Boys soccer preview: Raiders have new leader for 2010As the Hastings boys soccer team takes the field this fall, they are being led by their third coach in as many seasons. Thankfully for many of the players, their new coach is anything but a new face. Shane Lanning, a HHS graduate, returns to his alma mater to lead the Raiders.
By: Chad Richardson, The Hastings Star-Gazette
As the Hastings boys soccer team takes the field this fall, they are being led by their third coach in as many seasons. Thankfully for many of the players, their new coach is anything but a new face.
Shane Lanning, a HHS graduate, returns to his alma mater to lead the Raiders.
Lanning knows well what the team is facing. As a high school student here, he had three coaches in four years.
If there’s one thing that will help the Raiders get through the transition, it will be attitude, Lanning said.
“Attitude is key for me,” he said. “If you aren’t getting results in the win column, once you get into the later portion of the season, bad attitudes are magnified.”
Captains for the Raiders are Jack Matecki, Daniel Green and Andres Vietoris.
Matecki is a senior midfielder.
“He has quite a bit of experience through the Minnesota Thunder Academy,” Lanning said. “He has played a a pretty high level. He is definitely a good midfielder. I think he’s going to find his home on the outside midfield. He is a good talker on the field.”
Green will be one of the team’s goalkeepers.
“He, too, leads by example very well, both on and off the field,” Lanning said. “I know he’s a good student. He is very polite and is a guy you like to have as a player on your squad. You ask him to do something and he does it. He goes above and beyond what you ask him to do. You can’t ask for too much more than what you get with Dan.”
Vietoris will float between midfield and forward, Lanning said.
“He is quiet but he’s a very hard worker,” Lanning said. “He just goes and goes and goes. You never hear a bad thing out of his mouth. I can appreciate that. I always like a good attitude.
“I think he’s going to be more of an attacking player, whether he’s a midfielder or a forward. He has been a part of the varsity program for the last three years now. He’ll bring some experience with him.”
Key returning players
Among the key returning players for the Raiders will be Lucas Bunting, a defender.
“That guy is a workhorse,” Lanning said. “If you had a scale from one through 10, he’s giving it a 10.5 right now. Every training session has been hard. Everything that comes out of his mouth is positive.
“He’s a good leader, too. We could have easily had four captains, and he would have been the fourth.”
Last season, Jacob Niemann missed the high school season when he studied abroad. The good news for the Raiders is that Niemann has returned.
“He is another player who played with the Thunder Academy quite a bit,” Lanning said. “He has trained at a very high level. It’s pretty evident when he steps on the field. He’s a very god player. Very smart. Very hard working.”
Niemann is the son of the former Hastings coach Jim Niemann.
Sheldon Ritt should be a big contributor, Lanning said.
“Sheldon will be a shining star for us,” Lanning said.
Sam Ritt should also be a contributor.
Bailey Platson will be new to the varsity this year, and Lanning is expecting him to contribute.
“I’m really excited to see him play,” Lanning said. “His work grade is off the charts. In the offseason, he played with St. Croix on a very high level. I’m very impressed with him in training camp.”
In his first year as the Hastings varsity coach, Lanning’s goal is simple: to improve the level of talent on the team.
Lanning has also wiped the slate clean, if you will, when it comes to the players.
“Everyone is getting a clean look,” he said. “I just need to get the guys to play up to their potential. That’s one of the biggest goals this year – to take the talent that is there, get them up to their potential, and set the bar high.
“It’s not a goal I can achieve. They have to achieve it for me. I can try to present them with an atmosphere that does help them excel and does get their potential up as much as possible, but this isn’t my team. I just coach the team. I want the guys to know that this is their team.”
The Hastings captains have told Lanning that they want to be a more offensive team.
“For many years, we produced great defenses because we were always in a defensive mode,” Lanning said. “I would like for us to become an offensive team as well, and give fans a 6-5 shootout versus getting scored on four or five times and not getting any goals.”
Lanning expects Woodbury, Stillwater, Park, Mounds View and Cretin-Derham Hall to all be among the leaders in the conference.
Regardless of the opponent, Lanning is going to expect his team’s best effort every single day.
“What I don’t like is putting up a bad result against a mediocre team,” Lanning said. “A measure of success for me is, for a majority of our games, did we play up to our potential? If we do, we’ll put more notches in the win column.”