Kalida’s ‘Kardiac Kids’ put head coach Mark Czubic through some intense times a year ago.
With seven seniors and 17 letter winners returning, Czubik and Wildcats’ fans will be hoping for a little less stress this season.
After winning the 2013 Putnam County League title, Kalida went on a wild tournament run. The Wildcats got by PCL rival Continental 1-0 in the sectional finals, outlasted Lima Central Catholic 2-1 in a double-overtime shootout in the district finals, and got an overtime penalty kick from Ian Richey to get past Ottawa Hills 2-1 in the regional semifinals.
The ride came to an end in another thriller, a 1-0 loss to Mansfield St. Peter’s in the Division III regional final.
Last year’s 15 wins boosted Czubik’s record in 24 years as Kalida’s head coach to 339-83-55 and made him the tenth winningest boys soccer coach in Ohio High School history, according to the OHSAA site.
A number of other area coaches will also be looking to continue the strong traditions they have established at their schools.
At Ottawa-Glandorf, Mike Weihrauch (218-67-46) begins his 18th and final season as head coach. The Titans will be counting a deep 13-deep senior class to rebound from a rare 2-11-4 down year.
Riverdale coach Jon Hayfield (132-79-4) will also be looking to several veterans to carry the late-season momentum of 2013 into the 2014 season. Riverdale started last season 2-4-1, but went 8-1-1 over its last 10 games.
Ottoville coach Eric Gerker (102-36-7) will be trying to wrest the PCL title away from Kalida with seven starters and 10 letter winners back for the Big Green.
Liberty-Benton lost several talented players from a team that went 9-0-0 in the North Central Ohio Soccer Association and was unbeaten overall (17-0-1) until falling 2-0 to Mansfield Christian in the Division III district finals. Eagles coach Greg Norden (31-5-2) has 11 lettermen back, though.
The torch has been passed but the tradition continues at Van Buren where Jeff Swaisgood, 11-7-0 after his first year as head coach, in continuing the winning ways of his father Jeff Swaisgood, who amassed a 172-96-016 record in 18 seasons running the Black Knights program.
Below is a look at the area’s boys soccer programs, information on teams from Miller City and Cory-Rawson were unavailable.
HEAD COACH: Jason Okuly (1st year).
2013 RECORD: 4-12-1 overall, 3-6-1 North Central Ohio Soccer Association.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Cole East, jr., F; Tyler Rockhill, jr., GK; Drayson Gamble, jr., CB; Luis Olvern, jr., F; Rylan Hissong, jr., MF; Will Allen, soph., FB; Jayden Samspon, jr., MF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Terry Sheridan, fr., F; Noah Pinkney, fr., MF; Tyler Anderson fr., FB; Erryk Kateyama, fr., F; Logan Williams, fr., F; Johnathan Rettig, fr., MF; Jarrod Woodland, sr., CB.
NOTABLE: Cole East, a returning all-league player, leads a young Ada team that has just one senior and one sophomore on the roster, but six juniors and 12 freshmen.
HEAD COACH: Steve Smucker (1st year).
2013 RECORD: 12-5-1.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Adam Wannamacher, jr., MF; Adam Basinger, sr., D; Tucker Routson, jr., D; Cole Harlow, jr., MF; Joe Schriner, jr., GK; Mateo Bonifaz, sr., D.
TOP PROSPECTS: Josh Begg, soph., MF; Phillip Tatarkov, sph., MF; Eli Bourassa, soph., MF/F.
NOTABLE: Graduation hit the Pirates hard, with seven starters among the 10 players missing from a group that went 24-9-3 the past two seasons. Key losses among that group were two all-state selections: first-team pick Stephen Tatarkov, who set a single-season school scoring record with 24 goals and seven assists; and David Nester, who earned honorable mention all-Ohio honors after scoring 16 goals and adding 16 assists.
HEAD COACH: Brian Stegbauer (4th year, 30-22-5).
2013 RECORD: 10-7-1 overall, 1-2-1 Putnam County League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Zach Schwarzman, sr., F; Gabe Williams, sr., MF; Caleb Baker, sr., MF; Ross Etter, sr., GK/D; Joey Swager, sr., MF; Derek Troyer, sr., F; Jacob Williams, soph., D.
TOP PROSPECTS: Ty Warnement, jr., D; Trevor Williamson, soph., GK/F.
