There will be two big changes for Parkview High School’s starting soccer lineup this coming season. Last season’s leading scorer, Brian Otradovec (23 goals, 2 assists), and the Vikings’ all-conference, all-district honorable mention goalkeeper, Evin Barber (9 saves per game average, 6 shutouts), will not be returning to the team after having graduated.
“About half the time I had to play (Brian) as a central defender,” the Vikings’ head coach, Clint Nurnberg, recalled with a chuckle. “But even at central defender, he would get bored and score some goals for us.”
With a major position open on both ends of the field and the scoring dynamic changed, the big question for the Vikings is whether any of the many remaining varsity players can be shifted around into scoring positions without sacrificing too much talent in the back.
According to Nurnberg, returning juniors Louis Taylor (8 goals, 4 assists) and senior Levi Pueppke (3 goals, 1 assist) will be stepping up to fill Otradovec’s cleats while midfield playmaker, TJ Joy, who has some experience as a keeper, will be dropping back to play goalie.
“You can't replace Evin Barber as a goalie or a leader,” said Joy humbly. “I can only try to be as good as he was and lead as he did.”
Depending upon how the players adapt to their new roles, the Vikings intend to continue using the 4-4-2 formation on the field, although their coach mentioned the possibility of trying other formations to support potential weak spots.
He explained that he was concerned with whether the “team would be tight enough defensively” to support Levi and Louis as forwards (a difficult challenge with a new goalie), but ultimately put his confidence in experienced defensive players like John Bogue and Joe Fairchild, both of whom are three-year varsity veterans.
Nurnberg also mentioned that he would be promoting some of last year’s more talented JV players like Aidan Griffin (0 goals, 1 assist) and Jacob Carlson (0 goals, 1 assist) to the varsity team full-time in order to keep the field balanced. “There is a lot of latent talent on the team, my goal as a coach is to help the players find their spot… the question is finding the right formula,” said Nurnberg.
Despite having to change the spots of many players in order to reformulate the team’s scoring dynamic from last season, Nurnberg called a winning season and a winning conference record in 2012 a “reasonable minimum goal.”
Last year, the team finished with a 9-13 overall record; this year, they are shooting for better.
“If we can finish with a winning record and get into districts a little farther,” Nurnberg said, “We’ll feel better, like we’ve fulfilled our potential.”
It was a tough weekend for our local teams in Blue Springs.
Both Springfield Catholic and Nixa went 0-for-2 on the weekend, forcing them to settle for fourth place in Class 3 and Class 1 respectively.
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