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Boys Soccer: 2013 Downriver League season preview (PHOTO)

Trenton senior Garrett Nabozny will head up another strong team for the Trojans, a squad that will be led by first-year boys' Coach Mike Hatfield.

After a big win over Woodhaven to secure a Downriver League championship last fall, the Anderson Titans will be playing with a big target on their back.

But Coach Larry Lankford has moved from JV to varsity this season and knows the types of players he brings with him.

“We’re going to be a young team this year, but we’re going to have a good pace,” Lankford said. “What I’m really excited about is I got a chance to coach JV last year and I’ve seen the talent we have.”

The 16 man team consists of five seniors and just two juniors. The rest will be freshmen and sophomores who, although young, come with a solid foundation of soccer knowledge.

The biggest losses for the Titans came in the form of Steven Gatowski, Kyle Johnson, Trevor McCan, Ian Sparks, Brandon Lasavik and captain Nick Sternal.

Leading the team this year will be captains Richard Hodnicki, Ben Senior and Jon Bennard.

Senior returns for his final season in between the posts for Anderson and Lankford has full confidence in his keeper.

“He’s one of the best keepers I’ve seen and having him for his senior year is fantastic for the team,” he said. “It boosts my confidence on what we can do on defense.”

Lankford enjoys watching Hodnicki and says the senior has improved since last year.

“He’s so good it looks like he’s moving in slow motion,” Lankford said. “He’s very confident on the field, (but) he’s not cocky.

“He’s developed into a really good leader (and) he’s really grown.”

Lankford is excited to get things started and see what his team can do, coming off the league championship.

“Every team at the beginning of the season wants to win a league and a district title, and right now that’s what our goals are,” he said. “But at any level you have a new coach and a lot of new players, all you can do is take it one game at a time and watch how they progress and help them along.

“It doesn’t matter how good a coach can be if you don’t have the players willing to put in the work. You have to develop that in preseason and continue.”

Up first for the Titans is Melvindale who could give them a run for teir money.

“Melvindale got so strong at the end of the season, it was impressive to watch,” Lankford said. “That’s certainly a team you cannot overlook.

“That’s a team you have to be prepared to play your best soccer against.”

Overall, Lankford expects this fall to be a great one.

“We’ve very healthy,” he said. “They have a fantastic attitude and everybody’s upbeat.

“They worked hard in the offseason and they worked very hard the week of tryouts. I know there’s a lot of talent down here (and) it should be fun.”



Trenton

A year after securing a spot in the district final, the Trenton boys’ soccer team is back on the field once again; this season with a new coach.

Mike Hatfield has coached the Trenton girls’ team for the past two years and has taken over the role as head coach for the boys, starting this fall.

Hatfield knows it will take some time to adjust, but is ready to dive into an already promising program.

“(I’m) basically taking over a successful program and hoping to grow and get better,” Hatfield said. “It will take time to learn players, styles of play and shapes of play.

“It’s always tough the first year for comfortability of players and coaches, but my job is to minimize that time.”

Several key players return to the Trojan lineup this year, including Garret Nabozny who was All News Herald, All District, All Regional, Division 2 All State Honorable Mention and team MVP last season.

Tad Davis, Joey Godoman, Brendan Kozial, Matt Smellie and Brett Chearhart also return to the lineup as key contributors.

Overall, Hatfield expects it to be a good season with the team.

“My expectations are to grow and be competitive and hope to improve by each and every game.”



Woodhaven

It was a disappointing ending for the Woodhaven boys’ soccer team who lost three of their final six games and dropped to third place in the Downriver League.

But this fall the Warriors are back and ready to put themselves back into the top of the competitive league with a mix of old and new.

“We have a mix of experience and also younger players with excellent potential,” Woodhaven Coach Bernie Turner said. “The latter group has a development period, but is the key to a successful season for us.”

Last year the team was plagued with injuries, but Turner hopes to avoid those problems by stepping up his team’s conditioning level.

Key players for the Warriors this season include Austin Von Linsowe in goal and Turner said he is looking good between the pipes.

Veteran Alan Guzman will return to the field bringing excitement to the team and Jacob Bak, while always solid on defense, will be tested on his ability to score.

Justin Coghill will find himself at back striker, distributing balls.

Yousef Safah and Grant Baker will perform the tasks of central defenders while Justin Underwood and Brendan Machcinski will take care of things at outside full-back.

At mid-field slots there are several players who will compete for time.

Austin Scipione returns to the field and is solid at winning the ball.

Adam Czestochowski is a seasoned veteran returning and Luke Baker is back after missing last season with a broken ankle.

Up front, Deavyn Dishroon has been looking great, according to Turner, and he will be helped out by newcomers Marcus Vianueva and David Camarena.

Also newcomers to the varsity squad and reinforcements for the rear guard are Tyler Addison and Andrew Boardman. Joining them are first-years Blake Panning, Josh Roman and Lucas Dupuis who will spend time at midfield and up front.

Overall, Turner expects a good season from his boys.

“I expect the same intense competition from the top four or five teams in the league and hopefully we will reach our potential and be competing for the top spots at the season’s end,” Turner said.



Melvindale

After finishing fourth place in the Downriver League last season, the Cardinals are ready to go this season, looking to build off positives from last year’s success.

