If the rest of Class 2A expected the West Shore boys soccer team to disappear from the list of state contenders after losing some senior leaders, the Wildcats dispelled that notion a week ago.
By a 2-0 margin one week ago, they defeated the same Berkeley Prep team they beat for the 2A title last season.
“We are returning seven starters from our state championship team, so we start out pretty strong,” head coach John Krehbiel said. “We graduated three of our top four scorers, but I feel pretty good about how our younger players have stepped up into those positions.”
While last year’s FLORIDA TODAY Player of the Year John Bocinsky, Kevin Kurtz and Nabil Motlaugh took their goals with them, the Wildcats are still loaded and one of several teams hoping to end their season on Melbourne High’s field in February.
The host Bulldogs have started 10-3 a year after winning both its district and the Cape Coast Conference championship. Head coach Jerry McCabe said before the season that scoring goals would be his team’s first challenge.
Finishing ahead of Viera will be another important task. The Hawks missed the playoffs a year ago but have started 8-2-2.
“We have everything to prove, and the players know this,” second-year coach Joshua Neff said. “As long as they continue to put the work in and have the right attitude, then the only way is up.”
Eau Gallie, Merritt Island, Rockledge and Titusville were the semifinalists in Class 3A, District 14 last season, and they look like candidates to fill those same spots in 2013.
With five state tournament appearances under 17-year coach Scooty Carey, the Mustangs are covered in tradition. And their roster is loaded with upperclassmen — one senior and nine juniors returned as starters — and they’ve already won nine games with a loss and a tie.
Satellite (9-3-1) could be West Shore’s toughest foe in Class 2A, District 7.
Among the county’s smallest schools, Melbourne Central Catholic in Class 1A, District 11 has started as strongly as anybody in the area at 10-1-1. Cameron Lierman is in goal for a third season, while Phil McKegg is a second-year player with the ability to play at several spots. He had scored 15 goals and assisted on six as of Wednesday.
Holy Trinity coach James Phillips classified the Hustlers as the favorites: “MCC should win the district with the individual talent they have, so to play them twice will be tough.” His Tigers returned six starters from a 17-win team.
Astronaut War Eagles
Head coach: Brian Grooms, 1st year
Last season: 2-14-0
Returning starters: Holden Berry, Jr.; Joseph Day, So.; Wesley Garrett, Jr.; Andrew Harris, Jr.; Austin Horvath, Jr.; Corey King, Sr.; Josh Lawrence, Sr.; Malik Lindo, Jr.; Jamal Loyd, Sr.; Ryan Margagliotti, Jr.; Daniel Mayer, So.; Mike Patel, Jr.; Tyler Sparling, Sr.
Head coach: Eric Hinson, 1st season
Last season: 2-11-4
Returning starters: Jarrett Baron, Jr.; Garrett Allen, Jr.; Matthew Butler, Sr.; Robert Rugalski, Sr.; Marcley Michel, Sr.; Tommy Trist, So.; Richie Carey, Sr.; Aaron Montgomery, Jr.
Head coach: Dennis Barry, 5th year
Last season: 5-13-1
Returning starters: Ray Perez, Sr.; Trevor Braggins, Jr.; Steven Cannon, Jr.; Matthew Werle, Jr.; Julio Morga, So.; Luis Perez, So.
Cocoa Beach Minutemen
Head coach: Laird McLean
Last season: 11-10-1
Returning starters: Marcus Scislaw, Sr.; Parks Honaker, Sr.; John Schneider, So.; Alex Aboutanos, Sr.; Sean Malone, So.
Covenant Christian Lions
Head coach: Marlon Mejia, 4th season
Last season: 6-6-2
Returning starters: 6
Eau Gallie Commodores
Head coach: Kevin Glines, 8th season
Last season: 12-5-1
Returning starters: Brad Ivey, Jr.; Wyatt Kinner, Sr.; Mark Walsh, So.; Nick Spielman, Jr.; Derrick Pezon, Sr.; Adam Rineer, Jr.
Head coach: Eddie Al-Shihabi, 5th season
Last season: 7-6-3
Returning starters: 10
Florida Air Falcons
Head coach: Colin Prest, 3rd season
Last season: 1-13-1
Returning starters: Nikita Simonoz, Jr.; Jean-Michael Querol, Jr.; Kyo Reme, Jr.; Miguel Bargas, Jr.; Tomas Irazuzta, Sr.; Keun Koh, Jr.
