Pictured is the 2010 Jay County High School boys soccer team. Front row from left are Erick Gutierrez, Adam Abbott, Aaron Loy, Garrett Krieg, Dylan Friddle and Colton McCombs. Middle row are Ravi Patel, Dylan Swingley, Aldo Castro, Kaelin Jewell, Brandon Poore, Josh Priest and Alex Dunn. Back row are Colton Bartlett, Evan Ryder, Seth Ainsworth, Austin Cowan, Dillon Ainsworth and Austin Mann.
Pictured is the 2010 Jay County High School boys soccer team. Front row from left are Erick Gutierrez, Adam Abbott, Aaron Loy, Garrett Krieg, Dylan Friddle and Colton McCombs. Middle row are Ravi Patel, Dylan Swingley, Aldo Castro, Kaelin Jewell, Brandon Poore, Josh Priest and Alex Dunn. Back row are Colton Bartlett, Evan Ryder, Seth Ainsworth, Austin Cowan, Dillon Ainsworth and Austin Mann.
Let’s start off with a quote:
“We’re going to go out looking to win games 1-0. Defensively we’re going to be strong.”
That’s what Jay County High School boys soccer coach Alan Bailey said last week of his team’s upcoming season. And it makes perfect sense, given that his team lost state-record scorer Brad Horn to graduation.
But consider this second quote:
“We’re going to more defenders. We’re going to have to be one of those teams that is going to have to win games 1-0, hopefully get that one-goal lead, pack the defense and get the ball moving.”
Those words came not last week, but last year, prior to the 2009 campaign. As it turned out, Horn torched the nets for 44 goals and led the team to its third sectional title.
So while a glance at the roster would make it seem as if the Patriots, who have had eight straight winning campaigns and racked up a 32-6-1 record over the last two years, will be a lower scoring team this season, nothing is ever certain.
That said, defense does look like the strength of the JCHS squad this year with the back line returning starters Garrett Krieg, Colton Poore and Colton Bartlett. Austin Mann, who saw action in 12 games last season, will join the trio.
They will be charged with protecting first-year goalies Austin Cowan and Seth Ainsworth, both of whom are new to the squad after playing tennis last season. They step in for 2009 senior Adam Daniels, who had 82 saves, was in the goal for nine shutouts and played the game of his life against Muncie Central in the regional to keep the Patriots in contention.
“Our goalkeepers are both new the to game, so our defense is going to have to pick them up,” said Bailey, who brought in assistant Derek Mills to work with Ainsworth and Cowan. Mills, a 2007 graduate, was a four-year starter at goalie for the Patriots.
Jay County returns a pair of starters in the midfield in junior Dillon Ainsworth and sophomore Alex Dunn. Junior Aaron Loy and sophomore Adam Abbott, both of whom played in almost every game last season, will join them.
“I think (Dillon Ainsworth) is a real strong leader, him and Garrett (Krieg),” said Bailey. “Those are my two leaders right there. Dillon is just everywhere, hustles. Hopefully everyone will learn from him.”
The players charged with replacing the tremendous loss in firepower up front from Horn, who had nine assists to go along with his 44 goals, and Patrick Johnson (17 goals, seven assists) are junior Aldo Castro and sophomore Colton McCombs.
Castro is the top returning scorer from last season when he recorded three goals and three assists. Dillon Ainsworth had two goals and three assists, and Dunn had four assists.
“Aldo’s always been in the passing role to get the ball up front to Brad (Horn).
“And McCombs, being  a freshman last year, didn’t see a whole lot of playing time,” said Bailey. “They’ve both got the skills to do it, it’s just having the will power and self-confidence to take care of it. … It’s just a matter of stepping up.”
And while the team, in general, lacks size, Bailey said he is hoping to use quickness to his advantage.
“We’re nothing but speed, and we’ve got to beat teams with speed. We’ve got to beat everybody to every ball that’s out there if we’re going to be competitive.
“Our goal is to just be competitive every game. That’s my main goal every year.”
The Patriots have been more than competitive having won sectional crowns in three of the last four years. They took an undefeated record all the way to the semi-state before losing to Warsaw in 2008.
Last season two of their five losses came against Muncie Central, including the season-ending defeat in the regional semifinal.
“We’ve had eight consecutive winning seasons. They’ve very capable (of continuing that success),” said Bailey, who is five victories away from the 100 mark for his career. “The first game against Muncie Central is going to be rough. They’re a team that beat us twice last year. They’re going to come in confident. We can’t be scared of them.
“I’m real happy with the effort we’ve got so far. I just appreciate the effort I’m getting out of them.”