WARRENSBURG - Warrensburg High School's Boys Soccer program, only four years old, has increased its following among fans and students, and captured media attention in 2008 for its trio of skilled, aggressive female players.
Each year, more and more students have joined the squad, and this year, it's a record.
But winning a game has taken it's time, Coach Brian Lemery said, due to the Adirondack League's intense competition - a result of opponents enjoying well-established programs.
Last year's Burgher squad garnered its share of awards, although no games in the winning column. In the Adirondack League All-Star awards, Richard Bonk was named to first team, Devin Scherer to second team, and Teagan Rafferty, Ryan Belden and Sean Young to Honorable Mention.
This 2008 team came on strong at the end of the season, scoring 3 of the year's 7 goals in the 17th game. Lemery said that if his new squad keeps up the momentum, they'll be achieving new heights, and maybe tallying one or more wins.
"The way our players progressed last season - they improved 'big-time' - I'm hoping this will be the year," Lemery said.
Ryan Belden, an offensive threat, and Sean Young, a fast player with a strong shot, are leading the returners.
Other standouts at this point are Sabrina Fish, last year's goalie who demonstrated considerable skills; Dan Cobb and Aaron Seeley - both goalie candidates - plus returning midfielder Masyn Morey, and Nico Paniccia, who the coach said is a "workhorse" with considerable endurance.
Belden, who has the nickname "Bigfoot" for his abilities on offense, said he has high hopes for 2009.
"Considering we have a lot of strong legs and endurance, our team has a lot of potential," he said. "We'll be striving to win a couple of games this year."
Apparently, the squad's core group has been taking this goal seriously, practicing all summer, scrimmaging on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
But winning isn't the only objective, Lemery said this week. Good conduct and fair play are also paramount, he said, noting that his 2008 team won the Adirondack League Sportsmanship Award - by a vote of area officials, Lemery said.
"I take a lot of pride in this award," Lemery said. "Yes, I want the players to be aggressive and win, but I want them to play the game with integrity, and respect."