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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

- Defense a strength for boy's squad -

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Optimism is abundant this year in Northview's boys soccer camp. With two-a-day practices in full swing, the Knights will be looking to improve on what coach Todd LaComba calls a 'disappointing' season in 2003.

"Injuries and distractions hurt the team last season, but we return quite a few freshman from last year that got playing time," said LaComba. "We've got some youth this year. Last year's team was a veteran group, but we're definitely looking to improve."

The Knights are certainly a youthful squad with eight incoming freshmen and seven sophomores prepared to hit the pitch.

Northview will have to replace eight seniors who played key roles last year, including four year goal keeper Mitch Mershon who ranks first all-time in school history with 37 starts in net.

With incumbent keeper Jacob Andrews transferring in the offseason, the Knights have sophomore Taylor Montague who appeared in four contests along with junior Jacob Lynch. "I'm looking forward to seeing a little competition in camp," commented LaComba on the goal keeper position.

If the Knights have a strength according to LaComba, it will be on the defensive side of the ball.

Northview returns senior captains Wade Thacker and Brock Crooks along with sophomore Shaun Hardy to play in front of the net. Kyle Russell also returns to the fold for his senior season. "We're really looking forward to (Kyle's) leadership. He worked with a club team this Spring and I've already seen his improvement."

Together, the four players made all but one start for the Knights last year.

Up front the Knights will add a pair of athletes who were unable to play last year.

Forward Stephen Brannan sat out last year with an injury and junior Jairus Martinez returns after playing as a freshman.

"(Jairus) has the attitude we're looking for," noted LaComba. "He's really all about the goals and I think he can really make some teams pay this year."

The Knights will need to replace nearly all of their offense from last year after the graduation of top scorers Shawn Piatt (seven goals), Stephen Stewart (six goals) and Jason Short (four goals). The three also brought a wealth of experience as Piatt was the career leader in starts and was third in career goals (15). He also averaged 12 defensive saves a game, an impressive stat for a forward. Short started 16 games last year and Stewart got the nod 12 times despite injuries.

Sophomore Josiah Brock will also get an opportunity up front this season.

After an injury plagued season that saw the Knights go 1-2-3 in the Western Indiana Conference, LaComba believes this group can certainly move up in the 2004 season.

"Brown County is traditionally a power in the WIC, but they lost a lot of guys. I think that if we work a little harder as a team I think we can contend."

Northview's season gets underway with their jamboree at Terre Haute South on August 14. The girls jamboree begins at 10 a.m. with the boys playing at noon.

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