Louisa County High School’s boys’ soccer team is returning a few faces from last year, but by and large, the 2021 varsity team is comprised of new players.
“We’re basically going back to square one,” said Coach Sergio Botero. “It’s set the program back to the point where it was when I started three years ago.”
The team boasts four seniors who are returning for their final season with the Lions. Conner Schweikart, Haden MacDougall and Ruben Novoa were all on the varsity roster last season, and Grant Williams played on the varsity team in 2019 as a sophomore. Also returning from the 2020 varsity roster are juniors Andrew Estes, Daniel Green and Maddox Miller.
“It’s a bit harder than most seasons, because we don’t have as much time to come together, and the chemistry isn’t fully there yet,” Williams said. “It’s going to take some time, but once we start to feel it out, I think we’ll do well.”
The remaining eight players are new to the varsity team. Juniors Benjamin Dean, Preston George and Richard Baker and sophomore Sammy Anderson join the team for their first varsity season, as do freshmen Ethan Brooks, Parker Harman and Taylen Soriano.
“It feels really new and different, but I’m excited to be on the team and to experience playing on the varsity team,” Harman said.
The Lions faced their first opponent on April 26, hosting the Charlottesville Black Knights for their season opener. Charlottesville dominated the first half, racking up an 8-0 lead by halftime and adding another goal in the second half for a 9-0 victory.
The Lions stepped up their game in the second half, playing with more intensity and correcting mistakes from earlier in the night, which Botero is hoping to build on as the season moves forward.
“I think we got caught by surprise by a very good team in the first half,” he said. “In the second half they gained more confidence. They were going after the ball, they were going after the tackles. What I saw in the last 15 minutes, I can build on that. I know they get it and now we have to work on how we do that consistently every game.”
The Lions travel to Orange County High School on April 29 to take on the Hornets, then return to The Jungle on May 3 to host the Monticello Mustangs. Action begins at 7 p.m. both nights.