The Swanton boys soccer team returns some quality players this season but at the same time, could struggle with a lack of depth.
“We have to find scoring from other players and some younger guys stepping up to fill the spots that we lost to graduation,” said head coach Joe Hensley on how his team can have success in 2020. “It will be hard to replace a 36-goal scorer from last year. We need to be more creative and play really well on defense.”
The Bulldogs have four returning letter winners this season — a pair of sophomores, one junior and one senior.
Back are sophomore Hayden Callicotte (second team All-NWOAL, honorable mention All-Northwest District), sophomore Ethan Hensley (second team All-NWOAL, honorable mention all-district), junior Mason Koback (honorable mention All-NWOAL) and senior Jon Byczynski (honorable mention All-NWOAL).
Byczynski notched eight goals for Swanton a season ago. Ethan Hensley, who served as the team’s goalkeeper, recorded seven shutouts. Koback was a big part of the Dogs’ defense last year.
However, they will have to replace five key players, two of which are now playing in college.
One is Riley Hensley who was first team All-NWOAL and the league’s player of the year, first team all-district, and second team All-Ohio. He will be playing soccer at D-II Lake Erie College.
Also gone is Cole Mortemore, who was first team All-NWOAL and honorable mention all-district in 2019. He takes his talents to D-III Defiance College.
The Dogs also lose Evan Carmean, Dustin McFarland and Mason Sullivan.
“Strengths for the season will be our speed and a experienced goalkeeper,” said coach Hensley.
The Bulldog coach knows he will have to develop some of the younger players quickly in order to manufacture more depth.
“Weakness will be our numbers and depth as we only have 18 total players this year,” Hensley said.
According to the coach, they have three new players and also one foreign exchange student.
In regards to the NWOAL, Hensley says the Dogs can give each team a run for their money.
“We should compete with all the teams in the league and we have the tools to beat anyone,” he said. “This league is starting to get really competitive and some teams that you wouldn’t expect to be at the top are there. If we can get big wins against Archbold, Bryan and Wauseon, then I feel we have a good shot at winning this league.”
Swanton begins the season at Toledo Christian this Saturday beginning at 2 p.m.