By Anthony Alandt
The Kenston Boys Soccer team finished off their 2018 campaign after concluding their tournament run last week. Led by head coach Josh Sladick and a tremendous cast of ten seniors, the boys ended the season with an overall record of 8-7-3 and a Western Reserve Conference (WRC) record of 5-1-1. That one-loss conference play placed the team at second in the conference, a feat of which Coach Sladick is truly proud.
“I’m proud because I was witness to [the team’s] work ethic and ability to overcome differences and make the program better,” Sladick responded when asked about his feeling towards the young men who led to the team this far.
The team seemed to really shine the brightest when they played collectively as a team instead of as individual talents all playing their own separate game. Each player saw the overall improvement of the team as the season progressed from early training under the hot July sun to the cold nights traveling all over Northeast Ohio. The head coach also noticed how every single player, without exception, was able to improve from the previous year and throughout the season. There were no visible signs of developmental stagnation, slacking off, or lack of effort.
“When I see that as the head coach, I know the players are willing to do whatever it takes,” Coach Sladick said when asked about what impressed him this season.
As for the ten Bombers who played their final game under the stadium lights in the blue and red jerseys this season, they are all credited for stepping up and leading the team. The seniors made sure they were individual leaders, setting work ethic examples, keeping the team together, and loosening up the team when it was needed.
Underclassmen also showed that despite losing ten kids to graduation, the Boys Soccer team should be in good hands. Joey Holodinski was the lone freshman on varsity and was able to hold his own from the beginning of training. Coach Sladick is very optimistic moving forward thanks in part to sophomores Carter McAbier, Michael Persichetti, Andrew Watts and Cooper Roney.
The Kenston Girls Soccer team also finished off a tremendous season this October. The team finished with a 9-6-3 overall record and an astonishing 6-1 record in a very competitive WRC race. That record was good enough for the ladies to notch the title of Co-Champions for this season and lead them to a round one victory over Field. Although they were shutout 1-0 in the following game against Revere, there are plenty of positives to look back upon making this season a success. Head coach Kathleen Vass was overwhelmed by the effort of all 28 players during the course of the season.
“This is something we have been working toward for four years and it is something that I believe was directly related to our success this year,” Vass said when asked how the effort positively contributed to the team’s success.
The lady Bombers were able to reach the district semifinal because of a gritty work ethic and a maintained commitment to sportsmanship, selflessness and respect for each other. Players and coaches alike believe the success of this season will validate the higher standards that were implemented at the start of the season.
Strengthened by the skillful play of their five senior soccer stars, the girl’s team was able to achieve success and instill a winning culture for which coaches and upperclassmen have been so diligently working. Senior Briana Yurkovich had a fantastic bounce-back season after an injury that ended her junior season. She came back better than ever for her final year in Kenston Blue and was awarded with the honor of WRC Player of the Year. Anna Sanders also had a fantastic final season and was the leader of the defensive side of the field. Sanders also has taken over placekicking duties for the Kenston football team the last two seasons.
Skylar Cornell was also highlighted by Coach Vass as the standout underclassman for her amazing first year with the high school squad. As a freshman, Cornell led the team in goals and assists and was among the leaders in points scored in the region.
“We had high expectations for her coming in, but to accomplish this as a freshman was very noteworthy,” said Vass.
Sophomore Natalie Adante fully took over goalkeeping duties and was a standout by Coach Vass’ standards.
Congratulations are owed to both the boys and girls who worked tirelessly to achieve the great accomplishments this season.