NOTABLE: The Pirates lost some solid players to graduation last spring but Stegbauer has seven letterwinners returning. Experience returns in a seven-man senior class, but with just two juniors and four sophomores on the roster, Stegbauer will be looking for depth from a big nine-man freshman class.
HEAD COACH: Gregg Luthman (6th year, 22-26-3).
2013 RECORD: 8-7-1 overall, 2-2-0 Putnam County League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Austin Kehres, sr., D; Connor Wallenhorst, sr., D; Austin Wisner, jr., MF; Ryan Koester, sr., GK; Chad Wurst, sr., MF; Kyle Maag, soph., MF; Mark Metzger, sr., MF; Alex Berelsman, jr., MF; Troy Ricker, soph., MF; Evan Ricker, sr., MF; Aaron Neidert, jr., MF .
NOTABLE: Seven starters return for the Musketeers, including five all-Putnam County League and two all-Northwest District selections. Berelsman was first-team all-PCL asnd second-team all-district; Metzger was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. Wallenhorst, Kehres and Troy Ricker received honorable mention all-PCL recognition.
HEAD COACH: Tim England (18th year).
2013 RECORD: 3-11 overall, 2-6 Buckeye Christian School Association.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Lewis Larsen, sr., W; Jordan Beal, jr., FB; Steven Schultz, jr., MF; Joe Oestreich, soph., ST; Sam Deitering, soph., W.
TOP PROSPECTS: Rob Sorensen, fr., FB; Seth Deitering, fr, FB.
NOTABLE: A young an inexerperienced team for England, who enters his 18th season in charge of the Heritage Christian soccer program. He expects freshmen Seth Deitering and Rob Sorensen to give the Minutemen a boost at the fullback spot.
HEAD COACH: Mark Czubik (25th year, 339-83-55).
2013 RECORD: 15-3-3 overall, 3-0-1 Putnam County League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Brent Hovest, sr., GK; Devin Kortokrax, sr., MF; Kuke Langhals, sr., MF; Luke Roebke, sr., D; Derrick Schimmoeller, sr., F; Michael Schroeder, sr., F; Ryan Siefker, sr., MF; Drew Hovest, jr., D; Jordan Kortokrax, jr., D; Nathan Meyers, jr., MF; Kaleb Selhorst, jr., MF; Austin Swift, jr., F; Grant Unverferth, jr., F; Brandon Verhoff, jr., MF; Alex VanDerEmbse, jr., D; Nathan Vorst, jr., D; Trey Webken, jr., MF.
TOP PROSPECTS: None.
NOTABLE: Kalida appears to be loaded yet again with 17 returning letterwinners, including four seniors who are three-year lettermen. Brent Hovest is back for his senior season at goalkeeper after allowing just 1.07 goals per game.
HEAD COACH: Greg Norden (3rd year, 31-5-2).
2013 RECORD: 17-1-1 overall, 9-0 North Central Ohio Soccer Association.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jake Bixler, sr., D; Eli Norden, sr., MF; Griffin Rath, sr., F; Logan Whitaker, sr., D; Kevin Barthlett, jr., D; Chad Frommer, jr., F; Nick Kear, jr., MF; Ty Waltz, jr., MF; Brendan Wolford, jr., D; Logan Young, jr., MF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Connor Oldaker, jr., GK; Allen Bracy, soph., MF; Austin Patrick, fr., F.
NOTABLE: The Eagles lost a ton of talent from last year’s NCOSA championship team but still have 11 lettermen returning. Senior Eli Norden was an all-league selection after scoring seven goals with 17 assists and recording more than 100 steals last season. Senior Griffin Rath has scored 27 career goals with 16 assists.
HEAD COACH: Mike Weihrauch (18th year, 218-67-46).
2013 RECORD: 2-11-4 overall, 2-6-1 Western Buckeye League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Noah Bramlage, sr., MF; Brad Croy, sr., MF; Brent Ellerbrock, sr., D; Jacob Ellerbrock, sr., GK; Trevor Ellerbrock, sr., MF; Brandon Hempfling, sr., MF; Daniel Ketner, sr., D; Mitch Niese, sr., F/MF; Luke Schaub, sr., D; John Schroeder, sr., D; Nick Schroeder, sr., MF; Jaron Siefker, sr., D; Grant Weihrauch, sr., MF
TOP PROSPECTS: Troy Schroeder, jr., F; Trenton Meyer, jr., D/GK; Jesse Siefker, jr., MF; Connor Koch, jr., D.
