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2019 BOYS SOCCER PREVIEW: Team-by-team capsules
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Lambert's Hayden Fontana races South Forsyth's PJ Mollenauer to the ball on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. - photo by Brian Paglia
Pinecrest Academy

Coach: Domenic Martelli, fourth season

Last season: 13-6-1, lost in the second round of the Class 1A private playoffs

Key returners: GK Matt Del Balzo (Jr.), CB Brendan Kane (Jr.), MF Nicolas Martelli (Jr.), MF Kane Alvarez Del Pino (Sr.), MF Jake Lair (Jr.), All-purpose Arturo Munguia (Jr.), F Connor Sassine (Sr.)

Key newcomers: GK Evan Kane (Fr.), GK Grayson Thomason (So.), MF Colin Brown (Fr.), F Thomas Pelaez (Fr.)

What to know: The Paladins were a young squad last year, and although the 2018 campaign was a largely successful, they’ll have at least one critical piece to replace in region Player of the Year Gabe Villar, who racked up 35 goals and 18 assists during his senior year. Forward Connor Sassine and midfielder Kane Alvarez Del Pino are two seniors that will lead the Paladins this season. With plenty of upperclassmen on the roster, Pinecrest could be in good shape to make the postseason once again.

Denmark

Coach: Brett Godwin, first season

Last season: N/A

Key returners: N/A

Key newcomers: GK Newsha Mirfendereski (So.), MF Shayahn Mirfendereski (Jr.), MF Ruben Camacho (Jr.), F Andres Herrada (Jr.), MF Zach Bourg (Jr.)

What to know: As a first year program, Denmark is, of course, very young. Head coach Brett Godwin, a Lambert alum, has seen a lot of chemistry in the time he’s spent with his group, though, and believes the Danes have a chance to surprise some people in Region 7-4A and challenge for a playoff spot. Midfielders Ruben Camacho and Zach Bourg will be two juniors looking to fill leadership roles on a squad with no seniors.

Lambert

Coach: Chris Wilson, 10th season

Last season: 19-4-1, won Class 7A state championship

Key returners: D Nick Alliston (Sr.), F Kyler Darsey (Sr.),F Hayden Fontana (Sr.), D Trey Kirksey (Jr.), D Denny Kulasinac (Jr.), F Tyler Nadiak (So.), D Jay Patterson (Sr.), F Thomas Powers (Sr.), GK Cole Scott (Jr.), D Noah Sivinski (Sr.), GK Chris Smith (Sr.), MF Campbell Wilson (Jr.), D Grant Ziegler (Sr.)

Key newcomers: MF Julian Cuervo (So.), F Jack Frager (Sr.), D Hugh Headrick (Fr.), MF Yeonsung Lee (So.), D Harrison Maughin (Jr.), GK Joao Moreia (So.), MF Brogan Riggle (Jr.), D Lewis Seddon (Jr.)

What to know: The defending Class 7A state champs were a relatively young bunch last year, earning their 2018 title with just three seniors on their roster. There’s no reason to think the Longhorns won’t be competitive again during their title defense, with Lambert returning 13 players from last season, including defender Jay Patterson, a 2018 All-County selection.  Even so, those upperclassmen will be sorely missed this year, particularly on the offensive side, as the Longhorns lose county boys player of the year Logan Racine. If Lambert can ride new offensive leaders to finish chances the way they did last year, though, they’ll be in good shape.

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West Forsyth's Parker Campbell shoots against Forsyth Central on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. - photo by Ben Hendren
West Forsyth

Coach: Chad Davenport, first season

Last season: 9-13-1, missed playoffs

Key returners: D Parker Campbell (Sr.), D Johnny Raines (Sr.), MF Gustav Bringle (Jr.), MF Aiden Meinart (Jr.), MF Preston Baker (Jr.)

Key newcomers: D Jack Schnarr (So.), D Brennan McInerney (Jr.)

What to know: Coming off a season in which West missed the playoffs, the Wolverines will be under the guidance of first year head coach Chad Davenport. Most of West’s experience is in the midfield and on defense, led by returning seniors Parker Campbell and Johnny Raines. Depth figures to be a key strength as well, but Davenport says his team is still trying to find ways to get scoring opportunities and take advantage of them.

Forsyth Central

Coach: Will Gifford, fifth season

Last season: 11-8-2, lost in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs

Key returners: D Christian Patino (Sr.), D Kieran Evans (Jr.), D Matt McKenna (Jr.), MF Anthony Grasso (Jr.), MF Sergio Moreira (Jr.), MF Daniel Nogeira  (Jr.), MF Tracy Moon (Jr.), F Daniel Martin (Jr.), F Alex Guzman (So.)

Key newcomers: MF Oscar Trejo (Jr.), GK Cristhian Sanchez (Jr.), D Hunter Broome (So.)

What to know: The Bulldogs lost forward Uriel Romero and midfielder Gavin Mitchell to graduation. Central will miss both of those contributors to its 2018 playoff season, but still feels like it has more depth off the bench than in years past. Central returns just one senior in defender Christian Patino, though — for the Bulldogs to be successful, their younger players will have to mature quickly and play with confidence early on.

South Forsyth

Coach: Chere' Thomas, first season

Last season: 18-6-2, lost Class 7A state championship

Key returners: D PJ Mollenauer (Sr.), MF Andrew Shah (Sr.), D Carter Mason (Jr.,), D Tate O’Brien (Jr.), D Bryant Linares (Jr.), MF Patrick Kelly (So.)

Key newcomers: MF Luis Paz (Jr.), Striker Jose Ventura (So.)

What to know: Expectations are high for the War Eagles for the 2019 season after an appearance in the Class 7A state championship. South loses quite a bit from the squad that made it that far, though, including midfielder Trevor Byrne, who is now at Florida Atlantic, and goalkeeper Aarnav Sandhu, who did a lot to keep the War Eagles alive in penalties in the playoffs. First year head coach Chere' Thomas sees the defense as the team’s strength: Returning all-county defender PJ Mollenauer will lead that charge. Still, South will have to overcome its youth with many new players at key positions.

North Forsyth

Coach: Jack Snook, first season

Last season: 3-14-3, missed playoffs

Key returners: GK Gian Dev (Sr.), GK Alberto Rangel (So.), D Cameron Cummings (Jr.), MF Carson Tomassetti (Sr.)

Key newcomers: D Will Mashburn (So.), MF Michael Silva (Fr.), MF Ventura Soto (Fr.) and MF Carlos Moncada (Fr.) 

What to know: There’s nowhere to go but up for North this season under new head coach Jack Snook, who spent three previous seasons as the boys and girls JV coach. There’s been nothing but positivity, though: Snook had plenty of talent to choose from, with 62 players trying out. He sees the Raiders’ hurdles as mental. North hasn’t exactly been known as a soccer powerhouse in the past, but the Raiders hope their desire to change that reputation can inspire them.