Hughesville, Sock, Montoursville all have talented rosters


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Aug 06, 2023

Hughesville, Sock, Montoursville all have talented rosters

Aug 30, 2023 Evan Anderson (center) of Loyalsock celebrates with his team mates after scoring the go-ahead goal against Montoursville at Montoursville High School Tuesday night. Loyalsock won 2-1.DAVE

Aug 30, 2023

Evan Anderson (center) of Loyalsock celebrates with his team mates after scoring the go-ahead goal against Montoursville at Montoursville High School Tuesday night. Loyalsock won 2-1.DAVE KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette

There’s only three seniors on Hughesville’s boys soccer team this year. So some may look at that team and consider them fairly young. But for coach Jim Dennis, that isn’t the case.

Sure, the team may be young on paper, but experience wise? This team is far from it.

“It would be easy to consider us a young team, but we bring back a lot of experience with us as most of the juniors have been starting since freshman year,” Dennis said. “Our biggest strength is that we have more depth this season that we have ever had before.”

One key piece of the Spartans back is Jeff Fenstermacher. While Josh Heiney graduated and led the team with 15 goals, Fenstermacher had nine goals and a team-high 11 assists last fall and helped spark the offense.

“Jeff Fenstermacher has been a leader for us last year and this entire offseason. He worked out with the Williamsport City Lions as well as the PA Classics and has brought that experience with him to pass on to his teammates,” Dennis said. “He has worked really hard to make himself and those around him better. We are expecting great things from this young man.”

While Dennis knows replacing Heiney is a tough task, he noted that Sam Haddon and Jacob Mackenzie will be able to help step up.

“Both of them have been working really hard at being the finishing answer,” Dennis said.

The Spartans have a talented roster that will look to build off last year’s 7-10-1 record and make a playoff push.

“(Our) expectations are to build off last year’s success, trying to turn around those one-goal losses and make them into wins. We believe qualifying for districts is not only in our sites, but hoping to be in the top 5 seeds this year,” Dennis said. “After missing for the last three seasons, we feel primed for a breakout season.”

Loyalsock and Montoursville are both teams as well looking to get back to the postseason. The Lancers, under first-year coach Steve Ertel last fall, went 8-11-1 and earned a thrilling first-round playoff win against rival Montoursville, 2-1, in the District 4 Class AA playoffs.

“That was a tough loss for us. We were dealing with several key injuries, so it was an opportunity for some of our younger players to step up. It provided the chance for them to play playoff soccer and to be more prepared the next time they take the field in a playoff situation,,” Montoursville coach Bryan Pauling said. “The loss hurt, but our players learned from it and will be better prepared next time.”

While Loyalsock fell in the quarterfinals at Balls Mills to Danville, 3-1, Loyalsock has plenty back from last year’s team that can help the Lancers return to districts.

The Lancers graduated Tyler Wescott, who led the team with eight goals and five assists, but bring back Gavin Grieco (six goals, two assists), who can help the offense excel.

Loyalsock also has Ryan Taylor back, a junior last year who saw time in goal for 17 games and 865 minutes, recording 111 saves and averaging 6.5 per contest. Loyalsock had Connor Lang and Chris Cooley also see some time in goal, giving the Lancers three options between the posts.

Montoursville went 9-7-1 last fall and fell to the Lancers in that close, thrilling contest. Wyatt Fry is one key returner back. Fry led Montoursville with nine goals last year. The Warriors will have to replace goal scorers Mason Winslow (seven goals, seven assists) and Matthias Albert (four goals, two assists), however.

“The majority of our core is returning and we expect to see consistent play from that group all season. We will need to play controlled soccer, maintain the key areas of the field and have trust in the players out on the field,” Pauling said. “We have a fun group that is looking to have a successful season.”

The Warriors do have a large freshman class, meaning Pauling sees a lot of younger players stepping up and contributing.

“We will have the opportunity to get those players on the field with our returning core. That will set them up for some great mentorship and provide a chance to elevate the entire group. We feel that we have more depth this year, in the key positions, than we have had over the last several years,” Pauling said. “Our program is on an upswing, and we are seeing really good numbers on the roster each year. That consistency and mentorship will be key for us over the next several years.”

Pauling believes that Montoursville’s biggest strength this fall will be the ability of his players putting in work every day to continue to get better and improve.

“The team mojo is excellent and there is a large focus on everyone getting better. It is a very positive culture and a great group to be around. It is clear that our players can see that their hard work is paying off,” Pauling said. “We were playing well in 2022, until we had a handful of key injuries down the stretch. The 2023 team is more well-rounded and should be in a better position to maintain consistency, even if they have to deal with injuries.”

Last year was the first time Montoursville was in the playoffs in consecutive seasons since 2015-17, and Montoursville no doubt will be looking to extend that to three straight this fall.

“We expect to pick up where we left off last year. We had a great run going and could see that we had the players to get it done,” Pauling said. “Those core players will be out on the field for us again this year, and are hungry to get back to the playoffs. We feel confident that we have the right players to get ti done throughout the regular season and into the playoffs.”

One area school that has a lot of offensive firepower to replace is Warrior Run. The Defenders graduated Alex Brown and Ben Potter, a talented duo that combined for 30 goals and 10 assists last year and were a huge reason Warrior Run went 14-5-1 and reached the District 4 Class AA semifinals.

