ALL SPORTS CHAMPS
NCC ATHLETE OF
Boys soccer kick starts into 2012
August 13, 2012North Central Conference
by Beau Wicker
Logansport’s boys soccer team is three years removed from its first undefeated regular season and last sectional title.
The Berries haven’t been able to achieve that kind of success the last two seasons, falling short in sectional play both years, and coach Mike Turner thinks it has not been a lack of talent but execution.
“We have to get our goal-scoring percentage up from last year,” he said. “We had a lot of opportunities last year and fell short on finishing. Opening up that’s the focus of the team: communicating and goal scoring.”
The Berries have to regroup this season, as they enter having lost nine starters to graduation from last year’s team that went 7-9-1.
“We’re young but still experienced,” Turner said. “We have seven seniors back, and they got a lot of minutes last year. I don’t think the pressure is going to bother them. They’ve been taking the lead pretty well. I’m pleased with the practices and they’ve been showing well.
“We have a really huge junior class with 13 juniors. At least six of them saw varsity time last year. I think we’ll be pretty decent, but we’ve got some big shoes to fill.”
The Logan coach thinks that departed goalkeeper Jackson O’Brien will be the most difficult player to replace. O’Brien was a two-year starter in goal who provided strong play and leadership there. Turner said there’s a good competition between three players battling for the starting spot, and all three could get a good look at the beginning of the season.
Turner is looking to get some scoring from returning forwards Ramon DeLatore and Aung Koko. He added a junior who’s out for the team this year for the first time, Ram Bo, has shown a lot of quickness and skill in the early practices.
Kevin Gonzalez saw a lot of time in the midfield last year and is back. Noe Valencia also returns, as does Jose Tavarez, who was a key player last year that missed much of the season with a torn ACL. Heath Vincent is stepping in for the departed Jose Molina at defensive mid. “Jose kept everyone organized in the back. Those are big shoes to fill,” Turner said.
The Logan coach is most concerned with the team’s communication at the start of the season.
“We haven’t had anybody step up with leadership on the field,” he said. “We don’t have a senior leader who is communicating real well, with the other guys to follow. Hopefully we’ll pick it up.”
Goals as always include winning North Central Conference and sectional titles.
“Last year was one of the toughest conferences we’ve had,” Turner said. “It’s not looking much easier. Kokomo graduated a lot of seniors but so did we. Our conference is going to be very tough again this year.
“The last two years we’ve been right in it until the end and we have lost focus. We’re going to focus hard on conference and get that taken care of. The sectional is going to be tough as well.”
Logan opens its season at Frankfort on Tuesday.