Talented Statesmen Focus on Future

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A day after losing the season opener, 1-0, on penalty kicks to Lindbergh High School on Aug. 25 at Selma Field, Webster Groves Coach Tim Cashel had a message for his boys soccer players.

 

During a classroom training session he put a line through the first two words of a sign that read "State Champion Webster Groves High School."

 

Cashel's point was that winning the 2014 Class 3 state championship was in the past.

 

"It's back to being regular old Webster Groves," Cashel said. "Losing to Lindbergh was liberating."

 

The challenge now is to repeat, something no public school has ever done. Of course, that's not going to be easy. Getting his players to stay in the moment, relax and play Webster Groves soccer is the task at hand.

 

Cashel said the players get a wealth of teaching opportunities from him and assistant coaches Tim Velten and Bill Daues.

 

 

Since the season opening loss, Webster Groves has won its last two games: a 3-2 victory over host Mehlville on penalty kicks on Aug. 28 and 2-1 in regulation over host Rockwood Summit on Sept. 1.

 

Consider this: Webster Groves is talented and experienced, to go along with having depth. The Statesmen have two strong goaltenders in juniors Will Sprick and Sam Gomez. Sprick is 1-1 in two starts while Gomez is 1-0 in his lone start against Mehlville. Cashel said he wants the players to determine the eventual starter.

 

"I didn't think it was right for me to name the starter before the season started," Cashel said. "I think the right thing to do is have them earn the job. I think it should be based on performance. We feel we have two strong goalkeepers. We feel like the depth is there."

 

Webster Groves has a seasoned, talented defense. Senior John Conley centers the defense with senior wingers Caleb Kuhn and Trey Paloucek. Senior David Richards and junior Kieran Tilford add depth. The midfield features seniors Sam Cashel (coach's son), Cam Oliver and Mick Hanrahan plus junior John Moorehouse. Because of the depth, Conley sometimes will play midfield.

 

The front line includes high-scoring senior forward Sheriden Smith. He has been scoreless in the first three games. He gets double and triple teamed against the opponents.

 

"I guarantee one thing," Cashel said. "He's going to get his share of goals."

 

But that also means more scoring opportunities for senior forwards Mitch Paulson and Antoine Givens and sophomore Jordan Andrews, who played for the Academy squad last fall instead of playing for the Statesmen. Andrews is another high-scoring player. Paulson, Givens, Conley and Moorehouse have scored the first four goals of the season.

 

In the win over Mehlville, Conley scored the tying goal with a header with three minutes left in regulation. Moorehouse also scored on a corner kick 20 yards out in the second half against Summit to extend the lead to 2-0. Givens opened the scoring against Summit with a first-half goal.

 

Webster Groves expects to see every team's "A" game this season, especially since they are the defending state champs.

 

"We believe we give our 'A' game every time as well," Cashel said.

 

Next up are two home games at Selma Field: Lutheran South at 4 p.m. on Sept. 4 and St. John Vianney at 4 p.m. on Sept. 5.