The Wellsboro Hornets soccer team put together an incredible season in 2019, pushing to the second round of the District Playoffs, but are looking for much more during their 2020 campaign.
The Hornets will boast a roster with nine returning seniors this upcoming season, who almost all return to the starting lineup.
Offensive powerhouse tandem Will Poirier and Kaedan Man, who contributed a combined 41 goals and 46 assists, will return for their senior season in what could see them in the hunt for a coveted District Title.
Due to the coronavirus, one of the most impactful aspects of fall sports may be negatively affected. With the almost certainty that all offseason camps, practices and opportunities to improve in an organized setting will be cancelled this year.
The Wellsboro team had big plans for the summer, but most have been canceled with camps, tournaments and even their normal summer workouts being in jeopardy at this point in time.
“We would typically get started that first week of June,” Head Coach Todd Fitch said. “We started last year attending a tournament over the summer, we planned on going to Messiah College for a team camp this summer also which was canceled.”
With uncertainty still clouding when teams can get back to normalcy when it comes to preparing for the season, Wellsboro was hoping to use the summer months to improve not only physically, but mentally as well.
Players rely on getting those touches in the offseason to not only be in good shape, but to build the chemistry with teammates heading into the year.
“It’s super important to get touches on the ball in the offseason,” coach Fitch said. “We told our players that there may be a lot that we can’t do, but there is always something that we can do.”
With limited time to work with the team, soccer players have the luxury of being able to work on their game in their backyard by themselves or with one or two other people that can help them continue to sharpen their skills as a player.
“One of the things that really come to my mind is to first take care of your body,” coach Fitch said. “We’re kind of quarantined right now so there’s a tendency to just sit. One of the best things a person can do is to begin to move and take care of their body and develop that conditioning on their own.”
Even without a structured workout, players can continue to use programs from online or other resources.
Getting touches on the ball is another area that coach Fitch stressed, and whether it be by yourself or in the backyard of your home with a sibling playing one on one, those touches are critical to keeping players mind’s and bodies ready for the season.
Despite the possibility of not getting to come together as a unit until right before the season, Wellsboro has an extremely cohesive group on the field, with their seniors who have grown and played with each other for years.
“Those boys have been playing together for four years,” coach Fitch said. “I think it takes some time to get back into the flow, but I expect with some of the things we are going to look at and begin to address, I’m hoping that we can continue to further develop where they are, but I am anticipating another strong year.”
Heading into the season, Wellsboro will have their first real test in their season-opener. With powerhouse Millville as the first game of the season that will be a big measuring stick heading into the year.
“The summer is important to us but I want to be careful that we aren’t going to allow this to be a scapegoat,” Fitch said. “We’re going to say ‘It is what it is, so what can we do now?’ and hopefully we will be ready.”