By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
SAYRE — First-year Sayre boys soccer coach Greg Hughey takes over a program that won one game in 2018, and he has basic expectations for the Redskins in 2019.
(Sayre opens its 2019 campaign Friday night against Galeton in the opening round of the Galeton Tournament.)
“I want these guys to play hard, take the game seriously, and represent Sayre well; those are my expectations,” he said. “If something bad happens, I want them to learn from that experience.
“It would be nice to win, but I have to look at last year and keep in mind we won one game,” said Hughey. “Our expectation this year is to build on every game.
“I see a lot of talent on our team. To do something this year, we have to play as a team, we have to move the ball as a team,” added Hughey. “Last year, there were 11 individuals on the field. This year, I’m hoping to have a team on the field, that would be my biggest challenge for these guys.”
The Redskins will feature two strikers this season with sophomore Mason Hughey and freshman Brayden Post getting the majority of the time there.
Junior Cody VanBenthuysen, who will also see time at striker, will start at center-mid, with junior Connor Young, who will see time as goalkeeper, at left-mid, and senior Nick Park at right-mid.
Sophomore Trevor Campbell, who will also see time at keeper, will start at holding-mid. Senior Latterian Stewart, junior Riley Osborne, freshman Patrick Shaw, and sophomore Kaden Petrocco will also vie for time at holding-mid and in the back.
Sophomore Dylan Yale will start at center-back, junior Jia Yang Huang will start at left-back, sophomore Robert Forbes will start at right-back, and sophomore Gunner McCutcheon will get the nod at sweeper.
Osborne could also see time on the offensive end, while freshman Will Trump and sophomore Cam McCutcheon will vie for time on the defensive end.
Hughey said the strength of the team lies in the offensive end, but there is room for improvement there as well.
“We have a lot of travel players up front for striking and handling the ball,” he said. “I think our shots are good, but our our passing needs some work, and we still need to distribute the ball.
“I think their knowledge of the game, their soccer IQ is good.
“After our scrimmage, I asked he guys what they thought we needed to work on, and they knew; and that’s a good thing,” Hughey added.
Hughey notes there are a few areas of concern.
“One of the things I’ve seen is that we’re in a hurry to go fast; there’s too much dribbling and not enough passing,” he said. “Our defense sometimes turns and looks to move upfield, instead of thinking passing outside and distributing. We’ve been working on that.
“Inexperience with some of our substitutes is also a concern.
“I’m a little concerned with our conditioning,” noted Hughey. “We’ve had some good conditioning work, but some of these guys are going to be asked to play quite a few minutes.
“We have five subs, and we’ll get them in-and-out, but then there’s the question of inexperience, especially on the offensive side,” he added.
AROUND THE NTL
“Athens is obviously the team to beat, but there’s a lot of good talent around the league,” said Hughey. “Wellsboro is always good, Galeton was very strong last year, and Williamson was good.
“We’re looking up at everyone, so I think every game at this point will be a tough one for us,” he added.
IN PHOTO: The returning lettermen for the Sayre Redskins. Front row, from left: Dylan Yale, Robert Forbes, Cody VanBenthuysen, Gunner McCutcheon, and Latterian Stewart. Back row, from left: Mason Hughey, Nick Park, Connor Young, Kaden Petrocco, and Trevor Campbell. … PHOTO BY TIM BIRNEY.
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