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Chief kickers looking for fountain of youth

August 18, 2010 | 07:26 AM
Walworth — Last year seems like decades ago for the Big Foot/Williams Bay soccer team.

Coach Keith Blakeman, now in his fourth season, will lead a young squad that is missing its top three scorers from last year, Matt McCarthy, Christian Aquino and Armando Martinez.

After falling 5-0 to Delavan-Darien in the first round of the playoffs back in October and finishing up the season 6-16-1, the focus will shift to defense this year.

"We will be sound defensively," Blakeman said. "We should be able to stay close in every game."

The team will live and breathe with senior captains Grant Luberda and Isaac Mendoza.

"Isaac should be our top scorer this year," Blakeman said. "And Luberda will be our engine in the midfield."

Other returning players will include senior Keanu Westphal (Williams Bay); juniors Ian Carthy, Nate Loomer and Connor Lanzon; and sophomore Billy Landers.

Blakeman added that despite only a week of practice, the team already is showing some chemistry and is "making progress." He said the team's lack of experience could provide ups and downs.

"I've seen inexperienced guys play without fear and succeed," he said. "But I've also seen young guys make a lot of mistakes."

Despite the poor overall record last year, the Chiefs posted a respectable 4-6 mark in the Rock Valley Conference last year. Blakeman said doing well in the RVC will be key this year.

"We want to finish above .500 in the RVC and even win the conference title," he said. "For sure, we want to advance to the second round of the playoffs."

The Chiefs will kick off the season Thursday at home against Evansville. Blakeman said the conference game won't be easy.

"RVC games are always hard," he said. "We will need to be on our toes."

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