WYOMING – The quest begins Aug. 27 for Wyoming High School’s boys soccer team as they open up the Cincinnati Hills League against Madeira.
The goal for coach Steve Thomas and the Cowboys is a league title; something Wyoming soccer hasn’t had since 1998.
The Cowboys are coming off a solid third-place finish in the CHL where they finished 11-7-1 and 5-2 in the league ahead of Madeira’s 4-3. Ahead were the Mariemont Warriors at 7-0 and Indian Hill at 6-1.
Back for Thomas is sophomore striker Andrew Derge, who led the team in goals with 15 and was first-team CHL and all-Southwest Ohio as a freshman. Along side of Derge is junior striker and second team CHL pick Jay Klein.
Behind the offense is senior midfielder and second team selection Toby Varland, senior honorable mention defender Sam Izenson and three-year varsity midfielder and senior Andy Renggli.
“(We have a) very competitive team this year, which should make for a legitimate bid for the CHL title,” Thomas said.
After opening with Walnut Hills and Princeton at home, Wyoming visits Anderson on Aug. 21 before the CHL showdown at Madeira Aug. 27. Other notable league battles are at Indian Hill Sept. 16 and against Mariemont Aug. 23.
Princeton High School plans to keep building on its steady improvement over the last several seasons.
The Vikings were 8-4-5 overall in 2013, including a 4-3-2 mark in the Greater Miami Conference that left them tied for fifth place with Fairfield.
Of course, the hyper-competitive GMC produced the 2013 Division I state champion in Mason High School and Princeton head coach Tony Capurro knows his team has a way to go to catch the Comets.
“It’s really difficult to get out of the middle of the pack in our league,” Capurro said. “I’ve always wanted to do one game better, one place better, than we did the year before, which we’ve done every year since I’ve been here. So that would men this year beating a Fairfield, a Lakota West, and moving up to fourth in the league.
“We have a very old team this year, but very inexperienced, if that makes sense. At least on the varsity level. We have lots of players up from the JV team and some new seniors, too, so it’s just getting them ready to play at the varsity level.”
Returning players all ready up to speed include senior co-captain Andrew Rolfes who played center midfield last year and will begin the season at forward. Senior co-captain Jared Grubich is a fourth-year starter who plays center mid and defender.
Senior Jacob Russel returns as a defender while classmate Tre Pate was an all-GMC selection at forward last season. Sophomore R.J. Wilson looks to be the favorite in a three-way race for the keeper position.
“We usually like to solidify our defense before we do anything else, but we might be a little different this year with the team we have,” Capurro said. “We have a lot of guys who can score, so we may look at that as our strength.”
With 251 wins coming into the season at Moeller High School, Crusaders soccer coach Randy Hurley will be looking to get his team back over .500 in the ultra-competitive Greater Catholic League-South.
The Crusaders were 5-9-3 (2-4 GCL South) for third place. Moeller last won a league title in 2010.
Top players returning for Hurley are senior center back Mitch Meece, a first team all-league pick last year; senior defender Josh Brunker; senior midfielder Drew Scott and senior defender/midfielder Cody Swartz. Other seniors are goalkeeper Anthony Whyle and forwards Jake Giebler and Ryan Frank.
Moeller begins at Walnut Hills Aug. 21. The home opener is Aug. 23 with Centerville.