Warren boys’ soccer team very young
VINCENT — Ekrem Eksi was not exactly in a celebratory mood when Warren High scrimmaged and won a 2-0 decision against Fairfield Union at Falcon Stadium on Aug. 4.
“I was not happy with that game,” said the Warrior boys’ soccer coach. “We’re very young this season, and we have a lot of work to do. This is a brand new team.”
Last season, Warren fielded one of its best teams in program history, and finished 16-2-1 with some votes in the final Ohio Division II poll. During the campaign, the Warriors knocked off previously undefeated Alexander, 3-0. But then, they themselves were upset 2-1 in double overtime by Athens High in an Ohio SE D2 boys’ district soccer final at Logan High. During regular-season play, WHS beat the Bulldogs twice.
“We didn’t finish well,” Eksi said. “”Unfortunately, in a tournament game, you have to make it happen. If not, the team that you beat twice can come back and beat you. That’s what happened.”
The Warriors are hoping for a some payback when they host AHS in their season and home opener at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 21.
From the 2017 team, Warren graduated 11 seniors (Nick Proctor, Nick Yost, Zed Strahler, Kyler Gardner, Matt Dugan, Elijah Ross, Elliot Ullman, Matt Modesitt, Jared Hall, Noah Glazier, and Thomas Williams), nine of them starters.
“It was a strong team, offensively and defensively,” Eksi said. “And, we had depth.”
Warren does have back junior striker Ethan Yost, who scored 22 goals last season. Last year, he was a second-team all-district honoree.
Yost is also pulling double duty this fall as a kicker on the Dan Day-coached Warren football team.
The Warriors also return senior midfielder Matt Goodman, who is being groomed to possibly fill Dugan’s playmaker shoes. A year ago, Goodman, like Yost, was a second team district selection.
Dugan was a second-team All-Ohio pick and a district first teamer last season. Hall also made the district first team as defender, and Gardner and Ullman each was an honorable mention as a striker and defender, respectively. (Gardner had a 4-goal game in 7-1 triumph over Circleville in a district semi.)
The third returning Warrior starter is Joel Chevalier, a freshman defender last season.
Between the pipes, Bryar Powell is expected to be the keeper. Last season, he was Williams’ backup and played sparingly.
So, Warren indeed has some big shoes to fill at several positions on the pitch.
“You know, even though we’re young and inexperienced, that doesn’t mean we’re not going to be competitive,” Eksi said. “We will challenge. There’s no question about it. And, in a couple of years, it’s going to be a really good team. It takes time.”