In today’s Friday Fast Break, we finish up the dead week on the soccer pitch as we look at a pair of teams in the Suburban Green Conference that will once again compete for the league championship this fall. Both Ritenour and Affton will look to continue to keep their winning ways going in 2022 after successful seasons last year.
Michael Mayberry returns for his third year on the sidelines for the Huskies as he will turn to a solid group of five returning starters to help replace their top three scorers from last season. Arron Rico will be counted on to pace the Huskie defense as he will take over in goal this fall.
Affton will turn to first-year head coach Brian Mesplay to lead the Cougars after longtime head coach John Peifer retired after last season. Mesplay will have nine returning players to push the Cougars this year with Jackson Wilbers leading the way on the offensive side and Drew Stephens returning in goal.
- Head Coach – Michael Mayberry
- Record at school – 16-11 in two years
- Conference – Suburban Green
- 2021 record – 10-9
- Starters Returning: Brayn Cruz, Benjamin Delgado, Aaron Rico, Ray Reardean, Miles Weicht
- Top Returning Players: Benjamin Delgado, Aaron Rico, Ray Reardean, Brayn Cruz, Luis Mejia. Arron Rico will take over between the pipes for the Huskies this season after playing only 20 minutes last season. Ben Delgado and Miles Weicht will pace the Ritenour offense this year from the forward positions after seeing plenty of playing time last year.
- Players to Watch: Nbaye Thiam, Aaron Rico, Benjamin Delgado, Ray Reardean, Luis Mejia
- Season Outlook: “We would like to build on our relatively successful season last year,” stated Mayberry. “We have a lot of offense to replace being that our three top scorers have graduated, but I think we have some players ready to step up. Defensively, most of our players are returning, so we know what to expect from them. We were one win away from a share of the conference title, so winning our conference this year seems to be a reasonable goal. We have some tough opponents in our conference, and I expect all of our games to be competitive. Hopefully, we put ourselves in a good position to make a run in the district and/or state tournament.”
- Head Coach – Brian Mesplay
- Record at school – 0-0 in first year
- Conference – Suburban Green
- 2021 record – 19-6
- Returning players:
- Seniors – Justin Abeln, Sean LaRose, and Adam Puzniak
- Juniors – Trey White, Jackson Mandernach, Jackson Wilbers, and Drew Stephens
- Sophomore – Conner Welte. Jackson Wilbers returns after scoring 10 goals last season and handing out 11 assists while Sean LeRose added five goals and seven helpers. Drew Stephens will once again lead the Cougar defense after posting a 15-3 record last year as he only allowed 14 goals during the season.
- Players to Watch – Jackson Wilbers, Trey White, and Conner Welte
- Season Outlook: “We want to build upon our last season’s success,” stated Mesplay. “We return all but 4 players from last year’s squad so we are hopeful for another solid season. We do have two huge voids coming into the season. The first being the retirement of longtime coach John Peifer. We may have some learning curves early due to new positions for some players and possibly a new system. Our second hurdle will be replacing 48 goals from our top goal scorer last season. The coaching staff believes we will be able to score more by committee this season. We are wanting to be playing our best soccer at the end of the season and have hopes of a strong postseason run.”
Jim Powers has been covering prep sports in the St. Louis area for 15+ years and a part of the Missouri State High School Activities Association Championship Broadcasts for the past 11 years. Powers is also a part of the Fox 2 Verlo Mattress Prep Zone Friday nights at 10:10 during the football and basketball seasons. If you have a prep sports story, please contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jim at @hssportscaravan