Boys Varsity Soccer
The Columbus North boys soccer team is looking to step forward in 2019.
Fresh off a 7-11-1 season, coach Tom Pollert and the Bull Dogs believe they are ready to make significant improvement with a cast led by seniors Graham Keele, Ben Malone, Sotaro Kaneda and Andrew Goble.
Keele totaled 31 points on 15 goals and one assist last season, and he is the top returning offensive threat. Kaneda contributed 11 points on three goals and five assists, while Malone moves up front this season after playing as a defender as a junior. Goble, who tallied two goals and one assist, continues to anchor the back line.
Juniors Colvin Iorio and Jared Marquez look to share duties in goal. Iorio had a 4.91 goals against average in 228 minutes in the varsity nets last season. Marquez had a 2.58 GAA in 31 varsity minutes in 2018.
“The coaching staff and players are excited to get the season under way,” Pollert said. “We play one of the most difficult schedules in the state in preparation for the postseason. Therefore, we will be competing daily in our training sessions and matches to prepare us for Conference Indiana opponents and the sectional tournament.”
Other holdovers include juniors Sam Larken, Mauricio Brito, Jesus Hernandez, Bryce Lynn, Ricardo Navarro and Jacob Gilliam as well as sophomores Will Holliday, Luke Schneider, Jesse Williams and Nathan White. Each earned a varsity letter last season.
New to the varsity lineup are junior Ben LaVelle, sophomore Caleb Boyce and freshmen Flynn Keele, Anthony Johnson, Trent Liggett, Mateo Mendez and Nathan Imlay. All are eager to make an impact to the squad.
“Our team goal is to get better every day,” Pollert said. “We seek to put in the ‘hard yards’ at training sessions and compete on a daily basis. Every player worked hard over the summer, and we feel like they will continue to put in the work this season.”
The season opens at 11:30 a.m. Saturday (Aug. 17) with a home match against Southport, the defending Conference Indiana champion, at Richard Wigh Soccer Complex. The Bull Dogs follow by hosting CI-foe Bloomington North on Aug. 22 and then face rival Columbus East on Aug. 29. CN travels to Center Grove on Sept. 3, visits Carmel on Sept. 13 and faces Penn and Evansville North on Sept. 28 in the Zionsville Classic in other key matches.
Other Conference Indiana matches are Sept. 7 at home against Terre Haute South, Sept. 21 at Terre Haute North and Sept. 24 at home against Bloomington South.
Pollert, now in his second season, said everyone now is more comfortable with what he expects.
“Year 2 has allowed us to implement our coaching philosophy and style into the program,” he said, alluding to himself and assistant Chris Morlock. “With the addition of Sam LaVelle and David Green to our staff, our training sessions produce competitive and positive outcomes, making our players better prepared for the season ahead.”
PHOTO: Graham Keele (9) makes a move with the ball during the Bull Dogs' game against Franklin Central in 2018. Columbus North won the game 1-0.