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Boys Soccer: Respectability new coach's goal

Boys soccer Head coach: Tom Grausam, first season 2014 finish: 3-9-0 CLC, 3-15-0 overall Captains: Dalton Jobe, Aden Davis, Walker Grausam, Andrew Wasniewski Assistant coaches: Greg Whiteman, Pat Trout One of the positives derived from a 3-victor...

Brainerd’s Mason Malone kicks the ball during soccer practice. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)
Brainerd’s Mason Malone kicks the ball during soccer practice. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)

Boys soccer

Head coach: Tom Grausam, first season

2014 finish: 3-9-0 CLC, 3-15-0 overall

Captains: Dalton Jobe, Aden Davis, Walker Grausam, Andrew Wasniewski

Assistant coaches: Greg Whiteman, Pat Trout

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One of the positives derived from a 3-victory season in 2014 is that several Brainerd Warrior underclassmen received a taste of varsity competition.

First-year head coach Tom Grausam hopes the experience those young men gained, along with an experienced group of returning players, will help point the program in an upward direction this fall.

"I see a great future for this program with the young kids coming up, the other people we have coming back and with the coaches. We're all excited," said Grausam, who replaces Tony Smith who resigned following last season. "We've been working really hard, doing two-a-days.

"My goal is to have a minimum of a .500 record, get at least 20 balls in the back of the net. With hard work and believing in each other and believing in your coaches, I think we'll get there.

"We have a lot of experience coming back, which really helps. We're still young, but our young players know how to play. They have now one year underneath their belts and with all the guys returning and playing with each other that only helps with the chemistry."

Scoring is a concern for the Warriors, who return 12 players. Last year, Brainerd was outscored 93-12 and got clean-sheeted nine teams.

"Offensively we hope we have more runs," Grausam said. "We need to start shooting the ball outside the 18 (-yard box). I felt last year we were trying to push the ball in too close. We need to have more people crashing the net, working the ball outside and crossing it."

Following is a position-by-position look at the Warriors:

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Forward: Taylor Shelito and Tanner Larson may receive the scoring opportunities, but they won't be the only threats. Grausam also looks for Aden Davis, Sam Alcock, Ian Foster, Taylor Shelito, Mason Malone and Tim Whiteman to generate offense. Davis is the leading returning scorer with three goals and an assist.

"I like to have to a mixture of scorers, not just one person," Grausam said. "They all have to be crashing the net, getting rebounds, putting the ball in the back of the net. We need to be creative, recognize space, make angled runs and communicate better to be successful."

Midfield: Dalton Jobe, Riley Sloan, Collin French, Brendan Barna, Foster, Whiteman, Ben Westerberg and Malone can play midfield. Grausam said the Warriors will play a new formation this fall.

"Tim, Ian and Mason will be attacking midfielders," Grausam said. "We have defensive mids in Walker (Grausam) and Jack (Quaal). They're the ones who are the beginning of the building process. Without them communicating and working together, we won't be able to move forward."

Defense: Jobe, Sloan, Davis, Grausam, Quaal, Alcock, Andrew Wasniewski, Gus Robinson and Larson will man the backside of the new formation.

"Aden and Sam are going to be the backs," Grausam said. "They're going to have an opportunity to run up and down the field and make some nice crosses, work with our outside mids Mason and Tim, work together, work the ball outside, put some crosses in."

Keeper: Freshmen Noah Sundberg will make his varsity debut this fall.
"He's played goal for quite a few years at the lower levels and in the summer," Grausam said. "He's very confident in goal. I expect great things from him."

Brainerd opened workouts Aug. 17 and will have 19 practices in nine days before Thursday's season opener at Rogers.

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"We need to work on some of the basics - simple touches, passing, seeing the field," Grausam said. "We're developing nicely. The chemistry and confidence are going to be there.

"I feel good about where the boys are at. I hope they continue to progress. They're starting to develop chemistry, trust and confidence with each other."

The Warriors lost their annual alumni game 5-2 Aug. 21, but Grausam was encouraged by the effort.

"It's nice to have the alumni game in there," he said. "It gives you a little idea of where you're going to be. The alumni they're so fast and physical, but our boys held their own. We put two balls in the net. That's a start."

Warriors roster

Seniors: Dalton Jobe D/MF, Riley Sloan D/MF, Collin French MF, Brendan Barna MF

Juniors: Ian Foster, Aden Davis, Walker Grausam, Jack Quaal

Sophomores: Tim Whiteman, Taylor Shelito, Sam Alcock, Andrew Wasniewski, Gus Robinson, Tanner Larson, Ben Westerberg

Freshmen: Mason Malone, Noah Sundberg

Schedule

Aug 27, at Rogers 5 p.m.

Sept 1, Alexandria 7 p.m.

Sept 3, at Rocori 5 p.m.

Sept 4, St. Cloud Apollo 2 p.m.

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

Sept 10, Sartell 7 p.m.

Sept 15, at Sauk Rapids-Rice 5 p.m.

Sept 17, Willmar 7 p.m.

Sept 24, at Fergus Falls 7 p.m.

Sept 26, at Bemidji 4 p.m.

Sept 29, at Moorhead 5 p.m.

Oct 1, Rocori 7 p.m.

Oct 6, at St. Cloud Apollo 7 p.m.

Oct 9, St. Cloud Tech 7 p.m.

Oct 12, at Sartell 5 p.m.

MIKE BIALKA may be reached at mike.bialka@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark .

Brainerd’s Riley Sloan runs past Pat Trout during soccer practice against a Brainerd pick-up soccer team. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)
Brainerd’s Riley Sloan runs past Pat Trout during soccer practice against a Brainerd pick-up soccer team. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)

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