Coach: Dan Hacker (13th season, 60-104-8)
Last season: 6-7-3 (lost in district first round)
Top players: Miguel Franco (sr., defender); John Grigsby (sr., forward); Richard Marx (sr., midfielder/forward); Jose Rosas (sr., midfielder); Kyle Settles (sr., defender); Mohamed Thiaw (jr., forward).
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Outlook: The Defenders look solid with a senior-dominant team. However, with only one returning starter on the back line, the defense is unproven. Grigsby and Thiaw up top should provide plenty of scoring opportunities. Rosas should be a great leader with his work ethic. "If we can get solid midfield play and get the boys 100 percent committed to our system and scheme we should have a successful season," Hacker said. "If not, we will struggle."
Aug. 14—vs. Central Hardin at Tates Creek, 8; 16—vs. Scott at Tates Creek, 8; 18—Ryle, 11 a.m.; 21—at Paul Dunbar, 8; 23—Paris, 6; 30—at Henry Clay, 8.
Sept. 6—Scott Co., 8; 8—at Pleasure Ridge Park, 1; 11—Tates Creek, 8; 15—at Iroquois, 1; 18—at Lexington Christian, 7:30; 20—Sayre, 8; 25—Harrison Co., 8; 27—at Estill Co., 6; 29—Lafayette, 1.
Oct. 2—at Bourbon Co., 7:30; 4—Model, 6:15.
Coach: Tim Bernardi (seventh season, 88-38-10)
Last season: 22-3-1 (lost in state tournament semifinals)
Top players: Zach Campbell (sr., midfielder); Matt Harris (sr., defender); Connor Lakofka (sr., midfielder); Addison Manley (sr., defender); Thomas Ueland (so., forward).
Outlook: It's difficult to replace a Mr. Kentucky Soccer, 40-goal scorer John Manga. The Blue Devils relied heavily on him to generate offense last year, and most teams had to adjust their playing style to accommodate for Manga. Henry Clay will try to play good defense, keep possession of the ball and try to generate a goal or two from different places.
Blue Devils' schedule
Aug. 13—Scott, 7; 15—vs. Ryle at Tates Creek, 6:15; 18—vs. Male at Tates Creek, 8:30 a.m.; 30—Bryan Station, 8; 31—at Evansville (Ind.) tournament.
Sept. 1-2—at Evansville (Ind.) tournament; 4—at Paul Dunbar, 8; 11—at Lafayette, 8; 15—vs. Madison Central at Bourbon Co., 10 a.m., and vs. TBA, 8 p.m.; 16—vs. TBA at Bourbon Co.; 18—at Sayre, 6; 25—at Lexington Catholic, 7:30; 27—Scott Co., 8.
Oct. 2—Somerset, 7; 4—at Woodford Co., 8.
Coach: Chris Grimm (Fifth season, 35-27-19)
Last season: 11-8-3 (Lost in region semifinals)
Top players: Dieudonne Bopata (sr., forward); Curtis Daniel (sr., goalie); Madison Feldman (jr., defender); Besar Gjoshi (sr., forward); Rando Ohyama (sr., midfielder).
Outlook: Grimm said that what the Generals lack in star power at the top, they make up for with a close-knit, team-first, hard-working and cooperative attitude. Lafayette has talent at every position, despite the loss of some key seniors from a year ago. "We expect to be solid defensively with very good goalkeeping as we have been the past two years," Grimm said. "Offensively, we are looking for someone to step up and be a go-to scorer, but I expect we'll have to manufacture a lot of goals through overall team play." A strong midfield suits Lafayette's intended possession-oriented playing style.
Aug. 13—vs. Male at Tates Creek, 6:15; 16—vs. Manual at Bryan Station, 7; 18—vs. Central Hardin at Tates Creek, 2:30; 21—at Montgomery Co., 7:30; 23—Woodford Co., 8; 29—Clark Co., 8; 31—at Castle (Ind.), 8.
Sept. 1—vs. Evansville Harrison at Covert (Ind.) Soccer Complex, 9 a.m., and vs. Evansville Memorial at EVSC East, 5 p.m.; 6—West Jessamine, 8; 8—at East Jessamine, TBA; 11—Henry Clay, 8; 13—at Paul Dunbar, 8; 15—Lexington Catholic, 7:30; 18—at Tates Creek, 8; 20—Lexington Christian, 8; 25—Ballard, 7:30; 27—at Western Hills, 8; 29—at Bryan Station, 1.
Oct. 2—Madison Southern, 8.
Coach: Jonathan Kincheloe (first season)
Last season: 6-13 (lost in district semifinals)
Top players: Trey Kuhn (jr., midfielder); Tyler Mattingly (jr., forward); Jackson Rowady (sr., defender); Danny Veach (sr., goalkeeper); Andrew Yackzan (sr., defender).
Outlook: Kincheloe, who succeeds Greg Hilvers, inherits a roster that includes 14 seniors. "That many seniors is rarely a bad thing," Kincheloe said. "We are very excited about the upcoming season." The Knights end the regular season by facing defending state champion St. Xavier.
Aug. 8—at Collegiate, 5; 14—at St. Henry, 7; 16—at Woodford Co., 8; 18—vs. Greenwood at East Jessamine, TBA; 23—Lexington Christian, 7:30; 25—at Manual, noon; 28—at Covington Catholic, 6:30; 30—Trinity, 7:30.
