PARKERSBURG - Second-year Parkersburg Catholic head soccer coach Shane Hartshorn has high hopes for his Crusader team this fall.
"I'm expecting a lot out of them this year, to be honest with you," he said.
After all, added Hartshorn, "we lost no one to graduation, and all the starters are coming back except for the goalie."
That's the one fly in the ointment, though, for Hartshorn this season. To fill the void in net, "one of the defenders, (senior) Tully Lynch-Pastoor, had to step into goal for us this year. And that's something new to him, so he's learning every day how to play it."
Last season, the Crusaders went 6-8-4, bettering by far the previous year's mark of 2-12-2.
''So we did pretty well," he said, especially since "about six of the starters last year hadn't played soccer since they were 9 years old. So I was very pleased with them last year."
Crusaders' Soccer Schedule
(All home matches at Jackson Park, Vienna)
Aug. 24: Clarksburg Notre Dame, 11 a.m.; Aug. 27: at Williamstown, 5 p.m.; Aug. 29: Caldwell, 5 p.m.
Sept. 6-7: at Bishop's Cup, TBA; Sept. 10: at Herbert Hoover, 6 p.m.; Sept. 16: at St. Marys, 5 p.m.; Sept. 19: at South Harrison, 5 p.m.; Sept. 21: at Scott, 5 p.m.; Sept. 24: Ravenswood, 5 p.m.; Sept. 26: at Caldwell, 5 p.m.; Sept. 28: at Belpre, 11 a.m.; Sept. 30: at Magnolia, 5:30 p,m.
Oct. 1: South Harrison, 5 p.m.; Oct. 3: St. Marys, 5 p.m.; Oct. 8: Belpre, 5 p.m.; Oct. 10: at Ravenswood, 6 p.m.; Oct. 12: at Wood County Christian, 11 a.m.; Oct. 15: at Tyler Consolidated, 5 p.m.; Oct. 17: Williamstown, 5 p.m. (Senior Night)
ROSTER: Seniors: 4. Rachel Tennant; 7, Andrew Earley; 8, Kelly Ballenge; 9, Brian Shin; 13, Jake Wilkinson; 14, Peter Keiser; 16, Carson Weyer; 17 (25 goalkeeper), Tully Lynch-Pastoor; 22, Brady Kurucz
Juniors: 2, Jillian Wiseman; 3, Haley Yeomans; 5, Erica Tracewell; 6, Luke Cardenas; 10, Nate Dehmlow
Sophomores: 18, Daniel Ambrozy
Freshmen: 11, Robbie Barton; 12 (1 goalkeeper), Marijka Lynch-Pastoor; 15, Christian Richards
Head coach: Shane Hartshorn, 2nd year
Assistant coach: Robin Ambrozy
Plus, this season, Peter Keiser is back as a senior after setting five school records last year, while co-captains Andrew Earley and Erica Tracewell return on defense,
"So our defense should be pretty solid, and it's looked pretty good so far," said Hartshorn. "I mean, we scrimmaged a couple of Division II schools out of Ohio, and we tied one and lost one. So I was pleased with them, as they did it on back-to-back days, as I kind of made it rough on them just to get 'em ready for the season."
Hartshorn attributes that to "much-better conditioning this year, as last year, I didn't get hired until late."
In addition, "being a small school like we are, physical play gets to be a factor because it wears out the starters," noted Hartshorn. "But we are deeper on the bench this year than last year."
The 2013 PCHS soccer roster number 18, with Earley and Tracewell at the top of the list of key returnees.
"They are really our true leaders," said Hartshorn. "Andrew has been everything I've asked so far of him. I've been coaching for 22 years, and he's probably one of the best leaders I've ever had on the field. I mean, he does it all for me, and never gripes, just gets out and does it."
Meanwhile, Tracewell, one of five girls on the team, "leads more by example than talk," said Hartshorn. "She's always out working hard, trying to get better."
"And they both play defense, so they kind of solidify the defense for us."
Sophomore Daniel Ambrozy played multiple positions last year, "but this year," said Hartshorn, "he'll be staying on defense.
"A lot's going to be put on his shoulders as a sophomore. But he's tall, 6-foot-2, and has played on traveling teams most of his life, so he understands the game."
In the middle will be Keiser and junior Nate Dehmlow.
"Nate played on traveling teams when he was younger, so he knows the game - maybe better than anybody I've ever coached," said Hartshorn. "And Peter is just an athlete."
Up top this season will be senior Brian Shin from Korea and junior Haley Yeomans, "so we're counting on them to be scorers," said Hartshorn.
Outside midfielders will be senior Carson Weyer and junior Luke Cardenas, and "I'm very pleased with them," said Hartshorn.
Nevertheless, "our biggest issue this year is going to be Tully in goal." said Hartshorn. "And he's got to pick it up quick.
"I played goalie when I was in high school, so I worry about him in goal. He's not looked too bad in scrimmages at all, but still has a lot to learn, because a lot will be on his shoulders this year. So I'm hoping he's going to step up for us. But with Erica and Andrew in front of him, that's going to help him tremendously.
''And not graduating anybody last year helped us a lot."
So "maybe," said Hartshorn, "this will be our year to kind of shine and show people that Catholic actually does have a good soccer program."
Hartshorn praised his team as well. "They have progressed very well, and in all my years coaching, I've never had a team where you can show them a drill one time, and they can pick it up immediately like this team."
Catholic opens the season at 11 a.m. today at the Rosemar Road fields in Vienna's Jackson Park.