Turnover is nothing new for a St. Xavier High School (Louisville, Kentucky) soccer team that annually has large senior classes, so Tigers coach Andy Schulten isn’t concerned about having just two starters back from last year’s state championship team.
“We spend the first third to the first half of the season to see who can step up and play at this level,” Schulten said. “Some of them aren’t quite used to the speed of play and thinking, but they usually adapt very quickly. In our program it’s tough to be a junior because they tend to sit behind the seniors.”
The Tigers once again will field a talented squad this year as they chase their third straight state championship. St. X is the only team in state history to win three straight titles, accomplishing the feat from 2007-09.
The Tigers lost their top two scorers from last season in Conner George (Michigan State signee) and Case Cox (University of Kentucky signee) but still have plenty of offensive weapons. Seniors Chris Willis (11 goals) and A.J. Chastonay (six goals, four assists) and junior Jackson Marks (eight goals, two assists) return after playing reserve roles last season.
Schulten said senior midfielder Clayton Stanbery and senior defender Spencer Allen — the only returning starters — will play key roles. Stanbery is recovering from a back injury suffered in an automobile accident and will see limited playing time early in the season.
Schulten said the Seventh Region will be as tough as ever, with Collegiate, Kentucky Country Day and Trinity all top contenders to make the state tournament.
“Collegiate could be something else this year; they’re outstanding,” Schulten said. “Trinity probably lost more in their lineup than we did, but they still have three guys who could be All-Staters. They’ll be solid.”
Here’s a look at other Louisville area programs (note: several schools did not respond to a request for information):