Last Updated: Apr 27th, 2015 - 11:04:56

Colonial Heights Looks To Contend This Season
By David Breidenbach, Correspondent
Mar 14, 2014, 13:25

David Breidenbach/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
COLONIAL HEIGHTS—Some might call it a rebuilding year but don’t tell that to Colonial’s Boy Soccer Coach J.P. McNulty. He believes this year’s soccer team has the ability to compete and contend in the new VHSL Conference 25.

After graduating 90 percent of the team’s scoring ability last year, the Colonials are searching for some offense and if Thursday night’s shortened scrimmage against New Kent is an example, they seem to have found it. The Colonials scored three times in the opening 20 minutes of scrimmage play before the game was called because the lights went out, literally. The lights started to come on late in the second quarter, but suddenly went out and school officials were unable to get them to come back on resulting in the last 50 minutes of play being cancelled.

The scoring was a change from the team’s first scrimmage against Poquoson, when they were held scoreless while yielding four goals. That’s what caused McNulty to move some players around, and put Jones Bierman up top. Bierman responded with the first of the three goals, and two others came in quick succession thereafter.

“That was something we were trying tonight actually with Jonas up top. Last week against Poquoson we lost 4-nil and didn’t get anything up top,” McNulty said. “We’ve been working on getting some scoring; I told them today we wanted a clean sheet (a shutout) and to get some goals.”

The team lost two second team all-region players and two all-district players from last year. Defenders Joe Tyler, Mark Martino, and Kyle Hogwood leave a big vacancy on defense. On offense, the team has to replace J.D. Lester and Jimmy Mills. Kevin Loftis has returned to the team this season and is settling in between the pipes. He is replacing Kyle Gaskin.

McNulty said David Rigby and Jake Tyler are returning starters, and Cody Beeler had played a lot of minutes last season. Overall, he said, the team is one of the better mixes of players he has had.

“Top to bottom we have as good a group as we have ever had; talent wise from top to bottom no. But this is one of the better groups; they are coachable and they work hard;” McNulty said.

The Colonials scrimmages have been against teams in Conference 25, he said, because he wants to get a feel for the other teams. Dropping down from the old Central District and losing Thomas Dale as part of that component has its good points, he said, but Conference 25 has teams from the Williamsburg area, as well as Poquoson and New Kent.

Still, not having to deal with Thomas Dale and dropping the likes of Matoaca and Prince George does seem to open the door a bit for the Colonials. While they may not have too many teams as solid as the Knights, they still have a pretty good bunch of teams to play against, and getting into regional and state play is still going to take winning games.
David Breidenbach/Hopewell News/News-Patriot

“I think not having to contend with Thomas Dale is good and bad. Soccer-wise I don’t know if it’s any better, because we are playing Williamsburg and it’s a pretty affluent soccer area. We are going to have to beat some good teams to get to the regional. But it’s nice to know that we won’t have to play against Thomas Dale once the season is over,” McNulty said.

A number of good teams come out of Conference 25: In addition to Poquoson and New Kent, the conference includes Lafayette, York, Warhill, Southampton, and Park View-South Hill.

All things given, however; McNulty believes his team has a chance to be successful. The core players on the team are all solid, and the team’s eight seniors provide solid leadership. They definitely have a few hills to climb in terms of starting experience, but the potential to be good is there.

“Our core is really good and our seniors are fantastic. I think we are going to compete and give it a good shot,” he said.

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