By Matt Turer – firstname.lastname@example.org
Glendale tied for the Ozark Conference championship (8-1) in 2016. Josh Call, Sean Perryman and Aaron Guilliams were the face of the program the last couple of seasons—Call and Perryman combined for 26 goals and 37 assists last year—but all three graduated.
While the Falcons will need to fill that hole on offense, their strength on defense lends its way to some leeway there. Senior second-team all-conference goalkeeper Gage Patterson had 10 shutouts and a 1.30 goals allowed average last fall and has a group in front of him he trusts. Glendale returns three all-conference defenders in junior Mitch Stephens (1st Team), senior Thomas Spence (2nd Team) and senior Mason McDonald (HM). Senior mid/defender Cole Eise started as a freshman (on a state finals team) and is also back after missing the last two years with injuries.
“This group loves to play,” head coach Jeff Rogers said. “There were many nights [this summer] that they would be up at the stadium well past 10 pm playing under the lights. They enjoy hanging out together and are a very competitive group.”
Stephens (16 G, 7 A) is Glendale’s leading returning scorer, was the only sophomore named First Team All-Ozark Conference and was one of only two sophomores named to the Southwest-Central All-Region Team. Junior Kameron Clark (M/F), senior Logan McDonald (M/F), senior Clay Compere (M) and several new underclassman will also contribute.
“They will hold the ball well this season and once we find the scoring at the other end, they will be a tough group in postseason,” Rogers said. “This will be a very strong team defensively but we will need players to step up and replace Call and Perryman. We have another tough schedule against some great teams and I am looking forward to watching this group compete.”
Glendale also has several athletic, technical and fast underclassmen in Gannon Patterson, Grant Compere, Andrew Hansen, Ryan Long, Anthony Salerno, Drew Blaine, Ryan Feeney and others who Rogers said will be competing daily to put themselves in the starting lineup.
Rogers commented further on several returners. Those quotes are below:
Rogers on Patterson: “Gage is our vocal leader and is very consistent between the pipes.”
Rogers on Stephens: “Mitch is a true center back but we push him forward and he responds well with scoring. He is composed on the ball and strong in the air.”
Rogers on Spence: “’Choo Choo’ is a very versatile player for us. He is a great defender but also attacks well when pushing the ball forward.”
Rogers on Clark (3 G, 3 A): “Kam can play most positions on the field and is a great player in tight spaces.”
Rogers on McDonald: “MaMac has been a consistent defender for us and we will rely on his experience this year.”
Glendale finished 2016 17-8 and beat Parkview 5-0 in the Class 3 District 10 championship.
Glendale has won five straight district titles and has seven consecutive seasons of 15 or more wins.