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Sports

Copley boys soccer team eyeing another run toward playoffs

9/26/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

COPLEY — Copley boys soccer head coach David Antal said the team’s major goal throughout this season is to “keep building momentum.”

“I think we started off slowly, but we’re building momentum toward the state tournament,” he said. “Winning the Suburban League and eventually having an opportunity to play for a state title is what we want to do here at Copley.”

Last season, the team started 10-0 but finished 13-3-3 overall. Copley’s season ended with a 2-1 overtime loss in the district semifinals to Medina.

This year, the team’s record is 7-3-1, with a 4-0 mark in the Suburban League. However, Antal described 2013 as “an up-and-down season” so far.

“We’ve dealt with many injuries throughout the season, and we’ve had to keep re-evaluating positions,” he said. “We went through a spell where we lost three out of four games right in the middle of the season, but I’m very proud of the way our boys have responded to a little bit of adversity. We’ve been used to success here at Copley, and we could have packed it up and called it a year after those three losses, but they haven’t. They’ve responded very well. One of things we have learned this season is that we are allowed to lose.”

This year’s team has nine seniors, but Antal said the squad is “missing a little bit of experience” at the varsity level.

“Of those seniors, we have only one returning starter,” he stated. “We were pretty senior-heavy last year, so we’re lacking varsity experience this year. But overall, our soccer experience is through the roof. We have a variety of different players from a variety of different levels that contribute every day.”

The team’s lone returning starter among the seniors is center-defender Michael Dichlian.

“He is a returning first team all-Ohioan and [National Soccer Coaches Association of America] all-region member, which was a pretty high honor for a junior,” the coach said. “He is coming off a hernia surgery that he had this summer, so he actually didn’t start the first few games of the year. Coming into this season, he was the only player I have ever had who started every single varsity game from his freshman through his junior year. He brings a knowledge of soccer that a lot of players want, and he’s a big, strong physical presence. He’s a great one-on-one defender, and this is his second year as a captain. He is our leader. He’s a great kid, too.”

The team’s current leading scorer is sophomore forward Chris Brennan, who tied for the team lead in scoring as a freshman. Through Sept. 23, Brennan had 11 goals and three assists.

“Chris was an honorable mention in the Suburban League last year as a freshman,” Antal said. “He’s one of those kids who just makes our team better.”

Another of those players, the coach said, is junior forward Skye Harter, who had eight goals and five assists through Sept. 23.

“He was tied with Chris last year for leading scorer,” Antal said. “So even with all of the seniors we had last year, it was a freshman and a sophomore who led us in scoring.”

According to the coach, Copley’s goals this year are “the same as they are every year.”

“We want to win the Suburban League. We have a very competitive league,” he said. “We want to fight for a district championship and give ourselves an opportunity to run down to the state tournament. We’re pretty committed to those goals this year and every year.”

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