The 2016 boys soccer season ended in heartbreaking fashion for Columbus North.

The Bull Dogs lost to Evansville Memorial on penalty kicks in the semifinals of the Jeffersonville Regional. That Memorial team went on to win the Class 2A state championship.

North returns five full-time and one part-time starter from that team that went 15-6-1 and won sectional and regional titles. That includes junior forward Alex McGill, who earned All-Conference Indiana and The Republic Boys Soccer Player of the Year honors after leading the Bull Dogs with 20 goals and five assists.

Also returning to the lineup are senior midfielder Jack Robertson in midfield, junior center back Zach Friend and senior defenders Finn and Jannis Anderson on defense. Senior Andrew Potter was a part-time starter.

Sophomores Graham Keele, Andrew Goble and Sotaro Kaneda could fill starting roles. Junior Noah Kestler and freshman Colvin Iorio are battling for the goalkeeper job.

“We’re very pleased with the team’s efforts,” North coach Andy Glover said. “I feel as though the team is in a good place at the moment.”

The Bull Dogs will miss senior Rico Hollenkamp, who shared team MVP honors with McGill last season. Hollenkamp is playing with the Developmental Academy this year.

Columbus East

The Olympians will play their first five games on the road before hosting Columbus North on Aug. 26 at Richard Wigh Soccer Complex.

“I think we have a good balance of youth and experience in the squad and are anxious to get into the season,” East coach Brad Barber said. “I think we build a demanding schedule against some of the top teams in the state.”

Eight starters return from a team that went 9-6-1. Seniors Dustin Rodgers, who was All-Hoosier Hills Conference and led the team with eight goals), and Jayvon who was second-team All-HHC, are back at forward.

Seniors Eli Newell, who was second-team All-District, and Justin Copas, who was second-team All-HHC and led the team in assists, return in the midfield, along sophomore Eric Stiles.

“The midfield is going to be the strength of our team, I believe,” Barber said. “They should be able to create some scoring opportunities.”

Junior Ricky Sanchez returns at outside back, and senior Scott Hammond, who was honorable mention All-State, is back at center back. Sophomore Zach Robertson remains in goal.

Junior Anthony Espinosa is battling for starting forward spot. Sophomore Jorge Nieto will step into the midfield. Senior Andy Davidson will join Hammond at center back, and senior Jake Gesick, junior Alex Garcia and sophomore Gabe Rivera are battling for the other outside back spot.

Hauser

Jets coach Andy Hunnicutt was expecting to have nine starters back, but five seniors did not come back out for the team this season.

“I thought we were going to have a very experienced team back, but it’s going to be young,” Hunnicutt said. “But there’s some talent there.”

Hauser does return four senior starters. Forward Joe Sweet led the team in scoring, and center mid Andrew Titus led in assists. Matt Sweet also is back in the center midfield, and David Newcomb played center back. Junior Justin Stafford was part-time starter at outside mid.

Junior Cameron Lawson takes over for four-year starter Pete Trotter in goal. Also looking to fill starting spots are juniors Joe Hunter, Ethan Hoke, Luke Swegman, Will Trotter and Caleb Carnine and sophomore Sam Johnson.

The Jets have a big freshman class with eight and could have as many as three exchange students.

Columbus Christian

Eight players are back, including six starters, return from a team that went 4-6 last season.

Senior forward Kyle Foster, sophomore outside mid C.J. Reed, freshman outside mid Garrett Spurgeon, senior center mid Nate Stamper and sophomore center back Josh Jones all return. Senior Aaron Armarales moves from outside back to center back.

Spurgeon or junior newcomer Ethan Edwards could take over in goal. Sophomore Evan Graham could play on defense or in the midfield, and junior Abby Haynes will step in at outside back.

Eighth-grader Jaden Decker and sophomore Connor Emily could play forward or outside mid.

“I think we have a lot of fresh talent to grow,” Columbus Christian coach Jessica Decker said. “I’ve challenged some of my players that have played to take some new leadership positions. They work well together, which is really good for a team to have that team aspect.”

Jennings County

The Panthers will look for a big improvement after going 1-15 last season.

“We were in a lot of games, and we just couldn’t have the final result we wanted,” Jennings coach Brad Morris said. “I’m hoping we can improve this year and compete with some of the better teams in our conference. From what I’ve seen in practice, these guys can have a better season than what they did last year. They just have to believe in themselves and not get down on themselves.”

Six starters return, including junior forward Justin Copeland, who broke his leg against East last year. Junior forward Abel Rueda was a part time starter, and juniors Gavin McKinney and Dylan Boswell return at outside back and center back, respectively.

Senior Dalton Craig moves from center back to center mid. Sophomore Keagan Craig moves from outside mid to center mid

Sophomore Jaydan Vanosdol and sophomore Michael Pemberton will step in at outside mid. Junior Daniel Redmond will be an outside back, sophomore Blake Hardisty will play center back and senior Chance Newkirk takes over in goal.

