SOCCER PREVIEW: Experienced Jaguar offense ready to make another run at region title

Aug. 5—LONDON — These are exciting times for the North Laurel Jaguars boys soccer program.

After posting a 9-8-2 mark last season while advancing to the finals in the 49th District and 13th Region Tournaments, many prognosticators believe the Jaguars could be even better this season.

"We are excited about the start of the 2022 soccer season again this year," North Laurel coach David Broyles said. "We are coming off a district and region runner-up finish, and our first winning season in several years.

"This year, we want to continue building towards our goals of winning district and region which I believe is within our grasp this year," he added. "We are returning a solid core of players and 60 percent of our scoring."

One key strength to North Laurel's success will be midfield play, according to Broyles.

"Our midfield will be a strong area for us again this year with Grant Abner (8 goals, 3 assists), Tanner Broyles (3 goals, 3 assists in limited games due to injury), and Seth Miller (1 goal, 5 assists) as the nucleus of the midfield," Broyles said. "Gabriel Steely (2 goals, 3 assists) and Zachary Crouch (1 goal, 2 assists) will round out the midfield on the wings while Jackson McCowan (6 goals, 2 assists) will be at striker.

"We also have some talented freshmen that should be able to step in and contribute on the offensive side," he added. "The concern for us this year is on the defensive side where we lost three starters to graduation, one to transfer along with Kristopher Hagan, a two-year starter at right back, who will be unavailable this year due to an ACL tear during spring travel season. We will be relying on a capable, but inexperienced back line and junior goal keeper Aydn Ebersole."

Even with concerns, Broyles believes his Jaguars will be battle-tested and ready to make a deep postseason run.

"We have a schedule that I believe will help prepare us for postseason play," he said. "If we continue to improve and can avoid injuries, I believe we will contend for the district and region titles."