By Chris Parker
Republic made the program’s first final four appearance last season and finished third place in Class 3 with a 24-4 record.
Much of that success came thanks to the state’s best scorer in Dylan Brown. Brown scored 56 goals with nine assists to have a hand in 75 percent of the Republic offense in 2017. He is now playing collegiately for Rockhurst.
“Dylan was a great scorer. The thing with Dylan is he did not come in to Republic as a great scorer. We could always see something special in him but couldn’t quite find it at first. He put a lot of hard work into his skillset and reading the game more quickly,” Republic head coach Kevin Hauck said. “His first step is so quick it was always hard to stop. Because of his hard work he was able to become the proficient scorer he is. He will leave a legacy behind that hopefully future Tigers will want to chase after and try to catch. He will hopefully encourage guys to work harder and find the same success he was able to find.”
Now the Tigers move on without Brown, but the Final Four run has lit a fire in the Tigers’ program.
“The Final Four run has made the boys want it more. They are more competitive and their work ethic has skyrocketed. They want to push each other to become better and have another shot at making it to state. They are excited to get back out there on the field,” Hauck said.
Republic looks to be a stout defensive team this year. The Tigers return a trio of all-conference seniors in defenders Alex Leonard and Carlos Chan and goalkeeper Dalton Ghan.
“They were a force to be reckoned with on the defense line,” Hauck said. “They allowed for us to give up the least amount of goals in a season ever for the boys. They allowed for our offense to do their thing while they held down the back. They will be even more important for us this year as we find scoring up top. They will be leaders for us on the field.”
Leonard will find himself in the midfield this year in the wake of losing all-conference midfielder Trenton Roetto to graduation. Kalem Murray will join Chan in the center of the defense. Seniors Spenser Waller and Luis Elivo will also be on the backline to give the defense a strong group of leaders.
The offensive attack for the Tigers will become more balanced this season. Seniors Austin Beck and Andrew Flippin tied for second on the team in goals with five each. Flippin accounted for 22 assists last year, which was just two off of the school record. Fellow senior Chris Pacheco will also be added up top in the offensive attack after playing defense last year.
Sophomores Josh Gallardo, Kalem Murray and Jackson McGuire along with freshman Marco Donjuan will compete for varsity time. Senior Blake Williams returns this season after missing last year due to an injury.
“My expectations this year are to be competitive in every game we play. It will not be easy and I think at times we will face adversity. I want to see how we handle that adversity though. I believe we will fight through it and be a tough team to beat this year. We have a lot of talent and these boys are competitive and want to win. I am excited for our season,” Hauck said.
Republic will host a preseason scrimmage on Aug. 17 with Catholic, Ozark and Parkview. The Tigers will open their regular season on Aug. 24 at Waynesville.