As a multi-sport coach, Todd Murray hoped things wouldn’t play out for his Ravenswood boys soccer team as they did in the spring when the track and field season, along with tennis, softball and baseball, was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Murray is also Ravenswood’s head boys soccer coach and admits it was a tough spring not being with his track and field athletes.
As time moves along, it has been a situation of “so far, so good” as Murray prepares his 10th edition of Red Devil soccer for the upcoming 2020 season.
Murray has enjoyed being out and about with his current squad, which is 19 players strong.
Gone from last year’s 11-win Red Devil team are four players who graduated with the Class of 2020.
The list includes Mason Butler, who was the team’s top scorer and assist leader last season. He earned Class AA-A Honorable Mention All-State in 2019.
Macaden Cooper, Clay Tanner, and Ethan Rawson have also departed via graduation.
Murray returns seniors Seth Marra and Caleb Maxson, who both started a year ago, for this 2020 campaign.
The two midfielders have been chosen as the captains for this year’s team.
“The bulk of (offensive) productivity will come from those two,” said Murray, a 2003 Ravenswood High graduate.
Others returning are sophomore defender Michael Dauch. “He’s a year-round soccer player,” Murray said.
Junior Kaden Williams will be relied upon defensively this season for the Red Devils.
Sophomore Blake Bibbee returns. Last season Bibbee started the later stages of the season as Ravenswood’s goalkeeper and will take over full-time duties in the net this season.
Junior Ethan Turner, a defender a year ago, will move to a midfielder’s position this year. “He’s the third Tanner I’ve coached,” said Murray.
The veteran Devil head coach stated his players will need to display versatility this season. “Some of these kids can be moved around,” he said. “We try to get a solid defense out there (on the pitch) and go from there.”
Senior Mychal Boggs returns for his senior season. A state doubles tennis champion, Boggs will be a midfielder for the Devils. “He can pass the ball and take shots,” said Murray.
Garrett DeLong, a sophomore, will play a defender position for the Red Devils in 2020.
Hayden Reynolds, who served a lot of last season in the net as Ravenswood’s keeper, will be “playing in the field more” this season according to Murray.
Senior Joe Chambers is going to try double-duty this fall and play both soccer and football. “I recruited him from my track team. He has speed,” Murray noted.
Freshman Grant Philbrook will be a defender most of the time for Ravenswood, but Murray said that could change. “Hopefully we can move him up to midfield. He’s a great passer.”
Two other freshmen dotting the Devil roster are Cameron Williams and Gage DeLong.
Senior Jacob Murray, the head coach’s nephew, is a newcomer to Red Devil soccer. Murray has been a part of Ravenswood’s tennis program during his high school days. He’ll play a forward spot this season.
Another senior playing forward will be Nate Weekly.
Junior Dylan Winter is listed as a forward. Sophomore Logan Mosser will play both a forward and midfield slot.
Newcomer Nick Knox, a junior, will play a forward position while another junior, Tyler Brown, will be a defender.
Murray is pleased with his squad of 19.
He has high hopes for this team that will again face a difficult schedule.
Competing in Class AA-A, Ravenswood, a Class A school, sees a lot of larger schools in the AA ranks most years.
“It’s hard to judge,” said Murray on a win total, but he feels this team has the potential to surpass what was accomplished last year.
Ravenswood was slated to scrimmage Riverside Thursday (yesterday).
The Devils will open the regular season on the road Thursday, September 3.