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2017 KENTUCKY STANDARD BOYS' SOCCER PREVIEW: Tigers seeking 3rd straight region berth

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Bardstown Tigers Boys' Soccer Preview

By Dennis George

Bardstown can make history if the boys’ soccer team advances to the 19th District Tournament for the third year in a row.

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They’ve never done that before, and to do it this year, coach Aaron Boggs’ team will have to overcome the loss of some key players who helped the team win the title in 2015 before finishing runner-up to Thomas Nelson last season.

“We lost my son Devin, who is one of the most versatile players I’ve coached,” Aaron Boggs said. Devin graduated with 59 career goals and 14 assists, one of five departed seniors.

“We also lost the Leathers twins, Greg and Scott,” Aaron Boggs said. “Greg is one of the best defenders I’ve ever coached.”

Starters Logan Green and Mason Hardin have also graduated.

Boggs thinks his team, though young, can again contend for the championship.

“We knew this was coming, and we spent a lot of time with our JV program trying to bring these kids along,” he said. “We’ve got guys who can fill those gaps, but will they do it immediately? I don’t think so. We have some varsity-skilled players that are varsity-ready, but it’s going to take them awhile to get there.”

Bardstown may be young (of the 21 players on the roster, 12 are freshmen or sophomores), but there is a nucleus of veterans who can lead the team.

At the top of that list is senior forward Thomas Sidebottom, who scored 11 goals a year ago to match the team lead.

“I don’t want to put any added pressure on him, but our success and failures will go through him,” Boggs said. “Thomas embraces the challenge of being a team leader. He can be his own worst enemy because he has such high expectations for himself. I like that in a player.”

Sidebottom is adapting quite well in his new role.

“I was a captain last year, but I had Devin to look up to,” he said. “This year there is no one for me to look up to. It’s all on me.”

Fellow senior Grant Bischoff returns to his starting role at goalkeeper.

Two players, sophomore defenders Reece Sharp and Will Sidebottom, qualified for the Kentucky Olympic Developmental team and spent time this summer playing in Holland.

“That was an unbelievable experience for them,” the coach said. “They received high-level coaching and played against high-level competition. I look for them to be examples for the other players to look up to.”

Sophomore Spencer Roggentine and junior Logan Festervan will also be defenders. The latter has started for two seasons.

Durbin Boggs (sophomore) and Christian Brockman (junior) will see time in the midfield.

Senior Jared Sherril will be learning a new position as the coach has moved him from the defensive side to midfield.

Sherrill is optimistic about the team’s season.

“We’re young, but we’re going to win some games this year,” he said. “We just need to learn how to play with each other and then we should be good.”

Junior Dylan Hardesty is also being moved to the midfield position.

Senior Bryson Carpenter and sophomore Tomas Lopez are expected to join Thomas Sidebottom in supplying the offensive punch for the Tigers.

“Tomas played quite a bit last year until he was injured late in the season,” Boggs said. “He is a very skilled and a very smart player.”

The coach says Carpenter “might be the most improved player on the team.”

Bardstown has a busy opening week of the season, with home games against Taylor County Aug. 15 and South Oldham the next night before traveling to Bethlehem for an All A Classic contest Aug. 17. The Tigers are returning to All A Classic competition following a four-year absence.