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By Nick Schrager
The defending district soccer champions, the Marion County Knights are preparing for the 2013 season, and they hope to have repeat of last year, according to Coach Greg Conley, who has been coaching around Kentucky for 21 years.
“We have a lofty goal, we want to repeat as district champions and we want to get back in the regionals, period,” Conley said.
The Knights soccer team had a winning season of 13-10 in 2012 and fought their way to their final game against Central Hardin in the regional tournament, a game they lost 3-0.
This year, the Knights return several players who have been with the team since middle school. Conley said many of them are talented and bring skills to the team.
“We have high expectations this year,” Conley said.
The Knights lost their five-year goal keeper, Michael Costello, to graduation, and Conley said there are two very good sophomores competing for the open position. Because of this, Conley said, the team does have some catching up to do.
Outside of the goal, they team returns a lot of experienced players, including seniors Joey Costello, Ryan Brady, Trevor Hood, Alex Smith, Brandon Knopp, Jake Smith and Dylan Spalding. The Knights also welcome two new seniors, Blake Higdon and Rodrigo Berlanda.
“It’s a pretty heavily stacked upper-class team,” Conley said.
Returning underclassmen include Chase Lancaster, Oswald Cruz and Curt Spalding.
Conley added that some new players could make an impact, including freshmen Dalton Hammon and Alan Guzman and sophomores Gregory Huff and Connor Mattingly.
Conley said Central Hardin is the team to beat in the 5th Region. They knocked the Knights out of the regionals last year.
Regardless, Conley is very optimistic about this year.
“I think we should be in line for a good season,” he said.