Senior players provide leadership for Maple Leafs
The Geneseo soccer team is looking for its group of senior players to help develop its young core.
The Maple Leafs graduated nine varsity players off last years squad that reached the regional championship match.
Geneseo Coach Harvey Morton believes a lot of younger players will see playing time this season.
“It will be interesting,” Morton said. “It will be a challenge for everybody. Finding out who’s going to step up and fill some roles and find out how we come together as a team.”
However, Geneseo has a few experienced players at each position who can help each group gel together.
A senior forward, Griffin Tracey proved to be a valuable scorer, and he was named an All-Conference NIB 12 player after finishing with 11 goals last season.
A senior midfielder, Carson Cocquit returns to shore up the Maple Leafs midfielders.
“They will be the leaders and the examples of how hard you have to work going forward,” Morton said.
Geneseo’s Gavin Minnaert will be another senior player who will bring experience at midfield.
Morton thinks the backfield will be where the Maple Leafs need to grow the most this season.
A junior, Jordan Seeley will be a key contributor on defense, and Zachary Cowan, Luke Chaney and Kaleb Decker all bring senior leadership.
The final line of defense will be the return of keeper Zach Bauer.
Geneseo’s Bauer had his best performance of the season in the Galesburg Regional against Peoria Notre Dame with a myriad of highlight reel saves.
“He has intensity, energy and he’s smart,” Morton said. “He’s going to be a big asset to a young team.”
A senior, Lucas Johns will give Geneseo depth at the keeper position.
The situation of solidifying the defense is a familiar one for the Maple Leafs.
Last season, Geneseo’s defense managed to turn around the season after a 3-6 start to the season.
In the final 10 games, Geneseo strung together an 8-2 record and the defense produced four shutout performances.
Geneseo’s only losses in the NIB 12 West were against Sterling last season.
However, Rochelle proved they will be a force in the conference race after upsetting Sterling in the regional semifinals last season.
Galesburg at Geneseo
The Maple Leafs fell 2-0 in a rematch of last years’ regional semifinal game against Galesburg on Aug. 21.
It was a playoff atmosphere in the season opener with both teams playing with plenty of intensity at the Geneseo Soccer Pitch.
The Maple Leafs’ keeper Zach Bauer made a diving deflection off an indirect kick to keep the game tied with 2:37 remaining until half.
However, Galesburg’s Joel Bizau scores with less than a minute remaining until half to give the Silver Streaks a 1-0 lead.
Galesburg controlled the ball for a majority of the second half, and the Silver Streaks’ Jesse Rivera scored the second goal with a high arcing blast just under the crossbar to extend the lead in the 60th minute.
The Leafs’ next match will be on the road against Alleman at McKenzie Field-Athletic Complex on Tuesday, August 28 at 6 p.m.
Maple Leafs’ soccer schedule
Aug. 21 Galesburg at Geneseo Geneseo Soccer Pitch 6 p.m.
Aug. 22 Moline at Geneseo Geneseo Soccer Pitch 6 p.m.
Aug. 23 Geneseo at United Township Panther Pitch 6 p.m.
Aug. 28 Geneseo at Alleman Catholic McKenzie Field-Athletic Complex 6 p.m.
Aug. 31 Urbana Tournament Urbana High School 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 1 Urbana Tournament Urbana High School 8 a.m.
Sept. 4 Geneseo at LaSalle-Peru L-P Sports Complex 6 p.m.
Sept. 6 Geneseo at Rock Island Rock Island High School 6 p.m.
Sept. 11 Sterling at Geneseo Geneseo Soccer Pitch 6 p.m.
Sept. 13 Geneseo at Rochelle Rochelle High School 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 18 Ottawa at Geneseo Geneseo Soccer Pitch 6 p.m.
Sept. 20 Kaneland at Geneseo Geneseo Soccer Pitch 6 p.m.
Sept. 25 Geneseo at Yorkville Yorkville High School 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 27 La Salle-Peru at Geneseo Geneseo Soccer Pitch 6 p.m.
Oct. 4 Geneseo at Sterling Roscoe Eades Stadium 6 p.m.
Oct. 9 Rochelle at Geneseo Geneseo Soccer Pitch 6 p.m.
Oct. 11 Geneseo at Ottawa Ottawa High School 6 p.m.
2018 Maple Leafs' soccer roster
# Name Grade Position
0 Lucas Johns 12 Goalkeeper
1 Zachary Bauer 11 Goalkeeper
2 Hayden Curcuru 10 Midfielder
3 Mason Smith 10 Midfielder
4 Gavin Minnaert 12 Midfielder
5 Mitchel Benhart 11 Forward/Midfielder
6 Zachary Cowan 12 Defender
7 Jordan Seeley 11 Defender
8 Ethan Holke 10 Forward
11 Tyler Seaman 11 Defender
12 Griffin Tracey 12 Forward
13 Ryan Morgan 11 Midfielder
14 Nathaniel Clark-Holke 10 Midfielder
15 Carson Cocquit 12 Midfielder
16 Sebastian Einfeldt 10 Defender
17 Alexander Phillipson 11 Defender
18 Luke Chaney 12 Defender
19 Thomas Robinson 10 Defender
20 Ian Dahl 11 Defender
24 Logan Loitz 11 Defender
29 Kaleb Decker 12 Defender
Coach: Harvey Morton. Assistant coaches: JR Smith and Justin Seeley. Manager: Keith Hipkins.