Brown County

The Eagles are looking for a big season with nine starters back from a team that went 8-6-1.

“With so many returning guys that have played together at least for a season, I have high expectations,” Brown County coach Erich Nolan said. “I expect to win our (Western Indiana) conference. Next season will be a little rough because of losing so many guys, but this season, I’m expecting to have a lot of fun.”

The returning starters are eniors Landon Cambridge and Logan Fittz at forward sophomores Will Normile and Caleb Yeager at outside mid, seniors Will Ryan and Ben Rygiel at center mid, senior Kyle Spires at outside back and senior Curtis Higgins and Matt Chiyasit at center back.

Junior Aiden Johnson, sophomore Logan Imming and junior Whitten Keith are battling for the other outside back spot. Junior Chris Ratzburg and freshman Jake Huddleston are vying for the goalkeeper job.

Trinity Lutheran

The Cougars have their biggest team ever with 16 kids.

Nine of those are returning starters from last year’s 3-10-1 squad. Junior Trent Shoemaker is back at forward, and junior Josiah Foster and senior Sam Hayes return at outside mid.

Senior Noah Criswell, junior AJ Goecker and sophomore Sawyer Doggett are back at center mid, although Goecker could drop back to stopper this season. Seniors Andrew Emily and Jacob Crockett return at center back and outside back, respectively, and junior Jacob Keith returns in goal.

Sophomore newcomer Sam Flint and freshman Kash Siefker are battling for the other forward spot.

“Our other center back and our right back, we’re trying to figure out what we’re going to do with that,” Trinity coach Brandan Tabeling said. “We have some competition for some spots. We definitely look like we’re going to be more attacking this year. We’re going to have more of an offensive mindset, and we’re going to fill in our defense around that.”

If you go

2017 boys soccer schedules for Bartholomew County schools:

Columbus East

Monday;at Floyd Central;7:30 p.m.

Aug. 19;at Center Grove Classic;11 a.m.

Aug. 22;at Seymour;7 p.m.

Aug. 24;at Bloomington North;5:30 p.m.

Aug. 26;Columbus North;6 p.m.

Aug. 30;East Central;7 p.m.

Sept. 5;Bedford North Lawrence;7 p.m.

Sept. 9;at Fishers;12:30 p.m.

Sept. 14;at Jennings County;7 p.m.

Sept. 16;at Mt. Vernon Marauder Classic;9 a.m.

Sept. 21;Madison;7 p.m.

Sept. 23;at New Albany;1:30 p.m.

Sept. 25;at Bloomington South;7:30 p.m.

Sept. 30;Jeffersonville;12:30 p.m.

Columbus North

Aug. 17;Bloomington North;7:30 p.m.

Aug. 22;Cathedral;7:30 p.m.

Aug. 26;at Columbus East;6 p.m.

Aug. 29;at Center Grove;7 p.m.

Aug. 31;at Franklin Central;7:30 p.m.

Sept. 2;Terre Haute South;3:30 p.m.

Sept. 5;at Bloomington South;7:30 p.m.

Sept. 8;at North Central Invitaional;TBA

Sept. 9;at North Central Invitational;TBA

Sept. 11;at East Central;7:30 p.m.

Sept. 14;Perry Meridian;7:30 p.m.

Sept. 16;at Terre Haute North;1 p.m.

Sept. 19;Southport;7:30 p.m.

Sept. 21;at Westfield;7:30 p.m.

Sept. 26;Seymour;7:30 p.m.

Sept. 29;at Carmel;7:30 p.m.

Columbus Christian

Tuesday;Bloomington Lighthouse;5:30 p.m.

Aug. 18;at Horizon Christian;5 p.m.

Aug. 21;at Suburban Christian;5:30 p.m.

Aug. 25;at Martinsville Christian;5 p.m.

Sept. 5;at Henryville;6 p.m.

Sept. 12;at Bloomington Lighthouse;5:30 p.m.

Sept. 14;at Hauser;5 p.m.

Sept. 16;Horizon Christian;11 a.m.

Sept. 19;at Christel House Academy;5:30 p.m.

Hauser

Aug. 19;at Southwestern (Shelby);10 a.m.

Aug. 24;Knightstown;5:30 p.m.

Aug. 29;Oldenburg Academy;5:30 p.m.

Aug. 31;at Trinity Lutheran;5 p.m.

Sept. 5;at Morristown;5:30 p.m.

Sept. 7;Southwestern (Shelby);5 p.m.

Sept. 12;Greensburg;5:30 p.m.

Sept. 14;Columbus Christian;5 p.m.

Sept. 16;Anderson;2 p.m.

Sept. 19;Morristown;5:30 p.m.

Sept. 21;at Indianapolis Lutheran;6 p.m.

Sept. 25;Franklin County;5:30 p.m.

Sept. 27;Henryville;5:30 p.m.

Author photo
Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.