Sussex Central boys’ soccer squad motivated for 2017 season

GEORGETOWN — Last season, in his first year back at the helm of the Sussex Central soccer program, head coach Kevin Cash and his boys’ soccer squad put up a 13-3 regular season record.

The 13-win season helped the Central program make its long-awaited return to the DIAA state tournament.

A slew of injuries to key players ultimately led to a semifinals loss to eventual state-champion Salesianum.

This preseason, coach Cash’s focus – in addition to staying healthy – has been to unite the boys and improve team chemistry.

“I’ve always said Central has the talent to win, it’s just about bringing the team together and playing as one,” said last year’s Henlopen Conference Coach of the Year. “We’ve got to play a little tighter on defense and have our mids press more this year, so that’s something we’re really going to focus on. We’ve got some rebuilding to do with eight seniors gone.”

Among last year’s group of seniors: Henlopen Player of the Year Dalendy Dupervil.

“We’ll probably have anywhere from 10-12 freshmen and sophomores on the varsity squad and we lost some key people – we’ve lost two of our top defenders and our two best offensive players from last year. So, we do have some rebuilding to do there.”

So far this preseason, the entire team has been having joint practices rather than separate practices for varsity and junior varsity.

“They have really pushed it hard to where they’ve been worn out from the two-a-day practices. They’ve given me their hardest so far,” coach Cash said.

Captains Yunior Cruz, Kel Ordonez, Yordan Morales and Maycol Escalante have taken control and helped some of the younger kids for Central during the first few weeks of practice.

Cruz and Escalante will each be seniors this season, with Ordonez and Morales entering the school year as juniors.

“I think we look pretty good so far,” said Cruz. “We’re a young team, but we’re improving every day and I think we can do even better than last year. It’s my senior year, so I really want to go all out and make the tournament again this year. I know the rest of the team really wants to too, so we’re trying to keep improving every day.”

Escalante was one of three Central players named to the All-Conference First Team (Northern Division) last season.

As a sophomore last year, Yordan Morales earned All-Conference Honorable Mention honors. This year, he’s striving for more.

“I’m trying to make First Team All-Conference this year,” he said. “It feels great, as an eleventh grader, to have my coaches put this responsibility [team co-captain] on me. I think I can step up to it. I’m just here to help the younger players do their best, and I’ll be playing my best too.”

With last season’s 8-0 postseason loss in the rearview mirror, Sussex Central hopes to possess the perfect mix of experienced leadership and talented youth to compete for a state title this season.

“That was last year, we have to focus on this year so we’re moving forward,” Ordonez said of last season’s semifinal loss.

Sussex Central will have its one and only preseason playday scrimmage against Cape Henlopen, St. Michaels (MD) and Tower Hill Friday, Sept. 1 at 8 a.m.

“That scrimmage will be more used to build some chemistry and to see where our team is chemistry-wise,” coach Cash said. “I still have about 10 lineups in my head to think about, so it will help me work on who’s going to be in the right positions. It will also help me decide on who is junior varsity and varsity material. It’s one thing going against yourself, but it’s another going up against some other competition. We’re going to be facing three great teams in Cape, St. Michaels and Tower Hill.”

Once the final tune-up is finished, Central will open the regular season on the road at Laurel Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 5:30 p.m.

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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