Senior players provide leadership for Maple Leafs

Chris Steele

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.