Big shoes to fill, but DL team ready for good year
Last season maybe a hard one to top for the 2010 version of the Detroit Lakes boys' soccer team, but this group isn't going to live in the past.
After registering an all-time amount of wins for a Laker boys' soccer team and a No. 1 seed in the Section 8-1A playoffs last year, just over half of that 2009 squad will be back.
"We'll have a bit of learning and growing to do this season," said DL head coach Justin Wegleitner. "The quality of our eight seniors from last year was high, with three of those graduating going on to play college soccer."
The Lakers are not entirely new, though, with five starters returning.
The defense will be key early in the season with experienced defenders senior Marty Lanning and junior Nate Friesen back.
Lanning started every game on defense a year ago, opposite four-year starter Charlie Smith.
"We're going to look at Marty as a leader back there, he'll definitely be our defensive presence," Wegleitner said.
With the goalie position up for grabs and with no varsity experience between the two contenders, sophomore Ethan Van Offelen and freshman Jacob Fritz, it will be up to the defense to keep the pressure off of net.
"We'll have a solid middle on defense with Nate and Marty learning from (four-year starter) Charlie Smith," said junior captain Cody Jordan.
Helping out on defense will also be sophomore Chris Larson and junior Steven Sinclair.
"We do have lots of young guys contending for spots on the defense," Wegleitner said.
The midfield will be responsible to help with the defense, as well as aiding with the attack.
Jordan returns with good seasoning, while senior captain Cole Neumeister and junior Tony Carlson will add some offensive punch.
"Cody has seen time since his freshman year and it's time for him to step up and take on the role as the midfield general," the DL coach said. "He'll need to help lead and push the ball forward."
Jordan will also be looked upon to be one of DL's top scorers and playmakers on the team.
Overall, it will be a team effort to put the ball in the net.
"We probably don't have a clutch, go-to scorer, but we'll spread the scoring out and hit whoever is open," Neumeister said.
The attack will rely on quickness and sharp passing, instead of outright speed on the outside edges.
Senior Andy Schupp will be versatile, playing in the midfield and as an attacker.
"He scored quite a bit last year," Wegleitner said. "We'll have good speed on the attack, with senior Sean Colbert (transfer from last year) being one of those filling in as a scorer."
Junior forward Travis Kienitz will also provide scoring and is a good compliment to Colbert.
Expectations are not lowered, despite losing a number of goals and their starting goalie from last year, either.
"We know we are not going to be as deep as last year and this year is a recovering one," Neumeister said. "But we do have a good varsity lineup and we've played with each other our entire careers, so the chemistry is good."
The Lakers also will have a bevy of players contributing on varsity, after playing on a successful junior varsity team last year.
"We have a tremendous base of young talent," Wegleitner said. "We'll still be competitive and still be one of the better teams in the section. As we continue to gel, we'll get better and better."
The Lakers will open the season at home Thursday against Fergus Falls, starting at 5:30 p.m.
The 2010 Detroit Lakes boys' soccer schedule:
26 Fergus Falls
28 at Alexandria
31 at Bemidji
7 at Moorhead
11 at Shanley
16 at East Grand Forks
17-18 at West Fargo Tourney
21 at Crookston
23 East Grand Forks
25 West Fargo
28 at Walker/H-A
7 at Hillcrest
12 Section play-in game
14 Section quarterfinals
19 Section semifinals
21 Section finals at SCSU
27-29 State at Metrodome.