“You can’t just replace offensive firepower like Ben and Alex. Their pure six, strength and speed was unreal,” Warrior Run coach Troy Emmert said. “This year will have to be more creative offensively to put the ball in the net.”

While those are two tough holes to fill up top, the Defenders do back three starters back from last year’s team that will help the back line play well.

“This is definitely a rebuilding year for us offensively. I do feel we have the ability to make the playoffs,” Emmert said. “We return all but one starter on defense. Offensively we will be relying on a talented group of young players. Lack of experience could hinder us in making a deep run, but you never know.”

One key returner is in goalie Braego Cieslukowski. As a freshman in 2022, Cieslukowski played in 20 goals, averaged 5.1 saves per game, recorded 102 saves and posted four shutouts. Not bad for a freshman effort.

Braego had an amazing freshman season in the goal. During the offseason he hit the weight room hard and has been training. He is displaying poise and confidence of an upperclassmen,” Emmert said. “The biggest improvement I have seen so far is his decision making, such as playing the ball out on goal kicks and punts.”

And having a great goalie like that back is huge for any team, and one Warrior Run is happy to have.

“Having a quality keeper like Braego is a coach’s dream. He is a natural leader and one of the hardest working players on the team,” Emmert said. “Watching him play one would never think he was only a sophomore and this being only his second season in the box.”


Coach: Jim Dennis

Assistants: Peter Larsen

League: HAC-II

Last year: 7-10-1

Roster: Seniors: Michael Finnegan, Jeffrey Fenstermacher, Tanner Bunce. Juniors: Jarrett Easton, Owen Wettlaufer, Nathan McClain, Quynn Hartman, Jonah McGinley, James Stephens, Scott Johnson, Brett Whitmoyer, Keagan Smith, Jacob Mackenzie. Sophomores: Evan Mackenzie, Tristan Kurzawa, Tyler Creasy, Spencer Stine, Sam Haddon, Carter Sherwood, Wes Harvey, Chase Wilson, Luke Vermeire, Parker Campbell, Daeus Trager, Michael Swales, Jackson Hoinowski. Freshmen: Tyler Wilson, Connor Windham, Peyton Hartman, Royce Gardner.


Coach: Steve Ertel

Assistants: Lynnette Reitz, Rob Chambers, Enrique Castillo, Brian Bustin

League: HAC-II

Last year: 8-11-1 (def. Montoursville 2-1 in District 4 Class AA playoffs; lost to Danville 3-1 in quarterfinals)

Roster: Seniors: Hunter Whitmoyer, Zach Wagner-Pizza, Ethan Dougherty, Bryant Sullivan, Ryan Cao, Jon Cooley, Chris Cooley, Steven Lingg, Michael McLaughlin. Juniors: Jacson Alvarado, Evan Anderson, Alex Wagner-Pizza, Jacob Edmonds, Gavin Grieco, Brycen Savoy. Sophomores: Gabe Deprenda, Christian Scampone, Emmanuel Oyenusi, Ethan Wentzler, Connor Lang. Freshmen: Ethan Boyer, Luke Edmonds, Caleb Hartstock, Tyler Kennedy, Ryan Lingg, David Bjorkman, Trenton Miller, Declan Dougherty, Owen Bennet.


Coach: Bryan Pauling

Assistants: Ed Winslow, Jason Hawley, Seth Fry, Anthony Frey, Joe Balduino

League: HAC-II

Last year: 9-7-1 (lost to Loyalsock 2-1 in District 4 Class AA playoffs)

Roster: Seniors: Cayman Dauherty, Dylan Muise, Gavin Cott, Jacob Bear, Josh Wentzler, Quentin Deters, Ryan Matlack, Sean Ravert, Wyatt Fry. Juniors: Brayden McCourt, Cody Kohler, Gavin Hawley, Hunter Hepler, Mason Morrow, Sean Frey, Shaw Simpson. Sophomores: Adam Shearer, Cody Marino, Connor Zartman, Cullen Pauling, Gavin Lakes, Logan Withers, Rylee Bausinger, Quinn Winslow. Freshmen: Adam Heitsenrether, Ben Heitenrether, Brody Hagemeyer, Bryce Winslow, CJ Lucas, Colton Beadle, Cooper Boyles, Haden Ferguson, Mason Fry, Simmon Dietrich, Wesley Foster.


Coach: Troy Emmert

Assistants: Kylan Kurtz, Brandon Emmert, Jason McCormick, JT Emmert, Brian Hunter

League: HAC-II

Last year: 14-5-1 (def. Milton 4-2 in District 4 Class AA quarterfinals; lost to Lewisburg 5-0 in semifinals)

Roster: Seniors: Chase Beachel, Sean Brown, Isaac Butler, Judah Kennel, Gavin Sanner. Juniors; Jake Bruckhart, Donovan Figueroa, Liam Galvin, Gavin Hunter, Michael Kemock, Ian Sanner, Jared Sivers, Brayden Warner, Cooper Wilkins. Sophomores: Ethan Balzer, Braego Cieslukowski, Christian Cirilo, Gavin Cromley, Shea McNett, Ian Miller, Noah Savage, Ben Shaffer. Freshmen: Braden Beachel, Max Burden, Jesse Butler, Cooper Deitterick, Ryan Kemock, Gideon Kennel, Ori Kennel, Ty Margargle, Sam McCloskey, Carter McCormick, Ayden Reese, Jack Stevens, Nicholas Stoltzfus.

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