It’s been a long time since anyone but Chris Schacht has guided the Hillsboro soccer fortunes from the sidelines. It was 1999, the second year of the Hillsboro boys team’s existence, when Schacht took over. But in 2020, there’s still a familiar face that will lead the Hawks. Sam Nansel takes over, as Schacht moves into the AD’s chair at HHS. And he knows, he’s not only got big shoes to fill, but also a challenging season ahead.
“The boys have to adapt to a different coaching style with different ideas,” Nansel remarked. “And they have to stay fit and focused amid societal uncertainty. But we are skilled at every position, have a desire to be successful again, and have good leadership on the team.”
Nansel’s first squad loses nine letter-winners off the 2019 team that went 19-6-1, and got one step away from a Final Four berth. But it returns 11 letter-winners that got a taste of that lofty level, and they certainly want more. “I can already tell the boys have a desire to have another good season,” Nansel pointed out. “They seem hungry to get back to that quarterfinal game. So far, the kick-around numbers have been great, and the work ethic has been there as well. Although we’ve lost some big contributors, I believe we have the pieces to make it work. Some of the guys are just going to have to step up and fill those shoes.”
Two particular seniors and two juniors are key returnees according to Coach Nansel. The seniors, Jacob Bogowith and Sergio Cruz, are individuals that will be looked upon to lead in a big way. “Jacob scored four goals and had six assists last season,” Nansel said. “He’s an experienced player with a hard work ethic, who teammates look to for leadership. Sergio (one goal, six assists) is a midfield player whose creativity will be depended upon to keep possession and move the ball up the field.
AJ Krasnesky and Colton Leonard are the juniors Nansel mentioned. Krasnesky will be back in the net for the Hawks after a stellar sophomore season where he tallied 11 shutouts. “He’s an experienced keeper who will be leaned on to lead the backline,” Nansel explained. Leonard hit the back of the net ten times last year and added four assists. “He’s an attacking player who will be depended upon to score goals and put pressure on the opposing defense,” his coach said.
There are several other athletes who bring experience from last season that Coach Nansel hopes will help the cause. “Christian Groner (sophomore) is a strong, physical defender who likes to make his presence felt. We will need some solid minutes from him at the back to be successful this year. Dylan Mooney (junior) is a solid, talented player whose speed is an asset. I’m not sure where he’s going to play yet, but he will see lots of time on the field. Werner Finder (senior) quietly racked up five goals last year. He will have a bigger role this year. Evan Glaze and Austin Ruhl are seniors who will see more time than they’ve gotten in the past, and have been working hard to improve in training sessions. Both are primed for breakout seasons. Carson Leonard (sophomore) is equally good at attacking and defending. He’s another key piece on the back line for us this year. And Ryan Walker (senior) has a great sense of humor and is a good listener. He is a role player we will need contributions from.”
Nansel did name a newcomer that could make some noise for HHS this season. “Nick Marchetti is a very technically sound freshman who could make a splash on the varsity scene this year,” the coach projected.
Regardless of which players are on the pitch this season, the goal remains the same. “My expectations are for us to make it back to the state quarterfinal game and win it this year,” Nansel said without hesitation.
That journey begins on Tuesday, September 1 at home against the CBC “B” team. That match begins at 4:30 p.m. For the rest of the schedule, follow this link: Hillsboro Boys Soccer 2020