Monday, September 26, 2022

Raised expectations at Chagrin Falls

With its entire starting lineup returning intact, the Chagrin Falls boys’ soccer team has some lofty expectations for the 2020 season.

The Tigers actually return 13 players with starting experience and possess a roster consisting of 11 seniors, seven juniors and three sophomores.

“We are fortunate to return all our starters from 2019,” said Chagrin Falls fourth-year head coach Brian McKenna. “Due to some injuries last year, we will actually have 13 players returning that have starting experience.”

Among the returning players for the Tigers, who finished 8-4-5 last season, are six All-Chagrin Valley Conference performers.

Seniors Ian Zitney and J.T. Marting were first-team selections while seniors Ellis Clark and Jack Stauffer both earned the second-team nod. Senior Zach Lechman and sophomore Andrew Nachtwey were named honorable mention.

Zitney also earned first-team All-Greater Cleveland honors while Marting was a second-team selection and Clark and Stauffer both earned honorable mention honors.

Stauffer, the goalkeeper, Marting, a defender, and midfielders Ellis and Ian Clark will serve as the team’s captains this fall.

Zitney returns as the team’s leading scorer.

He finished with 27 points and also led the team with nine goals and nine assists.

Lechman finished second on the team with five goals and Marting was second with seven assists.

The Tigers, who at one point last season went 11 games without a loss, recorded three shutouts last season and also allowed just one goal in seven other games.

“We believe we can improve on that mark and will need to if we want to achieve our goals,” McKenna said. “We averaged 2.5 goals a game and will also have to find the net more often and especially in the big games where that did not come as easily last year.”

Stauffer returns in the net for the Tigers this season and the rest of the projected starting lineup includes Nachtwey, Marting, and seniors John Ranieri and Alex Fisher on defense, sophomore Kenny Clark, juniors Brett Vaccaro, Lance Buescher and Alex Cantor and seniors Clark, Zitney, Clayton Pilotti and Brenden Levey in the midfield.

“We hope that our play this season will give us the opportunity to contend for the title,” McKenna said. “With the new playoff structure and a strong returning squad, we hope to have a deep run in the playoffs. We have a schedule that should provide us with several challenges along the way finishing with teams like Rocky River and Bay.”

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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