Sept. 1-2—at Cincinnati Moeller tournament; 6—Paul Dunbar, 7:30; 8—at Oldham Co., 11:30 a.m.; 18—at West Jessamine, 7:30; 22—at Lafayette, TBA; 25—Henry Clay, 7:30; 27—East Jessamine, 7:30; 29—Tates Creek, 3.
Oct. 6—St. Xavier, 1.
Coach: Danny Harvey (second season, 9-10-1)
Last season: 9-10-1 (lost in district first round)
Top players: Jacob McGaughey (sr., goalkeeper); Clark Strunk (sr., midfielder); Tomas Wier (sr., midfielder).
Outlook: The core of the team is returning after graduating five seniors. "I'm optimistic that we can improve on last season and we hope to be more competitive in our district," Harvey said. "I think our schedule will be challenging, but the boys (have) a lot of enthusiasm for the season and have been working hard."
Aug. 14—West Jessamine, 7:30; 16—Montgomery Co., 7:30; 21—Clark Co., 7:30; 23—at Lexington Catholic, 7:30; 27—All "A" region first round vs. Burgin, 5; 28—at Tates Creek, 8; 30—All "A" region semifinals, 6 and 7:30; 31—All "A" region finals, 6.
Sept. 6—at Madison Southern, 7:30; 8—Model, 5:30; 11—Paul Dunbar, 7:30; 18—Bryan Station, 7:30; 20—at Lafayette, 8; 25—East Jessamine, 7:30; 29—at Corbin, noon.
Oct. 2—at Woodford Co., 7:30; 4—Harrison Co., TBA.
Paul Laurence Dunbar
Coach: Todd Bretz (23rd season, 347-130-28)
Last season: 15-10-1 (lost in state tournament sectional)
Top players: Ignacio Almanza (sr., forward); Cesar Delgado (sr., midfielder); Nick DiMeo (sr., defender); Nathan Jones (jr., forward); Kerek Plummer (sr., midfielder); Davoud Saghaian (sr., defender); Matthew Spanyer (sr., midfielder).
Outlook: The Bulldogs made it to the final eight in state last year with a young team that had only two returning starters. Not so young this time around. "We have several returning players from last year's team," Bretz said, "but we have some big holes in the goal, back line and midfield from our graduating seniors."
Aug. 13—vs. Ryle at Tates Creek, 8; 15—vs. Male at Tates Creek, 8; 18—vs. Manual at Tates Creek, 10:30 a.m.; 21—Bryan Station, 8; 23—at Tates Creek, 8; 28—at Woodford Co., 7:30; 31—at Kentucky vs. Indiana Challenge.
Sept. 1—at Kentucky vs. Indiana Challenge; 4—Henry Clay, 8; 6—at Lexington Catholic, 7:30; 11— at Lexington Christian, 7:30; 13—Lafayette, 8; 18—East Jessamine, 8; 20—West Jessamine, 8; 25—Franklin Co., 8; 28-29—at St. Louis tournament.
Oct. 4—St. Henry, 7:30.
Coach: Joe Porter (fifth season, 27-36-6)
Last season: 7-9-0 (lost in district semifinals)
Top players: Taylor Absher (jr., forward); Harrison Dunn (jr., forward); Henry Garrett (sr., midfielder); Allen Prewitt (sr., midfielder); Jack Simon (sr., defender); Mikey Solomon (sr., midfielder).
Outlook: Things may be looking up as the Spartans have a large senior class and plenty of experience. "This may be, from position to position, the most talented team Sayre has had since the team that made the regional tournament a couple of years ago," Porter said. "We won't be the deepest or biggest team in the city, but we have a talented and athletic group of players looking forward to this season."
Aug. 14—at Anderson Co., 6; 16—Bourbon Co., 6; 21—Pulaski Co., 5:45; 23—Shelby Co., 5:45; 27—vs. Somerset in All "A" Regional at Lexington Christian, 6:30; 30—All "A" Regional semifinals at LCA, 7:30; 31—All "A" Regional finals at LCA, 6.
Sept. 4—at Harrison Co., 7:30; 6—at Tates Creek, 7:30; 18—Henry Clay, 5:30; 20—at Bryan Station, 8; 25—at Scott Co., 6; 29—South Laurel, 3.
Oct. 2—at West Jessamine, 7:30; 4—at Madison Southern, 7.
Coach: Brandon Turek (fourth season, 24-30-9)
Last season: 8-13-1 (lost in region semifinals)
Top players: Evan Adams (sr., goalie); Andrew Carter (jr., midfielder); Rocky Howitz (sr., defender); Austin Magsig (jr., defender); Reede Roubic (jr., midfielder); Jared Wilkins (sr., midfielder).
Outlook: The Commodores return a large senior class and an even larger junior class. Turek said his team "should be very competitive with the return of several key players. We're expecting good things out of some players who made a big contribution on the junior varsity team last year."
Aug. 14—Manual, 6:15; 16—Central Hardin, 6:15; 18—Scott, 10:30; 21—Madison Central, 8; 23—Paul Dunbar, 8; 28—Lexington Christian, 8.
Sept. 4—Woodford Co., 8; 6—Sayre, 7:30; 11—at Bryan Station, 8; 13—at Henry Clay, 8; 14-16—at Hopkinsville tournament, TBA; 18—Lafayette, 7:30; 20—Western Hills, 8; 25—West Jessamine, 8; 27—Franklin Co., 8; 29—Lexington Catholic, 3.
Oct. 4—at Montgomery Co., 7:30.