NOTABLE: It was an unusual season for the Titans as they won just two matches. Expect a quick turnaround though as 13 seniors return for Weihrauch’s final season as head coach.
HEAD COACH: Eric Gerker (8th year, 102-36-7).
2013 RECORD: 11-4-2 overall, 1-2-1 Putnam County League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Colin Bendele, sr., GK/F; Brandt Landin, sr., MF; Austin (Frosty) Honigford, sr., S/D; Joe Van Oss, sr., S/D; Joel Beining, sr., MF; Jared Fanning, jr., F; Drew Williams, jr., F/MF; Rudy Wenzlick, jr., D; Emmitt German, soph., D/MF; Connor Kuhlman, soph., MF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Alex Krouskop, soph., GK/D; Brendan Siefker, fr., MF/F; Nick Moorman, Derek Kemper, fr., D/MF; Logan Kemper, fr., F; Connor Fanning, fr., F/MF; Zane Martin, fr., MF; Josh Sarka, fr., MF; Evan Boecker, fr., F; Troy Warnecke, fr., D; Jon Knippen, fr., GK/D.
NOTABLE: Ten letterwinners return for the Big Green this season, including seven returning starters. Colin Bendele is the team’s top returnee he was a second team all-Northwest District selection at goalkeeper a year ago.
HEAD COACH: Jon Hayfield (14th year, 132-79-24).
2013 RECORD: 10-6-2 overall, 7-1-1 North Central Ohio Soccer Association.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Chad Pever, sr., FW; Austin Clark, sr., MF/GK; Jackson Hankins, je., GK/MF; Joe Lauck, jr., MF; Justin Riegle, jr., F/MF; Nathaniel Hughes, jr., D; Corbin Knedler, jr., MF; Kyle Evans, soph., D.
NOTABLE: Riverdale started slow, going 2-4-1 in its first seven games. But the Falcons finished strong, posting an 8-1-1 record before falling to Liberty-Benton in the tournament. Senior veterans Pever and Clark led the team on both ends of the pitch. Pever, a first-team all-league and all-district selection, led the team offensively last season with 13 goals and four assists. Clark was the defensive standout, making 94 saves in goal with seven shutouts. Because of Clark’s all-around skills, Hayfield will move him out to a forward spot this season to boost the offense. Hankins will likely see the most time in goal.
HEAD COACH: Keith Miller (11th year, 84-77-9).
2013 RECORD: 8-7-2 overall, 5-3-1 North Central Ohio Soccer Association.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Cameron Brody, soph., F/M; Eli Kinley, soph., F/M; Taylor Emerick, jr., F/M; Brandon Miller, jr., F/M; Sam Duress, jr., F/M; Alec Maginn, jr., M; Austin Myers, jr., D; Nick Henzel, sr., M; Alec McMillan, sr., D; Nick Reid, sr., D; Luis Ayala, sr., D; Aaron Pirc, sr., M; Brad Roeder, sr., D; Clay Musgrave, sr. GK.
NOTABLE: The Rams feature plenty of firepower up top as Miller scored 23 goals and Emerick 17 last season; each has 41 career goals. Roeder will move from center midfield to defense as the Rams bolster the backline. Duress, Pirc and Brady combined for 17 goals a year ago and are being counted on the taked the pressure off Miller and Emerick.
HEAD COACH: Jeff Swaisgood (2nd year, 11-7).
2013 RECORD: 11-7 overall, 7-2 North Central Ohio Soccer Association.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Nathan Maynard, sr., GK; Chance Sonnenberg, sr.; D; Bryce Bowers, sr., D; Brice Lawrence, sr., D; Ian Rafferty, sr., D; Matt Bach, sr., MF; Seth Jacomet, sr., D; John Bach, jr., F; Aric Dewey, jr., MF; Alex Langel, jr., MF; Mitch Endicott, soph., F; Ryan Turner, soph., F; Trenton Boyette, jr., MF; JJ Mowrey, jr., MF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Not available.
NOTABLE: The Black Knights should be in for another solid season with 14 returning letterwinners. Boyette earned first-team all-league honors. Sonnenberg and Mowrey were second-team all-NCOSA picks last year.