EASTWOOD - After a very successful 2012 season, Coach Todd Murray is looking for his 2013 Red Devil soccer team to take that success to the next level despite some big graduation losses.
Key replacements must be found for the likes of All-State and All-LKC players like Mason Carte, Nic Ballard, Jesse Mize and others. Murray believes finding a replacement for goalkeeper James Carmichael will be the most important reload for his 2013 squad. Another huge blow came in the loss of senior-to-be Nick Johnston, an all-but-assured All-Stater, to a leg injury that will deny him playing his senior season. Johnston has been named bench captain for the 2013 team.
"So far during the pre-season, I've been pretty impressed with the condition most my team was in during the first week," said Murray. "Everyone seemed pretty in shape which helps get into more technical things sooner. I do feel we have, in general, a young team. We lost a lot of seniors and a few juniors due to injuries, relocation and other sports. That hurt us a lot but we still have a strong team and lots of people are stepping up and filling in those roles."
"Yesterday (Monday) during the alumni versus high school scrimmage, I really saw Pat Berry (captain) and Dalton Gandee (captain) working very well together. We are still sorting out positions for defense and midfield, so it will be interesting to see how that works out this Saturday when we scrimmage Lincoln High School.
"I really look forward to seeing (junior) Nate Schiefer (captain) in action. Last year, he missed the first nine games due to injuries and missed almost the whole season the year before due to another injury. Nate has really stepped up over the summer. I can tell he watched and studied professional soccer and has practiced and trained almost every day. He will be a real powerful force in the midfield and I see him giving other teams tons of problems." Murray added, "I stepped up our schedule this year too. We have it a little harder with us playing Charleston Catholic, Weir and Robert C. Byrd along with Sissonville who we have only tied over the past two years. This will only help our team come tournament time."