A third place finish in the state concluded the 2014 Sacred Heart Gremlins boys soccer season, which was the best in the team’s history.
The 2015 Gremlins have the honor of following up a historic season.
“We know where we want to go,” said Max Martin. “We know how hard we have to work to get there again. It’s going to be a tough road just like it always is and we’re ready.”
Sacred Heart is ready to take on the challenge, but it will be without four major players in last season’s run — goalkeeper Mason Kelchner, forward Brandon Cooper, midfielder/defender Devon Grose and defender Garrett Strange.
“We’ve got some guys that are showing some real promise this year to step up and take some of those roles,” said coach Travis Cooper. “Numbers are there, so we’ll just have to see who fits where as we get further into the season.”
To replace Kelchner in the goal, the Gremlins turn to Sebastian Auguero-Soliz, who was a forward last season.
But the move to goalkeeper isn’t a tough one for Auguero-Soliz because he was Kelchner’s backup.
“I’m used to being a goalie my whole life,” Auguero-Soliz said.
While the Gremlins quickly found their goalkeeper, they’ll now need to fill both voids at forward with Auguero-Soliz making the switch.
“He’s a great goalkeeper and is going to fill that role for us really well,” Cooper said. “With Sebastian moving back we’re potentially looking at two new forwards or we may change formations and play like a 4-5-1. We haven’t made any decisions yet. We’re real strong through our midfield again this year, so we’re going to just have to see where things play out in that area.”
Martin was involved with creating a lot of scoring opportunities last season, so he could be an option as a forward. But there’s still time for the Gremlins to evaluate and make a decision on who to put in the forward spot or spots.
“We don’t really know where everything’s going to land yet,” Martin said. “We’ve got to see where we can put players.”
The Gremlins also have options on the defensive side. Cooper said Chris Mergen, Will Prenger, Kolin Brace, Brenden Volcko, Teagan Trammell and others could fill spots on the back line or in the midfield.
“There’s just a lot of guys that have the ability to play midfield and defense that we can kind of transition into the roles where we need them,” he said.
Obviously who will play where is still up in the air for the Gremlins this season, but the goals are clear.
“I feel like the potential is there to do well and go deep into state this season, but it all boils down to what these guys do,” Cooper said.
Jason Strickland can be reached at 660-530-0147 or on Twitter @J_Strick_Sports.