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Boys Soccer: Warriors strive to improve offensive output

Aden Davis shoots the ball as Noah Sunderberg defends the net Thursday during practice at Brainerd High School. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)

When the Brainerd Warriors scored 22 goals in 16 games last season, that total represented the eighth-most goals scored in program history in a single season.

Averaging 1.375 goals per game doesn't win many games. And, 22 goals in a season indicates that defense is what the Warriors have played best in the program's 19 years.

"That tells you a little bit about Brainerd High School boys soccer history—that we don't score too often," Warriors coach Tom Grausam said. "We're more defensive-minded. We need to change that strategy into scoring. ... What we have to do is make more runs out of the middle and out of the back."

Brainerd finished 2-14-0 in Grausam's first season as head coach. Wins and losses are something Grausam hopes to improve upon this fall.

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Boys soccer

  • Head coach: Tom Grausam, second season
  • 2015 finish: 2-10-0 CLC, 2-14-0 overall
  • Captains: Walker Grausam, Aden Davis, Jack Quaal, Noah Sundberg
  • Assistant coaches: Greg Whiteman, Chad Morlock

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"I would like to improve on that record, I would like to improve on the scoring aspect too," he said. "If we can finish, we're going to surprise a lot of people.

"I think our best game last year was against Bemidji. We were down 3-0 going into the second half. We came back and lost 3-2. We had multiple shots on net but just couldn't put it in the back of the net. Bemidji only had two shots on net in the second half. We completely shut them down (in the second half)."

The Warriors' record was a bit deceiving. Although they were outscored 71-22 and lost four games via shutouts, they lost three games by one goal and lost two games by two goals.

"We were in a lot of games. We just didn't have the offense," Grausam said. "I didn't keep track of our shots but I know quite a few of them hit the crossbar or post and we just couldn't finish."

Brainerd returns its top four scorers from last season. Aden Davis, a 2-time all-conference player, scored four goals and collected four assists. Mason Malone added five goals and an assist. Ian Foster, Tim Whiteman and Taylor Shelito each provided four points.

Defensively, All-CLC player Ben Westerberg and Foster, Gus Robinson, Walker Grausam and Jack Quall return.

"We need to learn how to come out of the back, how to push the ball up

the field, using our defensive mids and our attacking mids more," Tom Grausam said. "We also need to teach our attacking mids and forwards to fall back and help regain possession.

"Everyone has to play both ways. When we start doing this as a team, good things will happen."

In goal, Noah Sundberg returns for his second varsity season. As a freshman, he faced 247 shots, stopping 185 for a .749 save percentage in 15 games.

"He did well considering he was a freshman and he didn't know what he was getting into," Grausam said. "(High school is) a different game than summer ball. He went to some camps this summer. I expect some great things out of him. He's more vocal, more involved ... so far that I've seen. His agility and speed has improved."

Grausam believes he's more comfortable beginning his second year as a

head coach. Greg Whiteman returns as his assistant. Chad Morlock, who

played soccer at Moorhead High School and Concordia College, joins the staff this fall.

"With one year under your belt, you know what to expect, you know the

rules, but it's always a work in progress," Grausam said. "Working with Greg for

a second year that helps too. We're getting familiar with our styles of coaching."

Warriors roster

• Seniors: Aden Davis, Ian Foster, Walker Grausam, Jack Quaal, Nathaniel Reese, Cameron Senica

• Juniors: Tanner Larson, Gus Robinson, Taylor Shelito, Mason Wales, Ben Westerberg

• Sophomores: Noah Ebinger, Jarod Lacy, Mason Malone, Noah Sundberg

• Freshmen: Nick Whiteman, Jack Thorkelson

Warriors schedule

Aug 25, Rogers 5 p.m.

Aug 30, at Alexandria 7 p.m.

Sept 1, Rocori 7 p.m.

Sept 6, at St. Cloud Apollo 5 p.m.

Sept 8, St. Cloud Tech 7 p.m.

Sept 10, at Sartell noon

Sept 13, Sauk Rapids 7 p.m.

Sept 15, at Willmar 5 p.m.

Sept 22, Fergus Falls 7 p.m.

Sept 24, Bemidji 3 p.m.

Sept 27, Moorhead 7:15 p.m.

Sept 29, at Rocori 5 p.m.

Oct 4, St. Cloud Apollo 7 p.m.

Oct 6, St. Cloud Tech at SCSU 7 p.m.

Oct 7, Alexandria 7 p.m.

Oct 10, Sartell 7 p.m.

Section 8-2A Tournament

Oct 13, Quarterfinals

Oct 15, Semifinals

Oct 18, Championship

Class 2A State Tournament

Oct 25-Nov 3, Various sites & US Bank Stadium