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Panther Soccer Team Hopes to Build on Last Year's Success
August 15, 2007 - Knightstown’s varsity soccer team didn’t have the best record last season, but put it all together in time for the sectional and made one of the biggest splashes in school history.
The Panthers upset state-ranked Richmond in the opening round of the state tournament last season. They lost the sectional championship to a very good Centerville team, 4-0.
This year, Knightstown will be led by first year Coach Brad Hibbert, who will see seven starters returning this season from the team that upset the Red Devils. Hibbert will have phenomenal numbers as well this year, with 14 players returning and a varsity roster of 21 kids.
The coach has put his team through a rigorous conditioning regime this fall, and he hopes that superior conditioning will make up for a lack of size.
“The kids won I think four of their last five or six games last year, and they had a good run in the sectional,” Hibbert said. “We’re going to try to build off of that success this season.”
Hibbert, who played soccer four years for KHS and went on to star for Franklin College, admits that Knightstown players have a tough road compared to a lot of schools on their schedule. Once kids complete eligibility in the Optimist Club’s youth soccer league in elementary school, they have no where else to hone their skills before reaching high school. There are no other programs in place, except for club soccer.
“It’s a big disadvantage to go from Optimist Club soccer to high school ball,” Hibbert said. “There’s a considerable break in there. That why we put the kids through a two-week training session this year. We have focused on initial training and fundamentals, and we’ve made sure there’s been an emphasis on conditioning.”
Chad Oakes will stand in as goalie this season, and sophomore Josey Fearin will lead the Panthers on the attack. Bryce Cole returns to the middle. Jared Kayajan, Luke Brishaber, Joey Fausnaugh and Bryce George are also returning starters.
Brad Hammer, Caleb Brummett, Chase Olsheske, Micah Matlock, Chris Cook, Arron Jordan and Nic Poling all are back from last year’s team, giving Hibbert 14 returning veterans.
Newcomers to the team this year include senior Cameron Mohler and his sister, Karsyn Mohler. Also, Sam Rech, Caitlan Marsischke, Ethan Luck and Colby Hartwick stretch the Panther roster to 20 players.
The two girls on the team, Mohler and Marsischke, will both see considerable playing time, according to Hibbert.
The Panthers opened their season at home Tuesday night against Southwestern. They play Thursday at the Panther field against Pendleton Heights, and travel to New Castle Saturday.
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