Others expected to play big roles are junior central defender Trent Stiner, sophomore right forward Dillon Ryan (he leads returnees with six goals and 10 assists), sophomore right midfielder Dalton Ryan, sophomore left midfielder/forward Nate Everett, and four freshmen who will see plenty of time: central midfielder/defensive midfielder Lucas VanMatre; defender Austin Campbell; left forward Cole Walker; and forward/midfielder Ben Cole.
John VanMatre thinks the squad will have a strong bench to bolster a starting 11 that is more skilled than previously.
“I hope to be good at possessing the ball and I really hope to be good at — this is one of my hallmarks as a coach — finding that perfect balance between being able to possess the ball but also having that sense of urgency to get the ball forward and score when the opportunities present themselves,” he said.” Almost one through 11 I’ve got some really good ball skills. It’s nice to have that and not have holes that you’re worried about.”
The Titans tripled their win total from their previous campaign by going 9-10 last season. Ten players return from that squad, but the bulk of the team is lowerclassmen as 14 of the 17 Titans are sophomores or freshmen.
“We’re extremely young,” Taylor coach Mike Shane said with a laugh.
Shane said the team’s biggest challenge is having “patience. That’s a big one, getting them to play the way you want them to play. They haven’t been around the system. The nice thing is they are young, they are moldable. They’re a very eager group, very into the sport, they constantly want to play, they constantly want to improve.”
Eight seniors, including six starters, graduated from last season’s squad, meaning plenty of opportunities for the younger Titans — especially a big sophomore class.