year but we had to put some guys at forward that really weren’t truly forwards. And that’s where, I think, we were lacking last year offensively.”
The team’s seniors are Jonathan Lowery, Sobba, Daniel Tucker, Hood, Tyler Salminen, Parish and Norris.
The juniors include Michael Ma, Evans, Nossaman, Ruthardt and Chavis.
Caleb Lambert, Ryan Watson, Fowler, Rowlan, Wolf, Brendon Guffey, Alec Salminen, Alverio, Chris Oldfield, Denker and Victor Rodarte are sophomores.
Freshmen members of the team are Josh Lowery, Justin Travis, Francisco Zamora, Stuart, Cameron Furton, Vazquez, Rodrigo Rodarte and Carlos Garcia.
The Hornets host Texarkana on Thursday, Feb. 25.