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Coach Expects Bigger and Better Things for State College High Boys Soccer Team

by and on September 28, 2013 4:45 PM

A closer look at the State College Area High School boys' soccer team:

Coach — Danny Orton, second season.

2012 Record — 12-6-2.

Biggest losses — Sam Bollinger and Joe Thomas.

Key returnees — Robby Waite, Will Edwards, Tucker Wheeler, Jake Garrigan, Conor Gest and Kevin Rahn.

Strengths: Coach Orton believes this team can be more versatile than the 2012 group and play more than one style of soccer. Last season, the players were “easy to look at,” he said, but they also want to be able to play a more physical style when needed.

“We are going to play a slightly different style this year. We were pretty to watch last year, but I think that we need to play two different styles and be more direct when we have to be.

“I think this year we have the personnel to be even better with the ball and better at keeping the ball than last year. But we need to find ways to be grittier and to be able to win games at the varsity level.”

Concerns — Orton wants his team to be more consistent, especially playing in the tough Mid-Pen Conference. “We were let down last year by one or two mental mistakes. It’s a long, hard season, and when we made a couple of mental errors, in the league we play in, we were punished. It’s very, very difficult playing against top going-to-be-Division I athletes, and when we slip up, the ball is in the back of the net. We have to make sure this season that we play as consistently as we can.”

Early season — “Last year, we started 2-2,” Orton said, “and this year might be the same. It’s a sharpness factor, and I will be looking for them to find a rhythm to make sure that we’re sharp and understand the patterns of play that we worked on in training. And I’m looking for leadership, for character, and the players who are going to fight and scrap and get this done.”

Outook — Orton has a good feeling about the potential of this team.

“I want to make sure that our No. 1 goal is getting back to states, and in terms of having a good feeling about this group, I do. There is lots of talent, and we are blessed with good players. If everybody’s on their game, we can compete with anyone in the state,” he said.

Circle these dates — vs. Central Dauphin East (Oct. 3); vs. Mifflin County (Oct. 8).

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Pat Rothdeutsch covers Penn State football for The Centre County Gazette. Email him at [email protected]
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