Knights boys’ soccer kicks into action
Having a healthy number of seniors on a team can be a blessing for a coach before the season starts.
It’s like getting a head start to the season without having to worry too much about fundamentals.
That’s exactly where Silver Knights’ head soccer coach Scott Wall is right now. He will have the luxury of having seven seniors take the field once the boys’ soccer team opens up their season at home against Parkersburg Catholic on Friday. Throw in four juniors and there are 11 right there.
“Now it’s about developing strategy like when to do things and when not to do things with the ball, working on seeing the bigger picture, knowing when to sink back, and knowing when to possess the ball more so than to drive the ball forward,” said Coach Wall.
Don’t count out the underclassmen though, as there are four sophomores and two freshmen that can show off some skills as well.
“We are heavy with upperclassmen. We have seven seniors and we’re returning a slew of lettermen,” said Coach Wall.
“All the juniors and seniors lettered last year as well as sophomore Skyler Kinnard. There are at least 11 or 12 returning lettermen. Most of those seniors have lettered for three years now.”
Leading the squad of seven seniors are a dynamic duo of captains in Dustin Snyder and Spencer Kinnard. Both will put the pressure on opposing goalies at forward with Snider also likely to see time at midfield.
Aaron Estep, Curtis Romine, Alex Jones, Trent Tuttle and Mack Haught are the other five seniors that will lead the Knights.
Haught will make the transition from goalie to defender this year and will be aided by Estep and Jones. Tuttle and Romine will see time as midfielders with Tuttle having a chance to be a forward early in the season.
“Finding the right combination of defenders is the other thing we’ve been figuring out,” said Coach Wall.
“Our weaknesses would be defensively and getting comfortable with the guys that are playing back there. We lost Troy Wable, Steven Chaplain, and Steven Postlethwait. Those guys played a big part of our defense last year.
“If we had a huge weakness, it would be hearing different voices from that side of the field that we’re not used to hearing.”
Junior Waylon Rosenlieb will also play defense. B.J. Eastham will play at midfield while Justin Cooper will play forward. Jared Lantz will possibly seeing time at forward.
Sophomore Skylar Kinnard will be the team’s starting goalie. Lantz will also see time at goalie. Chris Postlethwait will come in as a midfielder.
Two sophomores, Zack Robinson and Jeremy Smith, are new to the squad, but Robinson played soccer in youth leagues and Coach Wall is hoping it won’t take him too long to get back to the familiarity of the sport.
Smith has never played soccer previously but played well during the Knights’ scrimmage last Thursday against Monroe Central.
Freshmen Dustin Tawney and Brandon Frey will see action at forward and midfield, respectively.
Tyler Consolidated is coming off of their most successful soccer season ever with their first winning record. They played for the sectional championship but lost to Morgantown Trinity.
“To come off a winning season from last year, we think we’ve got a good nucleus to get us beyond that next level, to get us to the sectional final and into the regional playoffs,” said Wall.
“Offensively, we’re not bad. We can score from several different players. A lot of these guys get along off the field. They hang out off the field, so we have that chemistry which is to our advantage.
“I’m excited. I think we’ve got a real, potentially good team. Hopefully we don’t need the word potentially and we can talk at the end of the season on how we had a really good team.”
Fans will have to opportunity to see the Silver Knights’ boys soccer team in action this Friday against the Parkersburg Catholic Crusaders at 4:30 p.m.
It’s one of only six scheduled home games for Tyler Consolidated.
“I kind of knew it would be rough going into scheduling these games because we were home last year 11 games and away seven,” said Wall of the travel-heavy schedule.
“So I knew some of those home-and-away series that we have weren’t going to work in our favor in terms of playing at home.
“I do think the experience of playing in other places, not to say that other environments are all that hostile, but playing in different environments will help season us as we get closer to sectional finals and regionals and things like that because those won’t be played here.
“Hopefully that will help us during our post-season play.”
It’s rough, but it’s designed to help the team as the season goes on. Not only does it seem rough because of traveling, but the quality of opponents make up an impressive list with the likes of Linsly, John Marshall, Ravenswood, and newcomers Parkersburg South and Trinity, last year’s sectional champion.
“We’re trying to make it as tough as we can,” added Wall.
“It does us no good to win every game or win a majority of our games playing a softer schedule because we’d get to the sectional games and do poorly and say ‘Great, we’ve got these wins but where did we go at the end of the season?'”
Still, with the talent the Silver Knights have, the bar is set high for a year that could be one of the most successful in the history of the program despite the record.
“For me it’s exciting from being here from the beginning,” said Wall.
“To be able to get to this level from a relatively short period of time, it hasn’t taken us that long to get to a level where I think our team is fairly well respected as far as how we play.
“I think teams know they aren’t going to get a pushover when they play us.
“Hopefully they’re going to see soccer played the way it should be played with some possession, with skill, finesse, more so than kick and chase and praying for the best things to happen.”