Mt. Vernon’s boys soccer team returns nine starters after advancing to the regional championship game a year ago.
Richmond is working with five returning varsity players and the Red Devils had a tough first task to open the 2016 season, falling to the Marauders 5-0 Tuesday at Lyboult Field.
Jarrett Whitehouse and Carson Jones each had two goals, while Matt Schafer scored one as the Marauders opened the season 1-0.
“Definitely a good opener for us,” Mt. Vernon head coach Matt Mayhew said. “We’ve been doing a lot of work over the summer, so it was good to get out and actually play a game that counts.”
It was a game that Richmond was itching to play, too, after the Red Devils’ scrimmage at Union County was canceled over the weekend.
Still, the Red Devils have been making defensive changes and had yet to play together in a competitive game.
“Different team this year, I think last year’s team might have lost 13-0,” Richmond coach Matt Haynes said. “We’re trying to play a different type of defense, trying to play patient. This field is not as conducive as we would like to playing slow. But we do what we have to do.”
Mt. Vernon scored almost immediately after kickoff and held a 2-0 lead at halftime.
The Marauders opened the second half with a nongoalie save, while goalkeeper Josh Powell made five saves.
Logan Angelopulos, Jones, Drew Heitman, Schafer and Whitehouse each had an assist for the Marauders.
“A little slow in the first half in terms of possession for us,” Mayhew said. “In the second half, I thought we did a lot better playing to maintain the possession. In the first half, I thought it was just nerves.”
Junior Sid Sagna returned as Richmond’s starting goalkeeper and was kept busy by Mt. Vernon’s charge, and Martin Juarez added an impressive nongoalie save late in the game.
The Red Devils return seniors Matt Abrams, Juarez, Noah Mehaffie, Gonzalo Montiel, Matt Murray, Kevin Silva and Ronnie Smith.
Ben Chaney, Sagna, Denis Herrera, Jonathan Herrerra, Michael Meharry, Francisco Mendoza, Edwin Rodriguez and Enrique Sanchez are juniors, w hile Hunter Walters is a sophomore and Ismael Calderon, Andrew Click, Kevin Morales, Jordan Murray, Kush Patel and Nathan Steele are freshmen.
Richmond returns to action Thursday at Muncie Burris.
“Continue to work on being patient. It’s not about individuals; it’s about team play. If a guy comes to me and says, ‘I want to score,’ I say, ‘You want the team to score,’” Haynes said. “The idea is, we’re not individuals, we’re not a team of individuals, we are a team, and we have to trust each other. And that will come when we get more touches on the field and play with each other. Some of these guys have never played with each other, so the communication, we’re working on that.”