STRATTANVILLE — Coming off its best season ever, the Clarion-Limestone Lions soccer team is hoping to take it to the next level this fall.
To do so, the Lions will have to find a way to replace five seniors lost to graduation, including their leading goal scorer in Braden Peters. They will also have to find a replacement in goal for Harrison Porter. New head coach Don Montgomery thinks that with 11 of the 16 players on the roster returning that he can replace those that the team lost.
“We have a next man up situation,” said Montgomery. “We’re going to look for some younger kids to step in and fill those voids. Lucas Baker a junior will step in to play goal keeper for us. Harrison Porter who was our goalkeeper graduated, but we brought him on to our coaching staff to be a goal keepers coach. Braden Peters set a record for goals so obviously we’ll have to replace that by committee. We still have a lot of guys who are capable of scoring goals.
The 11 returning players are seniors Jake Burns, Donovan Montgomery, Kyle Schonbachler, Connor Nichols, and Isaac Kim. Juniors are Baker and Ben Murtha with sophomores Ryker Bingham, Austin Coull and Beau Verdill.
New players are freshmen Cody Whitling, Kade Phillips, Nate Megnin, Peyton Smith and Charlie Franchino along with foreign exchange student in junior Johannes Kuehn.
“All of the freshman guys we had last year made big contributions,” said Montgomery. “They are all continuing that into this year. We didn’t ask a lot of them last year and allowed them to come along slowly and I think that helped. This year they will be looked upon to do a little more to help in our success.”
Moving from assistant to head coach hasn’t been much of a difference according to Montgomery. “It’s been a smooth transition moving to head coach. I’m familiar with these guys. These seniors, I’ve been with them since they’ve been here. The biggest thing is the administrative part of the job.”
“We want to build on what we’ve been doing,” continued Montgomery. “We’ve been tweaking what we’ve been doing over the last three years since I’ve been here. We’ll continue to do that and we’ll adjust some things and try and adjust to what other teams are doing.”
Last season the Lions finished last season 9-3 before bowing out of the District 9 Class 1A playoffs in overtime to Port Allegany,
“The way our season ended in overtime in that situation these guys are certainly hungry to try and get back there and get over that hump,” said Montgomery. “They would like to try and get into the D9 championship game. These guys have seen how we’ve kept climbing and they are all focused and driven.”
Seniors: Jake Burns, Donovan Montgomery, Kyle Schonbachler, Connor Nichols, Isaac Kim
Juniors: Lucas Baker, Ben Murtha, Johannes Kuehn.
Sophomores: Ryker Bingham, Austin Coull, Beau Verdill
Freshmen: Cody Whitling, Kade Phillips, Nate Megnin, Peyton Smith, Charlie Franchino.
4-at Brookville, 4 p.m.
12-at West Shamokin
13-at Keystone, 6 p.m.
24-at Ridgway, 4 p.m.
27-at Forest Area, Marienville, 4 p.m.
9-at Redbank Valley
13-at Karns City, 11 a.m.
Games begin a 6:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.