The preseason left Washington boys soccer with an idea of what areas to focus on ironing out.
Playing at the Waynesville jamboree last Tuesday, Washington notched a 0-0 tie with the host team and took a pair of 1-0 losses against Rolla and West Plains.
“Not the results we expected, so we have lots of work to prepare for always competitive Sullivan next Saturday,” Head Coach Derek Schriewer said.
Teams played three 25-minute periods at the jamboree, one period against each opponent.
“Our fitness looked good as most players were able to finish the 25-minute games without subs,” Schriewer said. “We had spells where we connected passes and created attacks, but those were few and far between compared to training sessions. We need to step up our tempo and intensity during training to better mimic game speed.”
The team brings back many of its starters after having multiple freshmen earn varsity starting positions a year ago.
Up front on the attack, the Jays return a group that includes junior forward Timmy Boehlein and sophomores Boston Tinsley and Trent Pabst.
“Timmy Boehlein had a solid evening as he set up a few scoring chances for his strike partners,” Schriewer said.
The holes the Jays need to fill are on the defensive end where they graduated senior defenders Michael Andrews and Zach Subke and goalkeeper Ottmar Escalante.
“Levi Brautigam is in a battle for a center back spot on varsity and looked strong in that role in two games,” Schriewer said. “Luke Johnson as a freshman played some unfamiliar positions for me on Tuesday and continued a good preseason. Other key returning players for the year like Carter Kleekamp, Trent Pabst, Boston Tinsley, Travis Bieg, and Owen Burge had solid performances where their skills and ability showed, but none were able to make their mark or dictate the tempo of the games.”
Bieg and Burge, like Tinsley and Pabst, were freshman starters last season.
“(Those) sophomores expect to make waves throughout the season,” Schriewer said.
Schriewer noted his team still has some work to do to come together on the field.
“(Our) intensity, teamwork, and positioning (need work),” he said. “(We had) lots of solid individual performances, but only the opening game had any resemblance of a team effort.”
Washington will open the regular season Wednesday on the road against Wentzville Liberty. While the teams remain conference rivals in the Gateway Athletic Conference Central, Washington and Liberty do not share a district this season. However, if both were to win their respective districts, they would meet in the sectional round of the postseason.