Warriors bring back experience, knowledge of how to earn wins to 2018 team
CHESTERFIELD - The Matoaca Warriors in 2017 delivered a dominant run, going 14-3 on the season.
They're bringing back many of the players who got them there.
Eight starters return to the 2018 Matoaca Boys Soccer team, led by head coach Jay Parker (7th season) who has a career record of 67 wins, 25 losses and 13 ties.
The Warriors' returners for this season feature defenders Ty Louthan and Zach English, midfielders Michael Follis, Michael "Dickey" Harris and Wilson Tunnell and forward Paul Branch.
"This year's team will be much more experienced than last year's team. The seniors on this team have a lot of experience and wins under their belt," Parker said. "Last year's team lacked an attacking presence through possession at times last year. I think this year's team will do better in that aspect."
Parker noted that the Warriors' biggest strengths will be "experience throughout the midfield and a variety of attacking options going forward."
Newcomers joining the experience-heavy lineup include freshman midfielder Adam Braithwaite, junior midfielder Mariano Lopez-Godoy and sophomore forward Seth Cunningham.
Parker believes they'll be a pretty solid team offensively and defensively compared to other local teams.
"We are typically one of the stronger defensive units around here," he said, "but I am hoping our offense will catch up."
He pointed to the importance of the Warriors playing their best each and every game.
"Preparation is very important to the success of a team that has had some success in the recent past," he added.
For this year, postseason changes include the elimination of conference tournaments. Matoaca had found success in those tournaments, winning the conference championships in 2015 and 2016.
That change to the postseason format, Parker said, will have some effect "in the sense that each game is that much more important due to points and seeding."
"It will make the 5A games extremely important for us," he noted. "It makes setting goals a little tougher because now there is no 'conference championship' that has meant so much to us in the past few years."
Parker said this season will be a success for the Warriors if: "We work our tails off at practice each and every day and do the little things to be successful...enhance the on-field communication and trust, and that will allow for more success."
Nick Vandeloecht may be reached at email@example.com, 804-722-5151 or @NickVanDelPI on Twitter.