By TODD LAMBERTH
Brentwood and Ravenwood’s soccer teams are tasked with replacing top talent from last year’s squads, while Christ Presbyterian Academy and Nolensville return several key players.
Veteran Bruins coach Mike Purcell loses 20 goals from last year’s squad that won 12 games but is confident in the potential that his team presents going into this season.
With Cameron Williams (10 goals, 8 assists in 2017) graduating and Mo Kandlstorter (10 goals, 6 assists) returning to his home country of Austria to finish high school, Brentwood will need some players to step up in the attacking third this season.
The midfield returns the most experience for the Bruins. Team captain Jack Lippe will be looked at to orchestrate things for the Bruins. The senior midfielder is the top returning scorer after finding the goal five times a year ago. Senior Ethan Wade (3 goals, 4 assists) and junior Sam Khomtchenko (2 goals, 4 assists) also bring valuable experience to the midfield.
Sophomore Austin Moore (4 goals, 4 assists) looks to improve upon a solid freshman season as he steps in as the top forward on the squad.
“It would be my expectation and hope to see us make steady improvement as the season progresses,” Purcell said. “The quality of our competition is such that we will have to get better to be competitive. I think we have the players who have a good chance of coming through in this regard.”
Junior Jake Severino steps into net as the full-time starter this season, while freshmen Ricky Ybarra and Jonathan Preston will immediately step in as starters and look to make an impact.
CHRIST PRESBYTERIAN ACADEMY
The Lions enter the 2018 season with a wealth of experience after falling in the Class A-AA semifinals a year ago.
Coach Tom Gerlach hopes that experience will pay dividends this season as CPA moves to Division II-A.
“Last year, we saw Greeneville in the state semi finals and we saw a team that wanted it more than we did,” Gerlach said. “We had lost that fire and have been training very hard to get that passion back.”
While the Lions lose their leading scorer from a year ago in team captain Owen Keck, they boast six seniors on this year’s squad, along with seven juniors.
While they return a host of players from last year’s semifinal team, they’ll look to underclassmen to step up and provide depth off the bench this year.
Nolensville’s third-place district finish in its inaugural season last year has head coach Eric Shelton optimistic heading into Year Two.
“Last year was a learning experience for our team in gaining an understanding of the level of competition we will face at the district level,” Shelton said. “It’s a long season with little recovery time and hopefully we are more aware of the demands as a team and as individuals.”
While being in just their second year as a program means the Knights don’t lose any seniors from last year’s squad, it also has Shelton still building depth and experience in his program.
Junior forward Hunter Hollis is back and will be looking to build upon his nine goals from his sophomore campaign.
Juniors Cameron Hess and Dylan Thomas, who both will also serve as captains for the team, lead the Knight defense.
Ravenwood returns to the pitch after capturing the District 12-AAA championship a year ago.
The Raptors went 7-3-3 in their 2017 campaign, including a 4-0-2 district record.
The team lost a few key players to graduation, including Baker Lockhart (Belmont) and Blake Sams (University of North Florida).
“We will have many things to work on this season,” Ravenwood head coach Jose Londono said. “However, with that said, I am very proud of their work and progress at this point.”