Things looking up for Jasper boys soccer

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Jasper boys soccer coach Kyle Kendall hailed junior Jayden Boeglin (right) for having a really good summer, and believes Boeglin is a natural goal scorer.

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

JASPER — Jasper boys soccer heads into Saturday's season opener at home against Seymour in a completely different scenario from a year ago.

The Wildcats finished at 7-8-3, falling to Castle in last year's sectional semifinals. This year's team reaped the benefits of being with one another this summer, something last year's team didn't have the luxury of.

"That was huge for us, just to get to know each other," Wildcats coach Kyle Kendall. "Unfortunately, last year, you didn't get to practice in June. We worked out a couple of days a week in July, no summer games, our preseason scrimmage got rained out. We literally got on our field last year with having never played a scrimmage. So, what we've gotten this summer has been huge for us."

Kendall felt the three names that stood out to him the most this summer were sophomore Brandon Elizarraras and juniors Zack Pieper and Jayden Boeglin. Pieper is one of two captains listed on Jasper's roster this year, along with senior Sam Leonard. Kendall also noted that senior Ethan Frank looks a lot more comfortable on the field this year after earning a starting spot with Jasper last year.

Jasper had to thrust Elizarraras and fellow sophomore Brandon Mehringer onto the field a lot of times last year, and it did the same for Pieper, Boeglin and another junior, Daniel King.

"Those five guys having so much more experience than they did a year ago is going to be big for us," he said.

The Wildcats will have their main goal scorers back from last year in Leonard and fellow senior Michael Enriquez. Kendall hailed Elizarraras and Boeglin as natural goal scorers, but both were young last year. Therefore, he thinks those two will find the net more often this year, and he also thinks sophomore Jay Pena can score some big goals for the 2021 Wildcats.

Jasper lost goalkeeper to Geo De La Rosa to graduation. So, the Wildcats have a couple of keepers this year in senior Robert White and sophomore Chase Spears. Kendall noted how they split time in net last year on junior varsity and also during the summer. He anticipates it'll be a competition night in, and night out. Whomever is playing better each night will get the nod.

Kendall touted how last year's junior varsity team won 12 games, and a lot of last year's JV players will step up for the varsity squad this year. He mentioned sophomore Nick Lopez, junior Noah Pieper and some seniors in Ethan Beck and Jacob Flannagan who might are transitioning and playing a role on varsity.

The Wildcats have some stiff competition in the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference and in their sectional. Evansville Memorial has moved up to Class 3A after winning its fourth Class 2A State Championship in five years in 2020, while Castle was the Class 3A State Runner-Up.

"The fact that we've got a state champion and a state runner-up in our sectional isn't doing anybody any favors, but a lot of those kids graduated just like our kids did," Kendall said. "Our JV team played well against both those squads last year, and I think it's just going to be a matter of working on things the next two months to convince our kids that we can play against when (the) tournament) comes around, and that we can handle ourselves."




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