By Luke Wiggs, Panhandle News Network Sports
Martinsburg, W.Va- It was a tale of 2 different seasons last year for the Spring Mills boys soccer team, the Cardinals lost just a single game through their first 12 matches but lost their final 2 contests of the year. They were eliminated from postseason play on penalties by fellow EPAC opponent Hedgesville.
Newly promoted head coach Amed Suazo was an assistant for the Cardinals the previous 4 seasons and is excited for the chance of varsity head coaching experience.
“I like working with older players who know more of the game.” Suazo said. “I get to work more on strategy than individual skill.”
Key players will need to be replaced from last year’s 10-3-1 squad including Jones Lagkeit who netted 7 goals and Tyler Bennett who was the Cardinal’s keeper.
“Last year we lost 11 seniors.” Suazo said. “But in this group, we’ve got a lot of good players who understand the game and I’m very happy with that.”
The depth on the Cardinals squad is highlighted by a trio of brothers, Isaiah (who scored 16 goals as a freshman last season), Zeke, and Levi Briggs all return to bring strength down the middle of the formation for the Cardinals.
“One plays defense, one plays midfield, and one plays striker. They are good players but more importantly, they are very disciplined.” Suazo said “I love to be their coach. They have a very full knowledge of the game.”
Another set of brothers, Andrew and Cam Landsberger also figure to be key contributors but coach Suazo looks to lean on less individual talent and more on a team effort.
“I like to play as a team and develop good players that work together.” Suazo said. “Each player is very important and we need them all to make it work.”
Tactically, the Cardinals may see some changes under a new head coach but still figure to be a force to be reckoned with in the EPAC.
“I see the skill the players have and I try to have a formation that allows them to play well together.” Suazo said. “My philosophy is ‘if you control the ball, you control the game’.”