Annville-Cleona boys soccer preview
Coach: Ray Kreiser, 21st season
Last year's record: 16-5
Key returners: Alex St. Clair, Sr., MF/F; Koy Alwine, Sr. GK; Brandon Gardner, Sr., D/MF; Zach Landis, Sr., D/MF; Eli Setlock, Sr., MF;
Promising Newcomers: Brett Clark, Sr.; Mark Montagna, Sr.; Mark Nace, Sr.; Evan Pierce, Sr.; Ben Rita, Sr.; Connor Waite, Sr.
Outlook: Wanted; Strikers and defenders.
For an ad that could apply to most any club, the Little Dutchmen are in dire need of field bookends after graduation stole the largest cogs of their memorable 2015 run. Sandwiched in between are a collection of reliable midfielders, namely a scoring threat in Alex St. Clair and steadfast Eli Setlock, who netted the team's game-winner against E-town last October.
Senior keeper Koy Alwine returns, too, as perhaps the one Little Dutchman safest from substitution, though even he could be in danger of a breather.
"We can probably go 21, 22 deep and not have much affected on the field, which is something I've never had before. It's strange that I feel like I can substitute all 11 and not have it change anything."
In addition to its dearth of experience, Annville-Cleona also faces the trouble of starting eight of its first 10 games on the road. While fatigue should inevitably catch up, Kreiser isn't worried yet.
"My teams, and I don't know why, have most of the time played better on the road," he said. "There's something about the bus ride that helps them get focused, maybe. We'll be road warriors this year."
Productive camps and scrimmages have made Stanley Miller and Connor Waite prime breakout candidates this fall. The Little Dutchmen kick off 2016 on Sept. 2 at Lancaster Country Day.