When you have as much back as the Garner-Hayfield-Ventura boys soccer team does, it’s hard not to think what could be by the season’s end.
The Cardinals have most key pieces back from their team which qualified for the first time in school history, but they’re trying not to get too far ahead of themselves.
“Last year I asked the boys what the goal was and it was to make it to state,” GHV coach Eric Williams said. “Of course that’s the goal this year, too, but really the main goal is for us to win the next game; we’re trying not to look past the next.
“I think that they know they’re good. They were successful in football, successful in basketball, so it’s there, but we can’t worry about each and every game in the future. We have to win the next one.”
GHV’s front line is as talented as any team around the northern part of the state, and it has one of the state’s top scorers in Connor Burke.
Burke is already the school-record holder in goals after scoring 26 goals alone last year as a junior. He got his senior campaign kicked off the right way Thursday night with six goals in an 8-2 win over Charles City.
With Burke’s help, plus Ryan Meyers and Jonah Albertson helping out up front, the Cardinals feel they’re in a good place offensively starting out.
“We’re pretty confident, we know what we can do and we know how to play,” he said. “We’ve got all these years under our belts now and we’re just ready to compete.”
Another key position for the Cards this season will be at goalkeeper, where they have a good one in GHV’s do-everything athlete Nick Joynt.
Joynt finished with 85 saves a year ago and allowed just over two goals per game. He’ll be just as important this season.
“It’s huge to have Nick back there,” Burke said. “He knows what he’s doing, and in his second year, he stop everything. He’s going to be huge for us, and it’s just good to get all these guys who have been playing together forever.”
Early on, the Cardinals are just trying to regain that chemistry they developed in the run to the state tournament last year. With “only seven or eight days” outside practicing so far this spring, it could take some time like last year, but once they’re there, watch for the Cardinals to rise.
“Soccer was kind of not a sport at our school and now we’ve earned a little respect, and we’re just looking to continue that and show that we’re contenders,” Burke said.