Posted: Wednesday, 21 August 2013 1:21PM

Greenwood soccer hopes tough schedule pays off

Springfield, Mo. (  -- Following a 13-11 record in 2012, Greenwood’s head coach Chris Shull hopes to make a deeper run into the state playoffs with a solid core of talented upperclassmen this fall.

“Last year we were too inconsistent on the soccer field and that’s what broke our season as we progressed into the playoffs,” said Shull. “We’re looking forward to this year’s squad to be more focused and ready to play on game day. The ones coming back from 2012 are out to improve and be competitive in the district.”

After losing to Springfield Catholic in the district championship last year, Shull expects his juniors and seniors to step up and take the leadership role in effort to improve upon their performance in high-pressure matchups late in the season.

Greenwood will look to Class 1 All-District, All-Region, and All-State Honorable Mention Nick Hogan to lead the offensive attack, as the senior forward comes off a strong 2012 campaign.

“We are expecting senior leadership from Nick this season after his impressive showing on the field last fall,” said Shull.

The senior defensive duo of Ben Aiken and Ralph Freelander will command the backfield for the Blue Jays, while Tony Eom claims a forward position alongside Hogan.

Shull is excited for the new and upcoming youngsters to the Greenwood varsity roster. Both midfielders, Ty Dupree and Noah Shuler are freshman out to make a name for themselves.

“Ty and Noah both bring fresh talent to the team this season,” said Shull. “It will be exciting to watch these athletes grow and improve as players and individuals.”

In Class 1, Greenwood will face quite the competitive lineup this fall, as the Blue Jays contend with Class 2 or 3 schools in 11 of their 18 games. But Shull believes that playing schools much bigger than their own will make them better for the long term.

“With majority of our opponents coming from larger and more talented schools, it’s going to be a test for us to compete,” said Shull. “Our goal this season is to win districts and advance to state in the fall, which is all possible as long we stay healthy and focused in each game.”

The Blue Jays open up their 2013 schedule at home against the Warriors of New Covenant Academy Sep. 3 at 4:30 p.m.

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