2017 Gaston Gazette Cup Preview

Ashbrook features a new coach, while Gaston Christian and South Point come in off excellent 2016 seasons

A full week of soccer starts up Monday night at Gaston Christian School when Stuart Cramer and East Gaston play the first game of twelve in the Gazette Cup.

There was no winner crowned last year in the tournament, as the final between Gaston Christian and Forestview was cancelled due to unplayable field conditions when a storm swept through Gaston County. That makes 2016 winner Ashbrook the defending champion - the Green Wave come in this year with a different look under new head coach Evan Rankin.

Ashbrook

Coach: Evan Rankin (1st season)

Last year’s record: 9-14

Returning lettermen: 14

Key returners: Tristan Mantecon, Brandon Lopez, Andrew Lee, Will Niemeyer, Jonothan Hernandez, Abdiel Prado, JJ Diaz, Jonothan Laverde, Jared Hernandez

Key newcomers: Alfredo Cacho-Laurido, Jayden Dixon

Key losses: Eric Vera, Adriel Prado, Nic Heavener

Overview: Niemeyer tied for the team lead in goals last season with eight, while Prado had a strong year with six goals and six assists. Rankin was an assistant for two seasons with the Green Wave. Now, he takes over for former coach Joel Webb.

East Gaston

Coach: Pedro Aguilar (3rd season)

Last year’s record: 8-10-1

Returning lettermen: 9

Key returners: Nick Smith, Jonathan Hollenbeck, Trevor Latter, Carter Beck, Brandon Aguilar, Josh Jolly

Key newcomers: Dylan West, Dashaun Corry

Key losses: Ivan Serrano

Overview: The Warriors were much improved last year, winning eight games. Smith, Beck and Hollenback were each named all-conference selections last season. Beck led the team in goals as a freshman with 16, and Smith - now a senior - was right behind with 12.

Gaston Christian

Coach: Justin Huitt (12th year)

Last year’s record: 18-3

Returning lettermen: 15

Key returners: Will Farris, Joshua Putnam, Nate Hoover, Lucas Whitesides, Frank Lopez, Anthony Spear, Jacob Foster, Brian Minnix, Jacob Neely, Davis McBee, Carson Bonds, Caleb Thornburg, Colten Brewer, D’Allesando Rodriguez, Austin Helms.

Key newcomers: Jake Hoyle, Nash Heavner, Blaine Rudisill, Justin Farris, Luke Hoyle, Ryan Olson.

Overview: The Eagles return 15 players from last year’s MAC conference tournament champions. They came away with a big early season win over Charlotte Latin on Wednesday - the team that knocked GCS out of the NCISAA playoffs last year - and hope to bring that momentum into the Cup. Gaston Christian was the runner-up to Ashbrook in 2015 and 2016, then had its scheduled championship game against Forestview cancelled last year.

Hunter Huss

Coach: Mike Pond

Last year’s record: 6-12

Roster information not submitted

Overview: The Huskies need to replace Junior Tellez, an all-conference player in the midfield last year. They have a young squad, with just three seniors on the roster in goalkeeper Eric Midence, midfielder Alex Carr and defenseman Daniel Martinez.

 

Lincolnton

Coach: Eric Radebaugh (2nd season)

Last year’s record: 9-8-3

Returning lettermen: 11

Key returners: Juan Martinez, Ives Jenkins, Raul Rosales, Shelton Radebaugh, Nelson Membrano, Brian Sedano, Jeison Rubio, Kevin Andrade

Key newcomers: Jose Garcia

Key losses: Graham Willis, Julio Pena

Overview: Radebaugh was selected to the Powerade State Games this summer and will be one of the leaders for the Wolves this year along with Sedano, the leading scorer last season. It will be tough for Lincolnton to replace Willis - an Olympic Development player - in the midfield and Pena in goal. Pena is now a freshman at Cal State-Bakersfield.

North Gaston

Coach: John Sullivan (4th season)

Last year’s record: 12-12

Returning lettermen: 11

Key returners: Seth Scoggins, Carter Rushing, Colt Ratchford, Michael Chafin, Sam Christy, Austin Hughes, Jack Lewis, AJ Selman, Garrison Bare, Ulises Trejo, Elmer Benavides

Key newcomers: Everett Stone, Antonio Vargas

Key losses: Joseph Hovis, Hunter Franks

Overview: Scoggins is a talented goal-scorer and will put pressure on defenses throughout the Cup. He scored 27 goals last year for the Wildcats and comes back alongside all-conference selection Rushing and four-year starters Ratchford and Chafin.

South Point

Coach: Scott Tudor (4th year)

Last year’s record: 19-5-1

Returning lettermen: 11

Key returners: Dylan Maynard, Nick Matthew, Colby Howe, Zac Baker, AJ Robinson, Charlie Tran, Brandon Tudor, Henry Keel, Taylor Shane, Adam Whiteman, Juan Calles

 

Stuart Cramer

Coach: Matthew Robinson (5th year)

Last year’s record: 5-18

Returning lettermen: 12

Key returners: Zeke Baker, Ross Brobeck, Ethan Cameron, Matthew Davis, Wesley Hall, Ethan McRorie, Manuel Torres, Devin Baldwin, Nick Burns, Austin Cook, Dalton Cuthbertson, Dylan Davis

Key newcomers: Adam Hamam, Andrew Ingram, Caleb Kirschenmann, Joey Matz, Layton Miller, Christian Rios

Key losses: Ross Kimbirl, Michael Lopez, Connor Paschall, Nick Valego

Overview: Kimbirl, Lopez, Paschall and Valego were all four-year starters and their losses will be felt in Cramerton. However, junior Davis returns to the team after leading the team in goals last season. Baker and Torres are senior captains and leaders for Cramer.