Experienced Panthers have high expectations

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – With a wealth of experience returning, the Plymouth boys soccer team has high expectations this season.

The Panthers, who return 12 letter winners, are coming off an outstanding 2015 season which saw them win the inaugural East Central Conference title with a 13-0-1 record and finish 19-3-2 overall.

“Our key for success this year will be trust and leadership as well as a winning attitude. If we can trust in each other, have a winning attitude during every game and practice, and find a key player or players that can lead this team we will be very successful,” said sixth-year Panther head coach Rommy Herrera.

“We are a hard-working team as well as very coachable. We have a team that physically is in good shape.

“They have worked all summer to be physically prepared for the competition and that’s going to be the key to win important games this season,” said Herrera.

The coach pointed out his top goals:

“Become better after every practice and game, win conference, qualify for the state tournament and win our division state tournament.”

The Panthers advanced to the Division 2 regional finals last year where they lost, 1-0, to Oshkosh North.

Leading the group of returning letter winners are three players who earned All-ECC honors last year – senior forward/goalkeeper Cole Bogenschuetz, a first-team pick at defender; senior midfielder Dylan Koehn, on the second team; and senior defender Connor McManus, honorable mention. Koehn was selected All-ECC as an attacker.

Koehn is the Panthers’ top returning scorer with 13 goals last season which tied him for second on the team.

Herrera gave his assessment of the squad overall.

“Defensively this year again we are going to be very strong. Three out of our four defenders are back this year,” said the coach.

Last season, the Panthers surrendered only 15 goals in 24 matches and recorded an impressive 10 shutouts in ECC play.

“Our midfielders are fast, smart, and can make a difference if they get the support they need from our center mids,” the coach said.

“Our offensive line does not have a lot of experience playing at the varsity level but our hope is that after some practices and games can understand the idea and perform it correctly.

“Every player in our roster is important and has an important role in our team. However, some players’ presence on and off the field, as well as talent, make them key athletes in our team – Saunders Gentine, Jacob Welsch, Connor McManus and Nathan Francis.”

Herrera said freshman midfielder Clayton Lautenschlaeger and sophomore goalie Gabe Thull have impressed him among the varsity newcomers.

“Clayton is a very talented player. He has good ball control and his awareness on the field make him an important player. He is smart with and without the ball,” observed Herrera.

“Clayton can dribble well and finish. He is a player that can play any position on the field and do it well.

“Gabe is a passionate, energetic goalie. He has passion for soccer and is very coachable and talented. I am impressed with his speed and reaction,” the coach pointed out.

Herrera offered his thoughts on the conference.

“As always, winning conference is not going to be easy. Last year we played for the first time against some of the teams in our conference and it was a complete surprise for everyone. This year the teams are going to be more prepared for the competition,” he said.



Seniors – *Cole Bogenschuetz (forward/goalie), *Saunders Gentine (goal.), *Connor McManus (defender), *Dylan Koehn (midfielder), *Jacob Welsch (mid.), *Zach Strehlow (mid.) and *Drew Boening (def.).

Juniors – Alex Kelly (mid.), *Nathan Francis (def.), Mason Dale ((mid.), Drew Schmitt (def.), *Logan Kulow (def.), Brady Petrie (mid.), *Garrison Pierce (for.), *Connor Joseph (def.) and *Adam Smith (mid.).

Sophomores – Gabe Thull (goal.).

Freshmen – Clayton Lautenschlaeger (mid.).

R_e_t_u_rn_i_n_g_ le_t_te_r_ w__in_n_e_r._____

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