CCA boys soccer turns in solid season after shaky start

CCA junior Dawson Soller (10) tallied 17 goals and six assists this season. (Pioneer file photo)

BIG RAPIDS — The Crossroads Charter Academy boys soccer team’s 2018 season didn’t get off to a great start.

The Cougars began the season with just six players but were able to add players to the roster and finish with 10-9-1 (7-8) record.

“Our season had a slow start and picked up,” head coach Josh Yurick said. “We started on Aug. 8 with six players and that’s not a team; we have faced the uncertainty of low numbers before. It is an uphill battle when you need to recruit. After the numbers come then you can work on the team.

“After we were fully staffed the winning turned on, we began playing better and having fresh legs to put out on the pitch. Numbers help practices to bear fruit too, there is only so much you can do shorthanded.”

Despite the early season struggles, the team was able to regroup and enjoy a solid season. The Cougars’ season ended with a 2-1 loss to Lakeview in the district opener.

“My expectations were met for sure,” Yurick said. “We improved each time we played and there was never a feeling of slipping backward. We added numbers and the team accepted the additional players seamlessly, they came together as a group and developed some rituals. A testament to the group was the raw emotion seen as we exited the tournament.

“The boys were committed to each other and the team.”

Senior Britton Angell and junior Dawson Soller led the team with 17 goals apiece, with Angell adding eight assists and Soller six.

“Angell was a huge boost to the team as an overpowering figure to any defender with a mindset to score,” Yurick said. “Height, pace, and reach to carry the ball, send it to space, goal or cross. Has the pace to out hustle defenders and a wicked vertical to head the ball into the back of the net.

“Dawson is fast and has ball control with a dead-eye shot. Enough said.”

Junior Tyler Omo tallied nine goals and six assists for Crossroads and Ethan Davis added eight goals and nine assists.

“Omo brought Speed and is savvy in the front as a forward but equally as dangerous in the defense,” Yurick said. “Strips the ball and targets the midfield for progression of play. You have to shoot or get rid of the ball because he will not quit.

“Ethan was our number one workhorse with a fire burning to make plays all over the pitch and plays a leadership role to the guys on and off the field. He will not wear down or run out of energy under any circumstance.”

Seniors Dave Barger and Jay Wickes were the team’s top two defenders. Wickes was a late addition to the team but quickly acclimated himself. He added three goals and three assists on offense.

“Dave has both the best defending standing tackle and ball handling skills to work it out of the defensive third,” Yurick said. “ He exhibits leadership in the back organizing and managing the defense. Jay plays anywhere but found a central role in the back as sweeper/center back. The patience and poise he exhibits are unmatched. He can clear lines and find space to carry the ball through midfielders and forwards.

“He played a key role on heading out set pieces and adds size and speed to the defense.”

Junior goalkeeper Cameron Carnes made 129 saves on the season including three shutouts.

“He’s a natural in a leadership role and I’m excited to see him further develop,” Yurick said. “He brings a great attitude to every game and practice and is always focused and always ready to work.”

The Cougars will have to rebuild following a mass exodus of graduating seniors but the future is promising.

“We are losing a full squad,” Yurick said. “Eleven players — most playing key roles — from the back to the front. We do, however, have a good group who have developed nicely and will be able to step up next season.

“Great kids and a  great season. I am blessed because even though the season has come to an end I still have the rest of the school year to interact and watch them play in other sports and excel in other activities.”

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