North Liberty Leader
IOWA CITY– They won it all last year, and are ready to defend the Class 3A state championship. As it happens every year, however, there will be some rebuilding for the Iowa City West High Trojans boys varsity soccer team.
Brad Stiles, coach for the Trojans lost several of his starters to graduation last May, but he’s cautiously optimistic heading into the new season.
“From last year’s team, we graduated eight starters and five of those had been three-year starters,” Stiles said. “We will have lots of competition for playing time as we fill positions.”
Four seniors– Ben Troester, Jack Olson, Garrett Grimsman and Ryan O’Deen– all starters on last year’s 20-1 (overall) and 12-1 (conference) state championship team, are back. Troester plays center and midfield and had three goals and three assists last year. Olson plays outside and back, and saw over 1,000 minutes of play last year and earned an Mississippi Valley Conference (MVC) Second-Team All-Conference berth. Grimsman works the midfield, also had over 1,000 minutes of play in 2013, scored two goals, had four assists and also was named to the All-Conference Second-Team. O’Deen works outside and midfield and put in seven goals for West High last season.
Sophomore Antonio Sanchez is back as a returning starter as well. Sanchez is center and midfield, put in four goals and made five assists last year.
Eight more seniors are in the lineup this season, all returning letter-winners: Zach Serovy, Wadood Daoud, Anthony Pottratz, Yannick Encarnacao, Ryan Collins, Jason Guymon, Sam Hansen and Alex Bode.
New to the team this season are juniors Nick Andersen (outside, back) and Teddy Paulsen (midfield).
Stiles has a 247-41 record as coach and will be assisted this year by a pair of Trojan alumni, David Carassco (2006) and Alan Bedell (2009).
“The MVC had a very strong showing with three of four teams in the state semi’s last year,” Stiles said. West knocked out Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 2-0, while City High dispatched Johnston 2-1 setting the stage for a West versus City showdown in the championship round, with the Trojans winning, 2-1. “This will continue,” Stiles said, “and I think the conference schedule could be our worst enemy. With the core of the MVC coaching staffs returning, any team can find a way to win.”
The season opened for the Trojans with a jamboree Thursday, April 3, at Kingston Stadium in Cedar Rapids. West faced Iowa City Regina in the abbreviated exhibition match and won, 2-1. It was a battle of Number Ones with the Trojans as the top-ranked team in Class 3A according to the Iowa High School Soccer Coaches Association, and Regina ranked as No. 1 in Class 1A.
The Trojans went up on the scoreboard first with a goal by Ted Paulson in the 21st minute. Wholesale substitutions followed for the second half of the 40-minute match. The Regals struck in the 34th minute and West retaliated as Nik Donta hit the game-winning goal a minute later.