Head coach: Steven Stengle, 4th season
Last season: 3-12-1
Returning starters: Ilfranc Augustine, Sr.; Shane Curry, Jr.; Keven Mitton, Sr.; Michael Nosowicz; Bryce Ritter, Jr.; Shaeem Shantiloo, So.; Douglas Smith, Sr.; Austin Wallace, So.
Holy Trinity Tigers
Head coach: James Phillips, 7th season
Last season: 17-6
Returning starters: Dylon Collins, Sr.; Andrew Baez, Sr.; Alex Brown, Sr.; Evan Enders, Jr.; Jake Bacon, Jr.; Austin Riffe, Jr.
Head coach: Jerry McCabe, 22nd season
Last season: 17-2-1
Returning starters: Dean Taechapisuttikul, Sr.; Alex Salazar, Sr.; James Bebey, Sr.; Jamie Carlson, Jr.; Micah Smoak, So.; Spencer Tworkowski, So.; Caleb Glover, Jr.
Melbourne Central Catholic Hustlers
Head coach: Chuck Kelly, 5th season
Last season: 10-6-1
Returning starters: Cameron Lierman, Sr.; Phil McKegg, Jr.
Merritt Island Mustangs
Head coach: Scooty Carey, 17th season
Last season: 10-8-2
Returning starters: Evan Shump, Sr.; Jake Bennett, Jr.; Scott Behrhorst, Jr.; Ian Carey, Jr.; Hunter Daly, Jr.; Parker Duncan, Jr.; Matt Fiorentino, Jr.; Josh Perterson, Jr.; Tyler Rye, Jr.; Michael Seng, Jr.; Jackson Barnes, So.; Bruce Turner, So.
Palm Bay Pirates
Head coach: Brett Keener, 8th season
Last season: 7-12-1
Returning starters: Austin Raulerson, Sr.; Michael Brennan, Jr.; Andrew McDonald, Sr.; Tim Waite, So.; Jorge Sierra, So.; Anderson Velasquez, Jr.; Ben Kendall, Jr.; Colin Sassman, Jr.
Head coach: Skip Arrich, 34th season
Last season: 11-6-2
Returning starters: Jabori Ivory Daniels; Cody Johnson; Gustavo Perez; Garrett Desoto; Coleman Hilburn; Chase Rousseau; Payne Austin; Dylan White; Zack Leibowitz; Nick Hatfield
Head coach: Ryan Moon, 1st season
Last season: 12-11-2
Returning starters: Calvin Smith, Sr.; Carrick Bell, Sr.; Jason Greisamer, Jr.; Nick Namba, Sr.; Bryson Schmidt, Sr.; Oban Cooper, Sr.; Alexander Ferguson, Sr.; Jefferson Packer, Sr.
Space Coast Vipers
Head coach: Daren Krause, 2nd season
Last season: 2-12-2
Returning starters: Kory Marks, Sr.; Zach Gower, Jr.
Head coach: Demetri Vrotsos
Last season: 17-4
Returning starters: Ballard Beasley, Jr.; Dale Carver, Sr.; Kerry Eadens, Sr.; Andrew Geyer, Jr.; Jared Hagerty, Jr.; Alex Horner, Sr.; Daniel Samani, Sr.; Nicholas Stover, Sr.; Joel Thamert, ; William Thompson, Sr.; Yanni Vrotsos, Sr.
West Shore Wildcats
Head coach: John Krehbiel, 5th season
Last season: 22-2
Returning starters: Tyler Moscrip, Sr.; Liam Wixted, Sr.; Jimmy Madden, Sr.; James Bocinsky, Sr.; Ryan Robidoux, Jr.; Aidan Wixted, So.; Allen Joyner, Fr.
Head coach: Joshua Neff, 2nd season
Last season: 8-6-4
Returning starters: Raphael Ayala, Sr.; Cameron Milks, Sr.; Dominic Carillo, So.; Scott Alliance, So., Matt Bolles, Jr.
Finals moving to Melbourne
Finals moving to Melbourne
Melbourne High soccer team Jerry McCabe theorized a year ago that Brevard County should host the state soccer tournament, and his idea is now fact.
The Bulldogs will be the host program for the FHSAA finals during the first two weekends in February.
“We think it’s going to be a great thing for us,” Melbourne athletic director Fred Keeney said Friday. “The Space Coast Sports Commission is backing it, and we’re looking forward to it.”
The commission put in the bid for the event. It also ran the junior college national tournament played at Melbourne Central Catholic the last two years.