Boys soccer: Seniors to lead Hastings
This will be the last season on the boys soccer team at Hastings High School for a big group of talented and experienced Raiders. There are 13 seniors on this year's team. There are three juniors and one freshman.
With all that experience in place, coach Shane Lanning has his sights set on a relatively lofty goal - he wants his team to get to the .500 mark.
"If I had to put a goal out there, I think .500 is definitely doable," he said.
His primary goal is to be competitive every game.
"We want to compete," he said. "I don't really have a win/loss goal, but .500 would be an achievable goal for us. Even that seems lofty, considering last year's record and with our conference schedule being as difficult as it is, it's tough. It's tough to find wins out of the deal."
Hastings finished last season with a 1-15 record. Hastings lost to Forest Lake in the opening round of the section tournament.
There are 42 players out for the team.
Captains for Hastings are Ian Johnson, Scott Matecki and Alex Lewanski.
Johnson is the team's goalkeeper. He is a senior and this will be his third year on varsity.
"He's certainly going to be our pillar, our rock," Lanning said. "What we've seen of him so far, he's made some great saves. He's showing that senior leadership, sorting out the defense in front of him. He played at a very high level all summer long, and he came back even stronger than in previous years."
Matecki is an attacking center midfielder. It will be his second year on varsity.
"He's good on and off the field," Lanning said. "He's relatively quiet, but he gets the job done."
Lewanski returns for his third season on varsity.
"He has played at a very high level," Lanning said. "He's a guy who leads by his actions on the field. He puts his nose to the grindstone. He works hard all day, every day."
Ten more seniors fill up the roster.
Among them is Bailey Platson, who plays on defense.
"If you asked me who my hardest worker was, I'd say Bailey, 100 percent," Lanning said. "He could play anywhere on the field for us. He'll be an impact player."
Keegan McIntosh is experienced and will play an outside attacking midfielder position.
Sam Romain returns with varsity experience at defense, too.
Fellow seniors are Josh Mann, Thomas Mattimiro, John McQuade, Alex Melecio, Jordan Rupe, Nate Strauss and Duncan Tweet.
Three juniors on the roster are Jonah Harrington, Kane McGree and Tristan Nelson.
Freshman Thomas Goonan has also made the varsity team.
Lanning expects teams from Stillwater and Woodbury to lead the league this year. Mounds View and Park will be strong.
Stillwater won the league title last year with an 8-0-1 record. Mounds View was second and Park was third.
In the section, Eastview is always good and Sibley appears to be a much improved team, too.