The 2014 Class 2A Northridge Sectional boys soccer tournament is shaping up as a doozy, chock full of hungry and capable teams. Thing is, there’s an entire regular season to be played first.
But — if we can be permitted to skip ahead for a moment to October — certainly the Raiders will be hungry to send Todd Woodworth, the only coach in program history, out with his 10th serving of sectional hardware.
And there will even be that added twist of having a chance to do so on their own field as Northridge hosts a boys sectional for the first time ever. Yes, ever.
Goshen, meanwhile, will certainly be hungry, after what happened last year. The Redskins went 15-1 for the best regular season in program history, only to see their fall come to an abrupt halt with a 2-1 loss to eventual champion Northridge in a sectional semifinal at Concord. Goshen beat the Raiders 3-0 during the regular season.
Almost certainly, Elkhart Central and Concord will again be in the thick of these hunger games, too — they always are — and they might be especially hungry if they happen to face each other. That’s because one of the area’s best regular-season rivalries, theirs, is going away for at least a year.
Then there’s Elkhart Memorial, often the underdog to the above four perennial powers. The Crimson Chargers, a particularly inexperienced group heading into this fall, will have another chance to turn this five-team sectional table upside down, which they almost did last year, pushing Concord to seven rounds of shootout before falling in sudden death.
“Obviously, there’s some mixed emotions,” said Woodworth, who talked earlier this week about his 24th season being his final one, “but more importantly, we’ve got another group of kids preparing for a season. Hopefully, I’ll be able to help mold them and they’ll be a group that gets better throughout. I’m happy with the experience we’ve got coming back and there’s some potential there.”
The Raiders finished 14-4-3 a year ago. Goshen went 15-2, Central 13-3-1 and Concord 12-4-1.
The Redskins graduated three standouts, but return the bulk of their team from 2013. Plus, senior Isaac Huerta — the club’s top scorer as a sophomore — is back from an injury that cost him his junior season.
“I don’t think he’s 100 percent, but he’s up in the 90s,” Goshen coach Viratham Mounsithiraj said of Huerta.
Mounsithiraj, beginning his 11th year with the Redskins, says “this is probably the most balanced team we’ve ever had, one of the most well-rounded, but we also don’t have anybody who can just take over a game for a while. We may need different guys to step up and do that.”
As for the neighboring Blazers and Minutemen not meeting this regular season, Central athletic director Buck Buckley said calling off the Sept. 6 match-up was one of “just a couple options” available to him while phasing in new opponents as part of the pending Northern Indiana Conference expansion.
Both Buckley and Concord athletic director Dave Preheim said they hope to resume the series, possibly as soon as next year. Preheim said he’s still looking at possibilities to replace the Blazers on this year’s schedule.
Coach: Mark Yoder (25-14-1 in 2 seasons at Bethany).
Assistants: Craig Mast, Martin Brubaker, Ron Whiteford.
2013 record: 8-8-1.
Lettermen lost: 3.
Returning lettermen: 12. Seniors — Isaac Brenneman, Noah Hochstetler, Ethan Miller, Nate Nussbaum, Cristian Romero, Kyle Snyder, Trent Yoder. Juniors — Ian Bomberger, Martin Gerig, Clifton Miller, Alex Reinhardt, Matthew Smucker.
Others: Seniors — Hajin Kim, Zac Zmudzinski. Juniors — Noah Richer. Sophomore — Natan Nafziger.
Opener: Aug. 19 vs. Marian.
Noting: With the Bethany girls soccer program on at least a two-year hiatus, three freshman girls have joined the boys team and are on the JV roster.
Coach: Shawn McCuen (171-87-33 in 16 seasons at Concord).
Assistants: Steve Miller, Lucas Shelly, Jose Luis Rodriguez.
2013 record: 12-4-1 (4-2-1 in NLC).
Lettermen lost: 7.
Returning lettermen: 12. Seniors — Chandler Dolowy, Jared Long, Jonathan Lozada, Trenton Snyder, Ryan Tepe, Henry Zelaya. Juniors — Cameron Curtis, Alejandro Giron, Paco Ocampo, Anthony Saleh. Sophomores — Trevor Pollock, Ben Rich.
Others: Seniors — Juan Gonzalez, Christian Pereira. Juniors — Brian Martinez Sosa, Diego Ortiz. Sophomores — Juan Aguilar, Fernando Cervantes, Nate Conder, Quinn Miller, Logan Wise. Freshmen — Nick Binkley, Matthew Granitz, Christian Saleh.
