'Cats soccer ready for season start
The Cassville High School soccer team and the Energizer Bunny have one thing in common: they both keep going and going, no matter the situation.
The Wildcats are always in the district title hunt. Head coach Andrew Hoskins, in his third year, has proven that he knows how to prepare his team for the season and district tournament.
The Wildcats upset top-ranked Carl Junction in Hoskins first season and took the number one seed Monett Cubs to overtime last year.
Losing last year in districts to them (Monett) put a bitter taste in our mouth," said Hoskins. "We really look forward to playing them this year."
The Wildcats look to replace his scoring and the play of fellow graduates Indy Cole, goalie, midfielder Diego Ortega, and fullbacks Brady Pry and Jacob Clere, and striker David Verde.
Hoskins will count on a solid mix of returning starters and hungry newcomers on the 2013-14 roster.
Wyatt Lopez, a veteran sweeper, will be asked to anchor the defense as the team's new goalkeeper.
Zach McGuffey tallied 13 goals last season. He will be counted on for more this year.
Trever Supulver and Kendal Branham return at wing and striker. Branham totaled five goals and 14 assists last year and worked well in tandem with Supulver, who scored four goals.
The last two returning starters are Jacob Young and Ethen Reidlinger, who give the Wildcats depth in defense and some options.
During summer workouts, Ricky Hernandez, a senior, showed great potential and will challenge for a starting spot.
"The core of our defense is returning and should be able to keep us in every game while helping our new goaltender adjust," said Hoskins. "Our team's biggest strength will be a new and potent offense. This year's team has the right ingredients to be dangerous on both sides of the ball. I would say our greatest need for growth would be bringing the new players into the varsity fold and seeing if we can have the chemistry of a team."
One spot that needs to be filled is between the pipes. The leading candidate is sophomore Pafou Vang.
"We are going to be young but I really like our group," said Hoskins. "We have some athletic newcomers that could be an immediate impact. We are going to have a record number of kids out this year for both high school and middle school."
Cassville opens the season on Sept. 3 at Neosho. The Wildcats home opener is Sept. 5 against Springfield Catholic.