Scott Sievering has wardrobe issues.
The first-year Summit Country Day coach not only has big shoes to fill, but his team has a huge target on its back after the Silver Knights won their second consecutive Division III state championship last season.
“We will head into the season expecting our rival to be every team we face,” said Sievering, who takes over for Barnard Baker.
The La Salle High School graduate and former Sycamore boys’ coach has a good mix of returning players in senior forward Austin Smythe, junior center midfielder Charlie Maciejewski and sophomore goalkeeper Nate Logan, who had 14 shutouts last year.
Mason is another defending state champion that may need some time this season to round into form.
The Comets lost 12 seniors from last season’s 21-0-4 team, including Jack Clark, the district and state coaches’ Division I player of the year, as well as The Enquirer’s.
The Comets are counting on senior Brady Daulton to anchor their defense and players such as junior Gary Zhao to mature into starters.
“We lost a tremendously deep and talented senior class from a year ago,” coach Paul Reedy said. “… It may take a few games to figure out personnel and formations that work, but a tough schedule should prepare us for both (Greater Miami Conference) and tournament play.”
That tough GMC competition will almost surely include Lakota West, which lost to Mason in overtime in the regional championship match. The Firebirds, like the Comets, saw graduation decimate their roster, losing 10 seniors and nine starters, but starting goalkeeper Jake Mutlu and centerback Christian Lytle return for coach Rick Cooper.
“I believe, once we have had a chance to play together, we will improve as a team,” Cooper said.
Reedy also expects Sycamore and Lakota East to contend in the GMC, where the competition will be a preview of postseason play.
Turpin, a 1-0 loser to Mason in the regional semifinals, lost a whopping 15 seniors to graduation. Coach Jamie Harloff is counting on senior midfielder Logan Donovan and juniors such as forward Luke Gonos, midfielders Richard Fell and Nick Hogan and goalkeeper Brad Herndon.
“There is plenty of opportunity for the young players stepping in,” Harloff said.
Graduation didn’t just cost the public schools. St. Xavier lost 11 seniors, eight of them starters, while Elder shed nine seniors.
The Bombers retain three senior starters on defense – goalkeeper Henry Stutz, right back Alex Besl and center back Jack Graves.
“We have lots of players waiting to step up into starting roles,” coach Brian Schaeper said.
Bishop Fenwick is poised to lead the local Division II pack with nine returning players from the team that was undefeated until losing to Indian Hill in the regional final.
• Season starts: Aug. 16
• Seed meeting: Oct. 5
• Sectionals start: Oct. 13
• District championship matches: Oct. 23
• Regionals: Semifinals Oct. 28,
Finals Nov. 1
• State semifinals: Nov. 5
• State finals: Nov. 8,
Columbus Crew Stadium