Catholic soccer ready for season

PARKERSBURG – From two wins in 2011 to six the next year and a school-record 16 with a regional finals berth last fall.

That has been the progression of Parkersburg Catholic soccer the last two seasons under the guidance of now third-year head coach Shane Hartshorn.

“Catholic has never really been considered a great soccer program,” said Hartshorn. “But last year was the year our kids put Catholic on the soccer map.”

Last fall, the Crusaders made it all the way to the Class AA/A regional finals, just one win from the state tournament, before bowing to Charleston Catholic.

Parkersburg Catholic has “never, ever been to the state tournament, and I think made it to the sectional finals maybe only one other time before last year,” said Hartshorn.

The coach figures his 2014 PCHS soccer squad “should be back in the sectional championship again, probably against Williamstown again.” Last year, Catholic and the Yellowjackets battled into overtime before the Crusaders came out on top.

“I knew last year was going to be a really good year, just because of the (senior) class that we had,” said Hartshorn. There were six starters from last year out of the nine seniors Hartshorn lost to graduation.

“So I knew that last year would be the year for us. But that was a senior-heavy class and a lot of key people from last year are not back this year.”

However, Hartshorn is “not really counting out” his team this year. “I think a lot of people are going to come in thinking that we lost so much, that we’re not going to have anything.

“But I’ve got a lot of young kids this year that will step up and, of course, the three seniors and a couple juniors that I really think are going to have a good year.”

Junior Daniel Ambrozy is a returning defender who “I think this year has a chance to be a first-team all-stater – he’s that caliber of player,” said Hartshorn. “I can already feel it from him that he definitely is going to have one of those years for us.”

Then two of Hartshorn’s three seniors in Erica Tracewell and Haley Yeomans are “going to help play defense this year,” said the coach. “They’ve both been starters all four years, so they’re really going to step up.”

The third senior, Nate Dehmlow, “is the one that’s going to have to have the year that progresses us to the next thing,” said Hartshorn. “He’s got unbelievable footwork. He has the whole game; he’s just got to put it together on the field during the game. I’ve seen him play since he was little. I know he has the ability, but a lot of pressure is going to be thrown at him to lead this team on the field, and hopefully, he’ll step up to the task.”

Hartshorn also has “a lot of younger kids,” starting with 6-foot-2 junior Matt McCarthy, who’s “back to play in goal for us. He’s got good hands and played goalie most of his life, so he’s not scared of anything.”

Last season, Marijka Lynch-Pastoor was in goal as a mere freshman, and “had a great year as a girl goalie,” said Hartshorn, “But she’s a phenomenal field player, so I want her on the field this year. She’s got great footwork, sees the ball very well and, being a goalie, judges the ball very well. So she’s going to be the person that’s going to work the midfield with Nate and help distribute the ball quickly for us. But she’ll still get her chances in goal too.”

Hartshorn also has a freshman in Mitchell Clowes, who “I think will turn out to be a pretty good player. He’s a little small size-wise for high school, so he’s going to have to learn how to be a little more physical.”

Jean-Luc Reindeau is back with the team as a junior after playing as a freshman, but not last year. “I think that he’s going to be our scorer this year, so hopefully he’ll step up into that role,” said Hartshorn. “He’s actually really fast. And he’s got soccer in his blood, so he should be pretty good.”

Hartshorn too has “some younger players who are going to give me minutes where I need minutes, because last year I didn’t have to really worry about subbing too much. This year, I’ll have to sub a little bit more, because the better players are going to have to work twice as hard as they did last year with half the starters being new this year as we replace the six starters we lost.”

The Crusaders’ schedule this season “is very tough,” said Hartshorn. “I made it really tough – way tougher than last year.

“But, you know, it’s about progressing for the future. You can’t keep playing weaker teams; you’ve got to play tougher teams to get somewhere and make your team better.”

Hartshorn told his players that “I expect us to be at least .500 this year, even with the tougher schedule. If they surpass that, it’s because they’ve worked hard for it.”