Opener: Aug. 19 at SB Adams.
Noting: The Minutemen are tied with Northridge among area schools for most sectional titles all-time at nine.
Coach: Sherwin Simon (29-6-2 in 2 seasons at Central; 43-25-3 in 4 seasons overall).
Assistants: Greg Thorne, Sean Addison, Jose Jimenez.
2013 record: 13-3-1 (7-1 in NIC, co-champion).
Lettermen lost: 10.
Returning lettermen: 14. Seniors — Jacob Brown, Bryan Cerrillo, Michael Gaj, Manuel Hernandez, Joe Holtz, John Lochmandy, Alex Ramirez, Alex Rosales, Carlos Tellez, Ross Tepe. Juniors — Cosmo Disori, Joey Himes, Tyler Piazza. Sophomore — Javier Vera.
Others: Senior — Dwayne Weatherspoon. Juniors — Victor Rodriguez, Juve Zepeda. Sophomores — Kevin Castillo, Heison Godoy, Miguel Gonzales, Jorge Miranda.
Opener: Aug. 18 at LaPorte.
Noting: “I’ve been really impressed with how we’re coming along,” Simon says. “We’re getting better and I’m happy with the progress.”
Coach: Ben Brown (16-46-4 in 4 seasons at ECA).
2013 record: 7-8-1.
Lettermen lost: 8.
Returning lettermen: 13. Seniors — Noah Buck, Nick Hickman, Jon Kintner, Nathanael Knight, Andrew Metz, Trevor Nunemaker, Phil Walsworth. Juniors — Spencer Burnes, Connor Matthes, Andrew Shaum. Sophomores — Evan Hartman, Ben Kintner, Caleb Walters.
Others: Sophomore — Brad Tierney. Freshmen — Bryce Campbell, Tariku Freeland, Evan Jachimiak, Tyler Lollis, Ben Schwartz.
Opener: Aug. 19 at Lakeland Christian.
Noting: The Eagles flirted with .500 in 2013 after going 4-13 in 2012.
Coach: Dan Sullivan (25-45-12 in 5 seasons at Memorial).
Assistants: Tim Pepley, Giovanni Lopez.
2013 record: 5-7-3 (2-3-2 in NLC).
Lettermen lost: 14.
Returning lettermen: 5. Seniors — Juan Cardoza, Felix Mayorga. Juniors — Daniel Brummet, Jaime Garcia, Brayan Vargas.
Others: Seniors — Manuel Aguilar, Angel Lucero. Juniors — Juan Fernandez, Christian Lopez, Roman Perez, Armando Reyes, Henry Rivas, Tristan Young. Sophomores — Daniel Borjas, Diego Gonzalez, Zach Groulx, Gerardo Guzman, Jaime Mayorga, Oscar Ocampo, Diego Reynoso, Juan Vaca-Ramirez.
Opener: Aug. 19 at SB St. Joseph.
Noting: Sullivan calls this “definitely our greenest group, but they’re excited and engaged.” The Charger JV went 11-4 last fall.
Coach: Viratham Mounsithiraj (107-54-23 in 10 seasons at Goshen).
Assistants: Joe Sabo, Myron Bontreger, Matt Bjorkland.
2013 record: 15-2 (7-0 in NLC).
Lettermen lost: 5.
Returning lettermen: 11. Seniors — Kevin Argueta Garcia, Tyler Born, Jesus Dominguez Olvera, Isaac Huerta, Seth Kurtz, José Martinez, JT Plavchak, Kyle Ramirez Ingold, Christian Ruiz, Alfredo Vasquez. Junior — Sebastian Flores.
Others: Juniors — Adrian Delavega, Tom Ho, Steve Perez, Eduardo Pizana, Alvaro Romo, Daniel Rosales, Aaron Urzua. Sophomore — Juan Castañeda.
Opener: Aug. 21 vs. Marian.
Noting: Huerta, the team’s leading scorer as a sophomore, missed last season due to injury.
Coach: Ben Householter (194-95-17 in 16 seasons at Marian).
Assistants: Tim Killilea, Mett Englert, Jaime Osorio, John Jones.
2013 record: 13-8 (5-3 in NIC; 1A LaVille Sectional champion).
Lettermen lost: 10.
