Mike Webb’s message to his Chancellor boys soccer team at the end of an unsettling defeat to Grafton in the Class 4 state semifinals last June was clear.
Webb allowed the Chargers to digest seeing their 2–0 lead in the 65th minute turn into a 3–2 defeat (4–1 on penalty kicks).
But then Webb reminded his players that they have what it takes to return to the state tournament for a school-record sixth straight time in 2019.
The quest to do just that got underway with a 3–0 win over a perennially competitive Lafayette program on Tuesday in the season-opener. The Chargers—bolstered by a lineup full of seniors, including the return of former standout striker Eli Carr—believe they have the formula to go deep into the postseason once again and possibly win the program’s third state championship.
“I don’t know if it left a sour taste,” Webb said of the Grafton defeat. “But it definitely left a hungry taste.”
Chancellor can trot out a lineup comprised exclusively of seniors this spring.
The Chargers return co-captains Michael Kreider and Josh Rasure. Kreider was an all-state defender last season. He was named second-team All-Area.
Rasure was an all-state performer as a midfielder.
There’s also second-team all-state goalkeeper Josh Reid, second-team all-state midfielder Andres Correa (five goals, 24 assists in 2018) and second-team all-Region 4B midfielder Jesse Ramirez.
Carr was named second-team all-state as a sophomore before he sat out his junior season to play with Richmond United. He suffered a broken leg in the fall and is fully healed and prepared to dominate this season.
Webb said Carr “has an engine that doesn’t turn off.”
“He’s just a player of fantastic quality,” Kreider added. “He’s a really great goal scorer. He was with the team his freshman and sophomore years so he fits in. He’s part of the family. But more importantly he’s clinical in front of the goal if he just gets that one chance. If we’re not playing our best we can count on him to score the goal to win the game.”
The Chargers received an early morale boost in the season-opening win over Lafayette. It was the team’s first meaningful game since the setback to Grafton.
Rasure said not only was it good to start the season with a victory, the contest also allowed the Chargers to completely move past the way last season culminated.
“It was a heartbreaker for sure,” Rasure said. “But I know a lot of the boys, including myself, have taken that loss and worked even harder in the offseason and early in this season. We always strive to be in the state tournament and I think the work we put in throughout the summer and the coaching that coach Webb gives us year-round definitely leads to our success.”
The Chargers are on a quite a run the past five seasons, including a trip to the state title game in 2016 that ended with a 1–0 loss to Park View–Sterling.
Despite the tough defeats, the consistent success has helped add to Webb’s win total. The only coach in school history now has 480 career victories. This current crop of Chargers would love to be the team to get Webb to the 500-win plateau, but he doesn’t want them putting that type of pressure on themselves.
The regular season is 16 games. There are potentially two district tournament contests, three regional games and three more in the state tournament.
Webb said it’s “unrealistic to put that burden on these kids,” but with a talented and experienced roster, the possibility exists.
“It means I’m pretty darn old and it’s probably time to go,” Webb said of approaching the milestone. “I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of good players and a lot of good kids who buy into the tradition, buy into the program and buy into the way we do things.”
I don’t know if [the Grafton loss] left a sour taste, but it definitely left a hungry taste. —Mike Webb,