Cedar Crest boys soccer preview
Coach: Travis Bensing, second season
Last year's record: 3-13-2
Key returners: Hunter Craig, Sr., F; Jake Beard, Sr., GK; Ray More, Sr., D; Collin Jones, Jr., MF; Chad Ryland, Jr., MF; Luke Hains, Jr., MF.
Promising newcomers: Cole Laney, Jr., MF; Carter Bucks, Soph., D; Josh Donnachie, Soph., D; John McCumber, Soph., F.
Outlook: Filling the shoes of an experienced senior class of 10 with an incoming five-member group can certainly serve a challenge unto itself. Throw in the continued responsibility of a program rebuild and you have the exact task the Falcons face in 2016.
Cedar Crest, which has dropped down to Section Two, aims for an improved season showing via tighter defense and increased possession. And the good news for the Falcons is twofold: there's plenty of room for improvement and a strong chemistry, fostered in part from a summer camp at Bucknell, is already in place.
"The kids are really working hard, working on their communication," Bensing said. "We have a motto this year that we're playing for the guy to our left and the guy to our right. The kids are willing to look out for each other."
Senior Jake Beard is back healthy as an established keeper, while junior midfielders Collin Jones, Chad Ryland and Luke Hains are penciled in. Key returners stand on either side of that group, striker Hunter Craig and back Ray More, giving the lineup some balance, though the back line remains a focal point.
"We have a brand new defense so that will be one of our main focuses," Bensing said. "Our opening game against Governor Mifflin, I'd say will be our test. We've scrimmaged them in the past. They have a good, young team coming.
"Overall, we just want to put together 80 to 100 minutes of quality soccer so we're in position to compete every game and not rely as much on the counter-attack."