ShareThis Page

Bolstered by underclassmen, Southmoreland boys soccer aims to gain experience quickly

| Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, 5:24 p.m.
Southmoreland's Noah Kinter drives the ball toward the goal as teammate Max Gomez defends Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017 during boys' soccer practice at Southmoreland High School.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Southmoreland's Noah Kinter drives the ball toward the goal as teammate Max Gomez defends Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017 during boys' soccer practice at Southmoreland High School.
Southmoreland's Braden Fox lines up a kick on net during a drill at boys' soccer practice Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017 at Southmoreland High School.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Southmoreland's Braden Fox lines up a kick on net during a drill at boys' soccer practice Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017 at Southmoreland High School.
Southmoreland boys' soccer head coach Chris Hixon discusses a drill with his team Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017 during boys' soccer practice at Southmoreland High School.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Southmoreland boys' soccer head coach Chris Hixon discusses a drill with his team Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017 during boys' soccer practice at Southmoreland High School.
Southmoreland boys' soccer goalie Jonathan Christner drops low to stop a ball on net during a shooting drill Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017 at Southmoreland High School.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Southmoreland boys' soccer goalie Jonathan Christner drops low to stop a ball on net during a shooting drill Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017 at Southmoreland High School.

It may be a group full of youth at Southmoreland, but don't expect boys soccer coach Chris Hixson to cave for that reason.

He's hoping his players feel the same way.

With the teams at his alma mater having qualified for three WPIAL playoff spots in four previous seasons as coach, Hixson said there's no reason for a change in culture.

“We've been looking to see which players step up and accept the challenge to contribute to the program this year,” Hixson said.

More than half of the team's 26-player roster is made up of underclassmen — 10 freshmen, six sophomores and three juniors.

“I call it a season of youth and opportunity,” Hixson said. But he isn't conceding to the idea of rebuilding.

“I look for the section to be competitive, and I'm excited to see how our team competes against the talent in our section.”

The 2016 squad at Southmoreland, bolstered by the presence of center/midfielder Dylan Willard and defender Lucas Kaufman — both currently on the roster at Division III Pitt-Greensburg — reached the WPIAL playoffs with an 8-10-1 record, including a 7-5-0 mark in Section 3-AA.

Willard and Kaufman were among seven starters lost to graduation.

“Right now, there's a healthy competition for starting positions in the midfield and forward positions,” Hixson said.

Junior Brett Glowacki and sophomore Noah Kinter, part of that youth movement return.

The defense will look to a pair of experienced seniors in goalkeeper Jonathan Christner and defender Ronnie Rodriguez.

“We'll be depending on those guys to solidify the back for us and lead the younger starters back there on defense,” Hixson said.

Southmoreland opens its schedule on Saturday morning at home against Elizabeth Forward.

Southmoreland's first scheduled section game is Tuesday night at Brownsville.

“I believe, as every team that takes the field, we are going to try to win that night and put enough wins together to compete for a playoff position and keep our noses involved in the section title race,” Hixson said.

“It's going to be a process.”

Dave Mackall is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.