Melvindale finished 11-7 in 2012 and made it to the second round of district play before seeing their season end at the hands of Redford Union.

The Cards did lose some key players last year in the form of Husam Yahya, Jose Castillo and Ahmed Musa. Musa was a 21-goal scorer and although he will be difficult to replace, second year Coach Brian Fritz has some key returners.

Khaley Musa, Juan Quezada, Juan Castillo and Hector Lopez are all returning veterans and expected to contribute.

The role of team captain belongs to Adrian Guevara, Quezada and Musa.

Fritz is optimistic about the fall.

“We are extremely excited about this upcoming season,” he said. “We are looking to build off some positive things from last season and competing in this very difficult league.

“We have a great group of young men that work hard in the classroom and on the field.”

The Cards open their season on Aug. 23 against defending league champ Anderson.



Truman

An experienced core is what the Cougars will be bringing to the field for the 2013 Downriver League season.

Truman finished in the middle of the pack last season with an 8-8 DRL record and finished 9-10 when the playoffs were said and done.

Coach Gary Glitz returns to the sidelines for his fifth season along with seven starters from last year.

Juniors Ramiro Sauceda and Zack Glitz return for their third varsity outing to lead the Cougar midfield.

Seniors Nathan Pykor (defender) and Garrett Nickell (midfield/forward) will hold the role of captains.

Junior Trevor Charboneau will be back in between the posts for most of the goalkeeping and twin brother Travis is looking to settle into one of the vacant starting spots this year.

Junior Zach Laster and Sophomore Seth Glitz will team up with Pykor to handle the defensive side of things.

Although low on depth, Glitz believes the experienced core is what will help the team.

“We have some big holes to fill and yet still look to continue the building process,” Glitz said. “We need to take the next step, which is to win the close games.”

Last year the Cougars had nine (five OTs) one-goal games and only won four of them.

“Our goal differential was only minus one,” Glitz said. “This was the results of a stringy defense and yet we could not seem to capitalize on many of our scoring changes that we had, so we had a lot of close games.

“This year we look to continue to be tight defensively and yet to put more goals in the net.”



Kennedy

A perfect mix of young and old is exactly what the Kennedy team will be using on the field this season and second year Coach Kyle Rapley is optimistic about the year.

Last season the Eagles finished in the bottom of the league and made it to the district semi-finals before being defeated by Riverview.

Although the team finished with a 4-13 record, Rapley believes it was a better season than that.

“The saying ‘you are what your record says you are’ doesn’t ring true here do to the fact that we lost some really close games that could have gone either way,” Rapley said. “And (we) competed with some of the best teams in the league.”

Kennedy only lost three players to graduation last year and although they played important roles, Rapley believes their roles on the field will be filled by this year’s players.

Key returners include junior goalkeeper Brenna Dukes, junior midfielders Troy Busch and Jacob Linville and a pair of attack-minded brothers Igli (senior) and Enri Nuni (junior).

Dukes and Busch will hold the role of captain.

“I look forward to their respective maturation processes as players and leaders on this team in training and match play,” Rapley said.

Rapley is excited to get things started this fall.

“I am very excited to see our team make strikes as a whole due to the quality of our youth and new players on the team,” he said. “We have easily five or six players who will make an impact the second they step on the field.

“There’s tremendous potential when we put the two groups together, our inexperienced youth players and seasoned veterans on the team.”

Conditioning this summer was a success for the Eagles and Rapley says the team made huge strides in terms of strength and physical and mental toughness.

“We are definitely playing with a chip on our shoulder this year and will never be satisfied or become complacent,” he said. “This is one difference I can tell you about this team compared to last year’s team.”

Overall, Rapley is looking for his team to treat every opportunity in practice as if it were a game situation and to make the most of their time together.

The Eagles start their season on Aug. 23.



Carlson

Last season was not exactly what the Marauders wanted.

But this year, Coach Mario Parody returns for his second season, and with three seniors and a large junior class, expects things to be different.

Carlson has come off a strong 23-day conditioning session and the 21-man team is ready to go.

“Last season was not much in our favor,” Parody said. “We appeared to start off in a suitable competitive form, but were later affected by injuries to key players, stronger competition and not many breaks on the field.

“Unfortunately we finished low in the standings and were eliminated in the first round of the district competition.”

The Marauders did lose several seniors last year who had key roles at forward, midfield and goal, but return several key starters.

Senior Joe Williams and juniors Ethan Livernois, Damian Ovalle, Erick Serratos and Lorenzo Parody are all expected to contribute on the field.

Parody expects his group this year to be more balanced, talent-wise throughout the squad and hopes to be better the season.

“The boys appear to have a deeply rooted determination to work towards becoming a strong and better team,” Parody said. “We’re taking this season one game at a time and aspire to improve on last year’s performance.”



Lincoln Park

The Lincoln Park boys’ soccer team is looking to throw itself into the chase for a Downriver League Championship this season.

The Rails will be led by senior captains Diego Palomino, Giovanni Gonzales and Armando Ortiz.

Coach Tommy Nuttall also expects strong play from Jose Altamiraro, Cesar Cuevas, Fastu Cuevas, Luis Marales and from Dan Barraza between the posts.









Last Updated: 8/20/2013 3:03:00 PM EST

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