Chambersburg boys soccer takes some preseason hits
Coming off a fine first season as head coach, Corey Grove knew he had the firepower returning to help Chambersburg have another successful boys soccer season this fall.
And that's still possible.
But it will take some good breaks and some players to raise their level of play, because the offseason wasn't kind to the Trojans.
Chambersburg had three underclass P.O. First Team All-Stars and another on the second team in 2015. But it's possible that of that foursome, only Nathan Maynard will hit the field when the Trojans open at State College on Tuesday.
Midfielder John Ramirez is dealing with a knee injury, forward Rafael Bonilla is ineligible until late in the season, and Inigo Macias returned with his family to Mexico.
"The goal is still the same: Get to the playoffs and once you get there, good things can happen," Grove said. "We still have good players, but we'll just have to work really hard."
Maynard said, "We still have a lot coming back, and we should be prepared for the games. I think we're pretty well-rounded. I just want to make it to states."
If Ramirez can play - and that won't be known until next week - and Bonilla makes his way back, and Chambersburg has some players break out, it could happen.
Midfielder Rene Quintanilla said, "We have to keep working with the team we have, and I think we have a tough team."
If Ramirez plays in center midfield, it allows Grove to push Maynard up as an attacker. If he doesn't play, Maynard may need to drop back to midfield.
Grove said, "When John is healthy he is our best option at midfield, so if he is out, we'll lose something there. He's the guy who makes everything happen. Nate can score some goals - I think he's one of the best players in the Mid Penn."
Along with Quinitanilla, Griffin Redding and Connor Gniewek will direct the midfield.
"Griffin is still young (sophomore), but he grew four inches and put on 20 pounds from last year," Grove said. "He's a quality player who just needs to settle in."
With Maynard up front will be Chuy Munoz and Joel Pineda. That trio combined for 12 goals a year ago; however, of the team's 56 goals last year, players returning scored only 18 of them.
The defense has two starters - Rylee Reed and Jacob Stouffer - returning, and Josue Chacon got varsity experience. Luke Myers will take over the other defender position, while Jacob Dougal assumes the goalkeeping tasks.
"I'm expecting our backs to be pretty solid," Grove said.
That would certainly help after a shaky start to the season.
Trojans at a glance
Coach: Corey Grove, 2nd year.
Last year: 12-5-2 (8-4-2 Mid Penn Commonwealth Division); lost 2-0 to Hershey in a District 3A quarterfinal.
Returning starters: Nathan Maynard (sr., for, 7 goals, 7 assists, P.O. 1st Team); John Ramirez (sr., mid, 2, 2, P.O. 1st Team); Ryley Reed (sr., def, 1, 1, P.O. 2nd Team); Rene Quintanilla (sr., mid, 2 goals); Jacob Stouffer (sr., def).
Other top players: Jacob Dougal (sr., goalkeeper); Chuy Munoz (so., for, 3, 3); Josue Chacon (jr., def); Luke Myers (so., def); Griffin Redding (so., mid, 2 assists); Connor Gniewek (jr., mid); Joel Pineda (sr., for, 2 goals); Victor Canel (sr., def, 1, 2); Johan Sebastien (sr., for); Asher Schwartz (jr., for); John Stauffer (sr., def); Cameron Dale (sr., for); Andrew Armstrong (jr., goalkeeper).
Season opener: Tuesday, at State College, 7.