The junior class includes left back Michael Thibault, midfielder and sometime forward Jacob Wagner (13 goals), forward and sometime midfielder Blaine Brutus (13 goals, six assists), midfielder Spencer Lubben, and midfielder Parker Fessenden.
Midfielder Daniel Hernandez, defender Mark Todd and Grant Condon, who is contesting for the goalie spot, are key sophomores.
“We’ve got an odd schedule where we’ll play a lot of MIC road games [five, with two at home],” Jim Wagner said. “It’s going to make it a lot tougher but I think we’ve got the experience. The guys are a lot bigger. I would expect to be at about [last year’s] level. Obviously I’d think our goals are to win the MIC and sectional again.”
The Panthers lost only three seniors from an 11-4-1 team so the team should be very similar to last season, only with a greater sense of urgency. Western shared the MIC title with Northwestern last season but fell in the first round of play in the Class 2A Kokomo Sectional.
“We have a very solid group back and very motivated,” coach Mike Roe said. “I think they’ll be a very good defensive team. As far as possession goes, I’m a fan of possession so I coach it a lot. I feel like we’ll be solid there, but maybe not as good as before. This team’s personality is a little more goal-hungry than some of our teams in the past. They’re pretty relentless in the attacking phase. I think you can look to see us maybe a little more high-scoring than we have been the last couple years.”
A large senior group returns including: goalie Edgar Sanchez (1.2 goals against average last season); defenders Zac Simpson, Nick Downing, Nic Bewley and Cody Cox; midfielder/defender Chris Carter; midfielder Chris Root (six goals); and playmaking central midfielder Jordan Roe (13 goals, 11 assists).