The Oak Ridge Wildcats boys soccer team lost 11 seniors last year, but this year’s young team has a winning 6-2-2 record, Coach Tom Gorman said Tuesday.
Gorman said he has been pleased with the team’s growth. The Wildcats have three seniors and 11 juniors, and only three starters returned from last year.
Despite that turnover, though, the boys have had district wins over Powell and Campbell County, and they will play district games at Halls on Tuesday and at home against Karns on Friday next week. If they win those two district games, they would be the top seed, which would get them through the district championship and into the regional tournament semifinal.
Gorman, who is coaching both boys and girls soccer this year, previously coached the girls team from 2010-2013.
He said the boys team finished 2-1 this past weekend against good teams in the Bearden Tournament, and they beat Heritage 9-0 in a rescheduled game at Oak Ridge High School on Tuesday.
The Wildcats have had spread-out scoring, Gorman said. The top two scorers have been senior midfielder Casey Nigh, who is a captain, and sophomore forward Jonathan Rodriguez. But freshman and sophomores have contributed to the goals, with 16 assists on 20 goals as of this past weekend, Gorman said.
That’s a good ratio, and it means more players are involved in offensive attacks, he said.
Senior goalkeeper Austyn Lincoln has had six shutouts in 10 games, Gorman said. One was an 8-0 win over Campbell County in the opening home game on March 22.
Gorman said he’s proud of the player development on defense, which was the biggest concern in the preseason. There are three new starters in the back four. That lineup includes Nathan Kidder, Kenny Moon, Will Dallas, and Bill Andress. All juniors, those four players are “gelling,” Gorman said.
Before next week’s district games, the Wildcats are scheduled to play Maryville at home at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 12. There are also junior varsity and freshman games scheduled. You can see the soccer schedule here.
Gorman said the Friday night game at home against Karns next week will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1978 championship team. The team is trying to get Coach Dennis Rush of Knoxville to the game as well as players from the 1978 team.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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