By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
and Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
PIQUA — Bob Jennings takes over as Piqua boys soccer coach.
Senior Ethan Heidenreich and sophomore Kyle Pierre will lead the strikers, while freshman Nathan Buecker and junior Colton Curtis will head up the midfielders.
Rounding out the forwards are sophomore Dezmond Warner, while other midfielders include seniors Eli Baker and Brock Schlosser; sophomore Drew Hohlbein and freshman Landon Lawson.
Senior Jarret Powers and junior Logan Cavender will lead the defense.
Other defenders include Evan Hicks, Seth Furbee, Colin Baugh and Chase Vaughen; sophomores Zander Jones and Nick Heath and freshman Jordan Slife.
The goalies will be junior Decon Buechter and sophomore Kamden Davidson.
Jennings expects to be competitive in every game and sees Tippecanoe and Vandalia-Butler as the teams to beat in the Miami Valley League Miami Division.
• Troy Christian
TROY — Last season, Troy Christian won a Metro Buckeye Conference title, sharing it with eventual Division III state runner-up Dayton Christian, and won a third straight district title.
And with what the Eagles bring back this season, those expectations haven’t lessened.
“We look to win the MBC as we did last year, and we also look to continue to be ranked in the top five in the state and compete at the highest level in D-III,” said Troy Christian coach Ryan Zeman as he enters his 11th year with the team. “We would also love to be playing in November. We are currently on a three-time district champs streak and would love a fourth.”
Troy Christian certainly has the punch up front to do it, led by All-MBC athlete Connor Peters, who had 12 goals and 19 assists last season. Also back is four-year starter Tripp Schulte and fellow seniors Preston Lair and A.J. Warden.
The Eagles did lose three all-conference midfielders, but sophomore Nate Kephart and freshmen Josh Brubaker and Evan Murphy will look to soften that blow. They also graduated four-year starter Jackson Kremer in the goal, but freshman Tanner Conklin will start this season with Lair backing him up. And with three of the four starting defenders back — juniors Sam Mathews, Chas Schemmel and Ty Davis — the Eagle defense should be strong once again.
TIPP CITY — Tippecanoe swept its three years as a member of the Greater Western Ohio Conference, winning the American North Division title outright all three seasons. And as they enter play in the new Miami Valley League, the Red Devils will be looking to keep that run going.
“Our goals are to win the league and try to advance one step farther in the tournament each year,” said Tippecanoe coach Scott Downing.
Downing didn’t get into specifics about his lineup, saying, “We have the options of several scorers up top this season and a young but capable midfield.” On defense, senior Adam Trimbach and junior Clay Vaughn will be back in goal, while senior Matt Hinkle is a returning starter in the backfield.
“It’s early, and we’re trying to sort some things out right now,” Downing said.
• Lehman Catholic
SIDNEY — Cameron Jock returns for his second season as coach.
Elijah Jock, Ethan Potts and Joshua George will lead the strikers, while Matthew McDonald and Mikkel Alvarez will lead the midfielders.
Goalie Will Voisard and defenders Christian Goettemoeller, Tommy Hamlin and Max Schmiesing will lead the back line.
Jock sees Botkins as the favorite in the Western Ohio Soccer League.
“We hope to be in the top two,” he said.
BRANDT — The Bees had a young team last year, but with a year of experience under their belts and a lot of offensive firepower coming back, Bethel looks to be strong once again.
And with a lot of goals coming back from last year, the Bees’ defense has been solid in the preseason, too.
“We return a great deal of scoring, and that is a plus,” said Bethel coach Bob Hamlin, who is back for his 35th season after winning his 400th career game last year. “We have some technically skilled players up top that can play well with speed.
“At this moment, defense has been a very bright spot for us. We only have two defenders from last year in the back, but we have played very good defense this summer. We return a sophomore keeper that started every game last year, so that experience should help.”
Nolan Flomerfelt will be back in the goal after posting six shutouts as a freshman, with seniors Keaton and Colton Smith, junior Ethan Blair, sophomores Eli Mutlu and Dylan Franck and freshmen Kyle Brueckman, Colby Keiser and Austin Black making up the defensive backfield.
At forward, senior Nick Schmidt returns after an 18-goal, eight-assist season, with fellow seniors Aiden Flomerfelt (nine goals, seven assists), Hunter Parrish (three goals, three assists) and Wyatt Leet, sophomore Sam Sortman (two goals) and freshmen Jace Houck and Matt Smith giving the Bees options. And in the midfield, senior Cannon Dakin (four goals, five assists) is back to lead a young crew consisting of sophomores Jaiden Hogge (one goal), Casey Keesee (two goals, two assists) and Cole Brannan and freshmen Luke Arnols and Elijah Rijo.
The Bees have had some tough spots in the preseason, though.
“We’ve been very happy with our progress, but at the same time we have had so many preseason injuries it may take us some time to gel,” Hamlin said. “Our biggest challenge right now is to get and stay healthy. If we do that, we could have a very special season.”
PLEASANT HILL — Jeff Armentrout returns for his third season as coach.
Leading the strikers will senior Dillon Koble and junior Dylan Huber.
Armentrout expects solid offensive and defensive contributions from junior Alex Hild and senior Sam Hunsbarger at midfield.
Senior Cameron Caldwell returns at goalie and Armentrout expects his hard work in the off-season to pay off in his best season ever.
Senior Ethan Cook will anchor a strong defensive line.
Armentrout expects the CCC to be very competitive this year.
“The senior class of this team has a statement to make,” Armentrout said. “The previous two seasons have had one senior in each season. This group of seniors has had to be the team since they were sophomores. They learned the hard way, taking their lumps in the process.
“The team’s goal is to be in the Division III Southwest District Coach’s Poll top 10 every week. The plan is to make a statement with the season opening games at D-II Northwestern and at D-III state runner-up Dayton Christian. The boys know that strong performances that lead to wins will be the catalyst to achieving their goal of recognition.”
• Miami East
CASSTOWN — Nakilee Weni is back for his second year as Miami East head coach after the team won its first sectional title and played in the district final for the first time in the program’s history, falling to eventual Division III state runner-up Dayton Christian.
And even after the graduation of a talented senior class, the Vikings are looking to get back there once again.
“Our goals are to win the conference, sectionals and district,” Weni said.
Aiden Waite and Logan McEldowney will look to finish goals up top, while Jacob Demmit, Ethan Gudorf and Jayden Waddy will patrol the midfield. Collen Gudorf also returns in goal for the Vikings, with Jimmy Sutherly and Colin McEldowney leading the defensive backfield.
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter. Contact Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser at email@example.com.
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