By Andy Krutsinger
Mt. Pleasant News
The soccer season is upon us with Mt. Pleasant?s first games coming up on Monday, April 2 against Columbus Community. Both teams return plenty of talent as they look to compete for Southeast Conference glory.
The boys? team is coming off a district championship appearance in 2017. The Panthers were one win away from the state tournament before losing to eventual state runner up Cedar Rapids Xavier. With nine starters returning to the team, Mt. Pleasant looks to be an SEC power in 2018.
The Panther boys are led by a talented defense, with two top senior defenders (Maison Ashton and Payton Kelly) returning alongside junior keeper Nathan Rauenbuehler. The Panthers are stacked on the defensive side of the ball, and it should be one of their main strengths this season.
Offensively, the Mt. Pleasant boys will have to make up for the loss of leading scorer Ryan Hutchinson, who led the squad with 45 points last season (19 goals, seven assists). Cade Warner (nine goals, 10 assists) will be the leading returner on offense and Kelly (eight goals, six assists) was the third-leading scorer in 2017.
The Panthers were 5-3 in the SEC last year, falling twice to Keokuk and once to Fairfield. The Chiefs lose two of their three top scorers from last year, meaning the SEC will be hotly contested right away.
The Panther girls return leading scorer Mary West, who had 33 points (14 goals, five assists) last season. She and graduated senior Catherine Prough (12 goals, two assists) scored the majority of Mt. Pleasant?s goals last year.
Mt. Pleasant will also return key forwards Sydney Doak and Liz Perry from last year?s squad, as well as a couple top defenders, Elizabeth Litchfield and Apryl Simon.
Coach Brennan Williams would like to win a highly competitive SEC this year, and he hopes to double the number of wins from last season. The MP girls picked up five victories in 2017.