Coach Chris Tower runs the Pugwash Panthers soccer team through its paces during one of its first practices of the season. The Division 4 provincial champions are off to a decent start, beating River Hebert 5-1 and tying Oxford 0-0. Andrew Wagstaff – The Citizen
PUGWASH – The goal was set for the Pugwash Panthers as soon as they hit the field for soccer tryouts this year. Repeat.
The Panthers won the Division 4 provincial championship last year, and coach Chris Tower says all the ingredients are there for another successful run this year.
“The team is looking great on the field so far,” said Tower.
“We are definitely in great shape and are just working on getting our touches around the net.”
Most of the boys played for Tower in the Highland Senior Men’s League during the past two summers, an experience that has helped out with their control and heads-up play and been a tremendous asset to the school team, according to the coach.
Nineteen players tried out for this year’s team, and the coach took all 19 without making any cuts, although some will see more playing time than others, he said.
Among the returning players are Brady Wood and Andy Lund, who always work hard to get the job done when needed, according to their coach, while Zach Langille and Josh Borgal never quit until they win the ball.
This year’s team is led by captain Kris Allen, who moves to midfield from keeper this year to help with offence. Replacing him in the net is Nick Stevens, coming up from junior.
“Nick has done a great job for the first few games, and I am confident with his ability so far,” said Tower.
Only three players were lost to graduation and one to injury, while three more moved up from the junior ranks. Only two of this year’s returning players are Grade 12 students, so the team is already looking good for the 2011 season.
But there is no question that the focus of the team is on winning this year.
“The goal for the year is to repeat, and we have the potential,” he said. “However, there are a lot of strong teams this year in Division 4. I am looking forward to having some competitive matches.”
The team has played two league games so far in the season, tying Oxford 0-0 and defeating River Hebert 5-1.