Highland Soccer Ready For Battle
Monterey, VA – The upstart Highland Rams soccer team is preparing for combat. Head coach Todd Brendel says this year’s squad is more experienced and much improved.
“Last year was our first year as a varsity club,” he said. “We struggled, trying to play catch-up. This year, we’re more focused. We have better ball control this year and I think we’re going to be an opposing force for them this year.”
Brendel, a former Army infantryman, got his team in shape by running through the streets of Monterey.
“We’re definitely more in physical shape this year,” he said. “We started, at the beginning of the season doing forced runs through the town. The citizens of the community and the players both loved it. I think they’re in much better shape this year and they know exactly what’s coming.”
A strong group of seniors is ready to launch an assault against their Pioneer District rivals.
“Well, we have some seniors returning this year,” said the coach. “Joey Brendel, he plays midfield. He’s good at crossing the ball. He’s good up and down the field. He’s a left-footer, so he’s really strong on the left side. David Ruiz returning again. Tremendous ball skills. He can place the ball wherever he wants. David Leech probably has the strongest leg on the field. He can kick it, probably, three-quarters of the way across the field. We have Chance Pfeiffer, in defense, and he’s very aggressive. He’s very motivated to get the ball out of air and into the field.”
A new goalie shows lots of promise in defending the home turf.
“Goalie is Justin Sprouse,” said Brendel. “He played last year, but as an offender. This year, we got him back at goal. He shows a lot of determination. He had his first game the other day. He really started to improve in the second half.”
Brendel encourages Highland fans to come out and see some games. “It’s rewarding to watch,” he said. “It absolutely exhausts your children at the end of practice and every game, so they sleep really good, and it’s just really good physical fitness. We just enjoy all the parents to come out. They can watch practice. They can watch the games and we just appreciate all their support. I think we’re going to have a pretty good season”
The Rams opened their season with an encouraging performance, but a loss, against soccer powerhouse Stuart Hall. The Rams visit Bath County on April 5 to begin Pioneer District play.
Senior David Leech expects a good game.
“First game I ever played was against Bath,” he said. “They’re usually pretty good. It’ll be a tough game, but it should be a good game.”
For Highland Rams sports schedules, see alleghenymountainradio.org.