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Valley Sports Report
SAYRE — Second-year coach Greg Hughey is hoping a trio of talented players, an infusion of youth, and improved play of young veterans will keep the Sayre boys soccer program on an upward trajectory in 2020.

Hughey’s Redskins won three games in 2019, an improvement over its one-win total in 2018.

He’s hoping the leadership of senior Cody VanBenthuysen, junior Mason Hughey, and sophomore Brayden Post will lead the way to an improved season in 2020.

“The biggest strength I see in this team is the nucleus of Cody (VanBenthuysen), Mason (Hughey), and (Brayden) Post,” said Hughey. “Cody has played varsity for four years, Mason is in his third year, and Brayden had a great freshman season.

“They are all travel players, plus freshman Alex Campbell has played some travel ball, and Connor Young has played travel … we have more travel kids on this team than we’ve had in the past,” noted Hughey.

"I can’t say enough about the abilities of some of the incoming freshmen,” continued Hughey. “Austin Benjamin brings in a nice tool set, he has size and skill.

“Alex Campbell is an excellent defender. He’s very athletic and has a soccer IQ higher than most. He doesn’t back down to anybody, and he’s got a good shot.”


Sophomore Cole Gelbutis will start in net for the Redskins, with freshman Aiden Ennis serving as his back-up.

“I’ve seen some good play out of Cole in net,” said Hughey. “In the last year, his keeper skills have gotten so much better.”

Senior Connor Young will anchor the defense at center-back, with junior Dylan Yale at right-back, and senior Ji Huang at left-back.

The Redskins lost one of their best defenders in the preseason when junior Robert Forbes suffered a season-ending knee injury.

“We’re a little more athletic defensively this year,” said Hughey.

“We lost Robert (Forbes), which is a huge blow,” he noted. “He was one of our better defenders returning. Without him, we had to switch our line-up around a bit.

“We’re looking to supplement our defense with two center-mids, one who will drop back, and one that’s going to attack,” added Hughey.

Post will play the attacking center-mid, with Alex Campbell playing the defensive center-mid.

VanBenthuysen and Hughey will play in the center-midfield, with junior Gunner McCutcheon at left wing, and either Benjamin or sophomore Patrick Shaw, who could also see time on defense, at the right wing.

Junior Trevor Campbell is set to start at striker. Freshman Braylon DeKay could also see time at striker.

Hughey notes several of his returning players have worked hard to improve.

“Trevor Campbell and Gunner McCutcheon both have improved their foot skills coming into the season, and Dylan Yale has really worked hard.”

Hughey’s main concern in 2020 is giving him starters some rest.

“Since Robert (Forbes) went out, I’m worried about our depth,” he said. “We have athletes, we just don’t have enough to sub for them.”

Hughey has tempered expectations for the 2020 season.

“Being 3-13 last year, we certainly have to take it one game at a time,” he said. “We can’t under-estimate anybody, and we can’t get too stressed out about playing anybody.

“We just have to play our game,” noted Hughey. “My expectation is to play it one game at a time, and see how it goes.

“We played Athens in a scrimmage, saw some things we didn’t know were there, and made some adjustments,” he added. “I think that’s how we’’ll approach the season as well.”

AROUND THE NTL: “I think the top teams are Athens and Wellsboro,” said Hughey.

“I think you’ll see a lot of improvement from other teams in the league, too,” he added.



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