GALION — In 2016, Galion High School sent two soccer teams out as the first high school programs in Crawford County. In 2017, both the boys and girls squads will take to fields throughout the area and, for the first time, will play home matches for the blue and the orange.
Head coach John Stewart and assistant coach Alan Conner will both be back for their second year of varsity experience. Last season, the boys squad was the only Galion soccer team to win a game, going 1-12 overall and finishing 0-8 in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference. The Tigers victory came last September against Gilead Christian.
The boys will return to the pitch minus a few key players from last season. Matt Sparks (second-team MOAC and all-district), Lucas Conner (MOAC honorable mention), Nic Oehler, Landon Rose and Ethan Zeger all walked the stage last spring and received their diplomas.
On the plus side, the Tigers will be seeing the return of seven letter winners from last year’s inaugural season, headlined by Stephen Thompson. Thompson earned all-conference first team honors last season. Joining Thompson on the field will be Max Papenhausen, Andrew Murphy, Luke Eisnaugle, Ben Alstadt, Kodin West and Skyler Bishop.
“The team will be improved technically and tactically,” says Stewart. “The returning athletes have a year of experience to lean on. We hope to improve our record this year, remain healthy and be even more competitive in matches.”
Galion has also picked up a few transfer students, some newcomers to the game and some freshmen that will look to help make an impact for the program.
Bailey Risner (senior) and Quinn Boland (junior) are the two transfers that will be suiting up for Galion in 2017. New to the squad are Gideon Johnson, Sam Rigdon, Kyle Bauer and Markis Lawson and they will also be joined by incoming freshmen Jason Guthridge, Hunter Parsley and Devin McCarthy to bolster an already improved roster.
Looking forward, Stewart offered the following about league play: “There were some changes in the MOAC this year. Joining (the conference) are Ontario and Clear Fork. Both of those teams have strong soccer programs and should be very competitive with the upper echelon of the MOAC.” Stewart continues, “As a newer program, we will struggle in some conference games but hopefully we will see the win column a few more times this year.”
The Tigers will host their first ever home game and also their season opener on Wednesday, August 23 against the Fighting Scots of Highland. MOAC play begins on Monday, August 28 with a road trip to Marion to meet up with the Pleasant Spartans. Regular season action is set to conclude on the road on Monday, October 16 against the Madison Rams.