2021 Fall Preview: Fair Grove Soccer

By Chris Parker

Fair Grove soccer has a new head coach this year in Krista Miller. It is her first season coaching high school soccer.

“I have been interested in being a part of the soccer community here in Fair Grove since the former coach, Joseph Florez began the program,” Miller said.

She takes over a program three seasons removed from a third place finish at the state tournament. The Eagles won 21 games in 2018 but have won just 13 total since.

Senior Josh Orr (center midfielder) and junior Eli Merillat (goalie) are the team captains.

“Josh brings an understanding of the game and skillset that demands respect from those who watch him play. This year he has done an amazing job taking the time to work with his team, especially those new to the game, on improving their skills during practice and games,” Miller said. “Eli brings an unprecedented ability to unify the team. He is level headed, motivating, encouraging and spends extra time outside of practice to help his teammates work on skills.”

Junior Jaxon Rowden leads the offensive attack at forward. Brandon Kandlbinder (sophomore), Andrew Shurtz (senior), Dalton Roberts (senior) and Reid Breckner (sophomore) will join Orr in the midfield. Esais Baird (junior), Garrett Mullis (sophomore), Preston Kothenbeutel (senior) and Daniel Tennison (senior) play in front of Merillat at goalie.

“Our strengths will lie in the ability of our more skilled athletes being able to communicate with their team out on the field. Andrew Shurtz and Josh Orr not only have phenomenal skills, they are great at helping their team learn where to be on the field,” Miller said. “Our team is continuously looking to improve our ability to connect meaningful passes and utilize every member out on the field.”

Fair Grove opened the regular season at the Lebanon Tournament Aug. 27-28. The Eagles opened their non-tournament schedule on Thursday with a 5-4 loss to Willard.

“(I want) for every player to improve on and off the field, be it their skills, grades, or their ability to work with a team,” Miller said.

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