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Geibel soccer team hoping to stay healthy, improve on 2012 record

| Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, 1:16 a.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley (center) saw his starters score one touchdown in four preseason games.

With the 2013 boys soccer season under way, Geibel finds itself in a familiar position. With a roster comprised of just 13 players, the Gators are hoping to stay healthy and complete the season. The lack of numbers is nothing new for coach Mike Grant, and there's really not much that can be done about it.

But one problem Grant hopes the Gators can correct is subpar play on defense. Last year, the Gators struggled to keep the ball out of their net on their way to a 6-9-2 record.

“We're pretty much the same as we were last year,” Grant said. “But we're moving some guys around. We gave up too many goals, especially toward the end of last season.”

The biggest change in Geibel's formation could be the shifting of junior Bailey McIntyre. Last year, McIntyre played primarily as a striker, but will be switched to midfield.

“Defensively, McIntyre is really good, so we'll slide him back,” Grant said.

While McIntyre slides back, junior Matt Mammarella will move into a striker position.

“Matt plays with a lot of heart, and he will help bring everybody's adrenaline up during the game,” Grant said.

Junior Tommy Kovalchuk will move from defense to midfield.

One constant will be sophomore Kyle Toth. He started in net as a freshman and will be between the pipes again this season.

“He is strong as usual, and he did a lot of work in the offseason,” Grant said. “His improvement will be a great help.”

The Gators are hoping some of the position changes pay big dividends, but there is still that lingering question of whether the team can overcome the small roster size.

However, there could be one big advantage to playing on a small team.

“We're really close, and we know how each other play,” Mammarella said. “Plus, Mike is a good coach, and we'll look to him for leadership. I think it will be a pretty good season.”

So what will constitute a good season for the Gators?

“We want to make it through the season with enough players,” Grant said. “We're really working to stay healthy. They are a tight-knit group, and they want to have fun and have a little bit of success.”

The Gators will compete in Section 4-A.

Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com.

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