Ligonier Valley boys soccer team working to improve
The Ligonier Valley boys soccer team is playing better than its 1-11 record indicates, with six of the losses determined by one goal.
The Rams' only victory came against United, 7-5, last month.
“We lost 12 seniors from last year, when we made the (PIAA District 6) playoffs,” coach Kip Crumrine said. “We're rebuilding; it's been rough.”
Senior captain Zach Yeskey is frustrated the team is not doing better.
“It's tough for us four seniors, but you play through it,” said Yeskey, who has 157 saves as goalie. “You don't want your play to slip.”
Senior Robbie Adams, junior Jake Nemeth and sophomore Zack Homyak lead the Rams in scoring with three goals each.
Sophomore Chris Huber and junior Carlos Chavez have chipped in one goal and two assists apiece.
Seniors Matt Walker (one assist) and Matt Ryan (one goal and one assist) also have scored.
Sophomore Justin Hugo is a top playmaker at center midfielder.
Sophomore Ethan Brown and juniors Isaac Deemer and Devon Martin have seen playing time on defense.
“I feel sorry for the kids,” assistant coach Matt Barany, 25, said. “They're playing with a lot of heart.
“I know what they're going through. They're young right now, but they're going to be good in a couple years, which won't help Yeskey and the other seniors who are playing well but who won't be around to enjoy it.”
Crumrine, the only head coach since the team was founded in 1995, was encouraged by turnout this year.
“We have 28 kids,” he said. “We went through a spell where we had only 20 to 22 guys and it showed in our record.
“The problem is, our numbers are up while (our opponents') are down. We're having problems finding games for our junior varsity players. They're not getting the experience they need when they join (the varsity).”
Ligonier Valley was District 6 champion three times from 2000 to 2002.
The Rams were 8-8-1 last year, when they were eliminated early in the district playoffs by Bedford.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.