Returning lettermen: 12. Seniors — CruzJuarez, Luis Juarez, Joey Kaucic, Boniface Muguro, Simon Siguenza, Isaac Torres, Hunter Wieczorek. Juniors — Augie Hartnagel, Kyle Killilea, Richie Ontiveros, Kevin Torres, Christian Verstraete.
Others: Senior — Ethan Hunt. Juniors — Elias Kirstein, Carlos Torres. Sophomores — Max Frausto, Christian Juarez, Justin Saavedra, Salvador Siguenza, Michael Wuszke. Freshmen — Jordan Morris, Junior Ontiveros.
Opener: Aug. 19 at Bethany Christian.
Noting: The Knights have three sets of brothers on the varsity roster, plus several cousins within the program.
Coach: Todd Woodworth (232-139-64 in 23 seasons at Northridge).
Assistants: Lawrence Baltazar, John Bowen.
2013 record: 14-4-3 (5-1-1 in NLC; 2A Concord Sectional champion).
Lettermen lost: 5.
Returning lettermen: 12. Seniors — Trent Brickner, Scout Burnstine, Brogan Cover, Ryan Haarer, Hunter Hardin, Bailey Kaplon, Philip Keller, Elliott Laughlin, Aaron Maas. Juniors — Bryce Fry, Colin Legault, Brandon Nixon.
Others: Juniors — Raphael DePaula, Noah Kaplon. Sophomores — Nathan Blyly, Mason Cross, Tre Marvel, Wade Wilson.
Opener: Aug. 19 at Penn.
Noting: Woodworth, the only coach in Raider history, begins his final season.
Coach: Brad Duerksen (129-143-35 in 17 seasons at NorthWood).
Assistants: Egbert Dijkstra, Seth Douwsma.
2013 record: 4-13-1 (0-7 in NLC).
Lettermen lost: 5.
Returning lettermen: 11. Senior — Ethan Craven. Juniors — Dennyz Barahona, Isaac Bowser, David Eshelman, Connor Miller, Derek Parker, Matt Pippenger, Brayton Taylor. Sophomores — Eli Aukerman, Cody Cripe, Dillan Weldy.
Others: Senior — Tanner Fervida. Junior — Aaron Chenoweth. Sophomores — Antonio Lopez, Josh Weldy. Freshmen — Juan Pantoja, Michah Pippenger.
Opener: Aug. 21 at Elkhart Central.
Noting: “We’re very young, but our junior class is strong,” Duerksen says, “and we had a pretty good summer.”
Coach: Josh Nakayama (first season).
Assistants: John Lord, Rob Berkheiser, Steve Burnside.
2013 record: 11-5-4 (7-1 in NIC, co-champion; 2A SB Adams Sectional champion).
Lettermen lost: 7.
Returning lettermen: 14. Seniors — Drayton Blankenbaker, William Dorsch, Gavin Hoffman, Griffin Hoffman, Hudson Huth, Andrew Ivaldi, Caleb March, Conrad Shreiner. Juniors — Noah Craig, Trent Gidman, Colorado Kruggel, Macrae Smith, Justin Stahl, Connor Truex.
Others: Juniors — Hudson Farrell, Nick Karamitsos, Nolan Moore, RJ Stewart. Sophomores — Andrew Fulmer, Cameron Marsh, Riley Smith. Freshman — Conor McNamara.
Opener: Aug. 19 vs. Northridge.
Noting: Nakayama, a Penn assistant the last two years and a 2011 Bethel College grad who played for Pilots, was tabbed interim coach July 23, shortly after Ryan Leniski resigned. Leniski went 36-18-7 over four seasons with the Kingsmen.
Coach: Dennis Berkey (170-81-18 in 14 seasons at Westview).
Assistant: Chase Jones.
2013 record: 11-7-2 (6-1 in NECC; 1A Westview Sectional champion).
Lettermen lost: 8.
Returning lettermen: 11. Seniors — Jacob Berkey, Zac Carmack, Buchanon Carpenter, Nate Gerardot, Lucas Hunter, Jordan Stoltzfus. Juniors — Lincoln McDonald, Lindon McDonald, Kade Miller. Sophomores — Dalton Misner, Braden Reynolds.
Others: Senior — Chandler Aspy. Juniors — Gavin Gage, Jared Mullet, Dawson Oesch, Josh Yoder, Nick Yoder. Sophomores — Andrew Brandenberger, Houston Haney, Hunter Whitney.
Opener: Aug. 19 vs. Wawasee.
Noting: Senior basketball standout Chandler Aspy has joined the team and could wind up the Warriors’ goalkeeper.