Greensburg Salem boys look to replace 8 starters
Last season, the Greensburg Salem boys soccer team took a step forward, capturing five more wins than the previous season.
However, the Golden Lions (8-7-2, 6-5-1) will have to continue their progression without the services of eight starters because of graduation.
The Golden Lions were in the same position at the start of the 2012 season.
After a rough year, coach John Lynch has learned from the experience and has put changes in place.
“We lost nine seniors two years ago, so when they got into that position, they didn't grasp the position,” Lynch said. “At that time, we pushed real hard to have a recreation team in the spring, and they all played together then.”
“Coming into this season, we have a team that has a little more experience playing with each other. The years prior, there was no spring team for the recreation program, and I think a distinct disadvantage for us.”
Last season, the Golden Lions had an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot at the end of the year even after a 2-5 stretch, which included four section losses.
“The teams stepped up and put us out before we realized the playoffs were reachable,” Lynch said. “At one point during the season, we lost a couple of games, and it wasn't a possibility. The kids started to come alive, but by then, it was struggle.”
Greensburg Salem will miss top scorers Lukas Mangery and David Milburn. The Golden Lions' returning starters include senior defender Cody Pfeifer and sophomore forwards Connor Jobe and Ryan Collette.
With only two seniors on this year's team, Lynch will look for the entire squad to step up.
“I have a lot of sophomores that played at various times in varsity,” Lynch said. “I have told them they all have to step up, and we are working to have a big learning curve at this point. No one in particular has to take the lead, but everyone has to step up.”
With the track record of having a down season after a large turnover of players, Lynch is focused on helping the players grow on the field and to continue the upward trend of success for the program.
“The players coming up now, even though they don't have varsity experience, they have experience at different positions. The guys have been working hard,” Lynch said. “The group of players has been together longer than the group from two seasons ago. This group, even though they are young like the team two years ago, they are more cohesive.”
The Golden Lions will kick off their season at home against Burrell at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Andrew John is a freelance writer.