Crusader boys return for second varsity season
Team: Mayer Lutheran boys’ soccer
Coach: Josh Hanley
Years coaching this team: 2
Captains: Jesse Greenhagen, Michael Limmel, and Zach Schilling
Conference: In only their second season as a varsity sport at LHS, the boys’ soccer team is not yet a member of a conference. Hanley said he hopes that as soon as next year, the team can become a part of a conference.
Section: 6A – Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Breck, Chaska, Delano, Holy Family, International School of Minnesota, Mayer Lutheran, Mound-Westonka, Orono, Providence Academy, Rockford, Southwest Christian, Watertown-Mayer, and West Lutheran.
2011 finish: In the team’s inaugural varsity season, the Crusaders were 0-15-2. The two tied games began with a 1-1 contest against Bethany Academy mid-September. The other was a 2-2 tie with Hutchinson in late September. The season ended in the first round of section play with a 9-0 shut out at Holy Family.
Throughout the year, the team was plagued with injury and illness, even losing starting goalie Michael Limmel to a concussion late in the season.
Key returning players: After missing the end of last season Limmel returns to the net this yet. Hanley called Limmel “a human pincushion” in the goal, and said he is looking forward to having him back.
“He’s a brick wall when it comes down to it,” Hanley said. “He kept us in a lot of games we shouldn’t have been in.”
Also returning for the Crusaders will be seniors Jesse Greenhagen and Zach Schilling. Greenhagen is the team’s leading return scorer, but Hanley said he hopes to expand the team’s scoring ability.
“Jesse’s looking out of sign already,” Hanley said. “Zach has already improved in things from last year.”
The team’s lone returning defender will be Michael Corkins on the back line.
Key losses from 2011: Hanley said the team will have to fill the holes left by last year’s departing seniors, which graduated all but one of the Crusaders’ defensive line.
“We definitely will feel the sting from Logan Radde, who was a big time defender,” Hanley said. “The same with [Stephen] Zahrte. He was all the time energy.”
Prospects: With only five seniors currently on the team (including Chase and Jesse Greenhagen, Michael Corkins, Zach Schilling, and Michael Limmel), Hanley will be looking to many of the underclassmen to step into starting varsity positions.
“There are a lot of young guys bringing in new skill sets that we didn’t have last year,” he said. “I see some guys who are putting forth some real effort.”
Hanley also hopes to capitalize on the talents of sophomore goalie Garrett Corkins.
Teams to beat: To start the season, the Crusaders would like to do well against the International School, whom they will face in their first home game on Aug. 28. Hanley said the Crusaders have a shot at competing with Delano, and if the day is right, have the chance to defeat Southwest Christian.
Hanley said the team’s toughest competitor by far will be Prairie Seeds Academy, should the Crusaders face them in the post season.
“I love my guys, but I’m a realist,” Hanley said. “If we can even hang with Prairie Seeds and not get totally destroyed, I will be happy.”
Prairie Seeds Academy is the 2011 state runner-up in Class A, and the 2010 Class A state champion.
Goals: While winning their first game as a varsity sport would be nice this season, Hanley said his main focus is to develop the players and focus on staying in games, minimizing blow outs and shut outs.
“If we can win games while developing players, that’s icing on the cake,” he said.
The Crusaders’ home opener was Aug. 28 against the International School. They will host Rockford next week on Sept. 6 at 7 p.m.