Owls open soccer seasons today


Coach Matt Dennis says his Seymour boys soccer team will have a different look when they open their season today at Batesville.

“We’re going to be a different team than last year,” he said. “We’ve shown in practice that we are going to be a lot more aggressive. I think we’re going to be pretty organized defensively. We’ve got some guys that have stepped up, and I think they are going to be pretty good offensive weapons up top.”

Dennis said he looks for the scoring to come from David Polbito.

“David played as our long striker last year,” Dennis said. “Myles Chandler is going to play up there with him. Martin Sebastian is coming back, and he showed some good stuff this summer. He scored a lot of goals in our scrimmages and looked pretty good in training, so I expect him to score some goals.

“I think we’re going to get a lot of guys to get forward and score goals by committee,” Dennis said. “I don’t think we’ll have one guy score 20, but I think we’ll have a few guys score eight, nine or 10. Hopefully, with our aggression and the speed we’ll have up top, we’ll be tough to mark.”

Dennis, beginning his 13th year as head coach at Seymour, said he expects the Owls to be strong in the midfield.

“We’ve got a lot of players on this team that identify as midfielders,” he said. “I think what’s best about most of the midfielders is that they identify as defenders, too. They’ll work really well to get behind the ball and stay organized and protect our back line.”

He said there will be a lot of senior veterans on defense.

“We had to replace our goalie in Will Smith, but Lance Hubbard is going to do a good job in the net for us. He looked pretty good this summer. He has looked good in training,” Dennis said. “I don’t think we’ll take a step back defensively. I think we’ll be able to be just as stout as we usually are.

“He’s long, he’s tall, he’s a pretty good shot-stopper. He played travel soccer in the spring, so he got a lot of minutes there,” Dennis said. “We’re going to play things a little bit differently this year, and the boys have bought into that, so assuming we get those kinks ironed out quickly, I think we’ll be very good defensively with the experience we’ll have at the back.”

Seniors on the roster are Logan Westfall, Martin Sebastian, Polbito, Jaret Dominguez, Felipe Sebastian, Jordan Ritter and Cooper Murphy.

Westfall, Polbito and Jake Loebker are team captains.

Dennis said the Owls will have to score more goals than they did last year in order to have a winning record.

“We’re going to have to put more balls in the net, and that is part of the reason why we’re switching things up and we’re playing differently this year,” he said. “I think we only scored 21 goals last year in 16 games. You go back a few years and we had 74 goals. We’re going to try really hard to press higher up the field, get the ball closer to the opponent’s net and put ourselves in good positions to score goals. That’s our focus. If we can do that, then we’re going to win some games.

“Three of our first four opponents won sectionals last year. We know coming out of the gate that we’re going to be tested. We have six games before we play a conference match, so we have plenty of time to work on things.”


Coach Greg Musser said he expects his 12th edition of the Seymour girls soccer team to be balanced.

“We’ve got some good players at each level. It’s just what’s around them,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of youth and inexperience at the varsity level but players who have at least played some soccer. They’re just getting their first experience there.”

Seniors on the roster are Elizabeth Trueblood, Cheyenne Givens, Ashlyn Henderson, Rachel Lenart, Avery Musgrove, Elise Hartung, Sam Cardenas, Claire Marshall and Alona Zamora.

Musser said, “We’ve got some speed and some power up top. We’ve got some experience coming back in the middle of the field. There’s a lot of youth in that spot, but those girls have played for a while, so I think they can kind of step into it and be all right. It should be fun to see them come together.”

He said he is looking for balanced scoring.

“Hopefully, a combination of folks, but it’s a good bet to put Rachel Lenart up there at the top,” he said. “Rochiely (Zarate-Gibson) looks pretty good at distributing the ball. The same goes for Katie Roark. We’ve got a freshman, Ella Brock, who is bringing some fun stuff to the table, so I’m hopeful we can spread the scoring around, but with Rachel’s speed and power and tenacity, I think she’s going to cause havoc on a lot of people this year.”

Musser said he has been very lucky over the last handful of years to have a lot of four-year and three-year players in the middle.

“It seems we’ve finally reached that point where they’ve all graduated, so I’ve got to break a few new people in, but we’ve got some young, hungry girls in those spots that are itching to prove themselves,” he said.

Other juniors are Gabby Guzman, Ali Dominguez-Javier, Allison Rodriguez and Emma Woodard.

Trueblood returns as the varsity goalie, and Musser said Givens moved in and is battling Trueblood for playing time.

“It’s fun that competition that is starting now,” he said. “I’m going to watch that a little bit. At the moment, we’ve got a lot of old goalies and no young goalies, so we’re hoping we can mold somebody here shortly.”

Hartung, Marshall and Dominguez-Javier returned on defense.

Musser said, “Ali took the starting spot about halfway through the year last year. I’m looking for some good things out of those three. There are five girls that are competing for that other outside back spot, so it’s fun to watch them go at it and see what they’re capable of.

“We’ve got a handful that can do a few different things for us, so we’re going to bounce a few people around, utility players for us that they may not play the same position for 40 minutes, but they’re going to be on the field for 40 minutes playing a bunch of different positions. We have some glue people like that that are going to help us and some young people that have got to step up, and it will be fun to watch them.”

The Owls will host Batesville on Saturday with the junior varsity match set to start at 10 a.m., followed by the varsity match.

Musser said, “The first few games of the year are always a good learning curve for us. We come out and play some good competition, Bloomington North, Columbus North, Salem and Batesville. It kind of gives us a starting point, then we jump right into conference play.

“From there, it’s trying to establish some goals at that point. We try to use those first four games to learn where people are, what their roles can be and if we need to move them.”

The Owls had 10 wins last year, and Musser said for his team to top that mark, “It’s going to take some determination. We had that mindset the first few years I was here that hard work can beat talent any day when talent is not ready to work hard.

“We’re going to have a group of kids that are willing to work hard whistle to whistle, and I think that’s going to put some people under pressure, and if we can keep them off the board for a little bit, I think we can get up to that mark again. It’s going to take confidence and determination from the get-go.”

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