The Northwest Mohawks boys soccer team is looking to replace seven seniors that graduated from the 2017 SOC championship team.
According to head coach Josh Keeney, the Mohawks have been rather successful in attempting to replace that production from a year ago. “I don’t think it’ll be too big of an issue” said Keeney, “I think we have a lot of young guys who didn’t get a whole lot of time because of the team we had last year.” Northwest has already played six preseason games through this juncture in the season.
The effort his team has been putting in so far this summer is the thing that has stood out to Keeney most about this year’s team. “They’re been working really hard during the offseason, playing on their club teams” said Keeney, “In our six preseason games, they’ve jumped right in and played really well so far.” The plans of fielding a team that is in the hunt for a title each and every year is the goal for most coaches, and Keeney has certainly done that with the Northwest program.
The Mohawks finished last season with a record of 19-1, before losing in the regional tournament to South Webster 2-1. Northwest won the SOC title with a win over Waverly, making this their first SOC soccer title since 1993. Keeney was also named SOC coach of the year for the second straight season.
During last season’s campaign, Northwest set several SOC and school records including most goals scored in a season with 146 and now senior Evan Throckmorton recorded the most assists in a season with 36. “I think last year was my eighth year, and it seems like each year we get a little better” said Keeney, “But last year it felt like everything came together. Those seniors meant a lot to me last year.” At last year’s end of the season banquet for the team, assistant coach Jacob Hackworth told the Times, “I want everyone to know, in my opinion, this is the best coach in Ohio.”
In the preseason, Northwest’s six games have came against area teams also looking to improve from a year ago. “We’ve had a couple of games at Shawnee, we went up to Hilliard (Ohio) last weekend and played against D1 and D2 schools” said Keeney, “We had a really, really good showing. Our seniors have really stepped up, and our sophomore group has really stepped up as well.”
The road to repeating as SOC champs will be difficult because of the strength of the conference, according to Keeney. “I think it’s going be a four or five team race, it’s going to be really tight” said Keeney, “Wheelersburg is always good, Waverly has been there a lot in the past, Minford is returning a lot of guys, and West was really young last year. I think every team in our league has a good chance next year.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT