After putting together one of the most dominant seasons ever recorded in Missouri, the defending Class 2 soccer champion Priory Rebels will look much different this fall. Much different.
Fourteen seniors graduated from last year’s 27-0 title team that is only the second in state history to go unbeaten and untied. The Rebels scored 107 goals and allowed five, three of which came in one game against Duchesne. To say they were dominant doesn’t do them justice.
This year’s team, however, will pay for that success. With just one returning starter from last year’s team and one who committed to play for St. Louis Scott Gallagher Academy, the Rebels will look almost entirely different.
“We graduated 14 seniors and a lot of those guys had been on the varsity for a while,” coach John Mohrmann says. “The last couple of years, we’d start the season with a pretty good idea of who’d be in the fold.”
This year, it’s open season. Whether they’re coming from the junior varsity or trying to step out of their reserve roles from last year, the players have opportunities to step in and make an enormous impact. With just five seniors, the bulk of the roster is juniors with a few sophomores sprinkled in. Several of those players got time last year and that should help. “The nice thing about being a second stringer on a team that wins all of its games is you get your feet wet,” Mohrmann says.
The lone starter back is Sam Newman. He scored 11 goals and handed out 11 assists last year. Mohrmann envisions him in an attacking role he’s just not sure where that is at the moment. He could play up top or in the midfield. It all depends on the pieces around him.
And while the faces on the field might be different, the name on the front of the jersey hasn’t changed. And after handing out losses left and right last year, the Rebels are going to be No. 1 on every opponent’s wish list. This Priory team will take the brunt of last year’s frustrations. “Every game is going to be a battle,” Mohrmann says.
And the Rebels schedule isn’t exactly loaded with cream puffs. After the Metro League lifted the home and home mandate for conference opponents, a few dates opened up on the Rebels schedule.
They filled them with CBC, SLUH, Chaminade and De Smet.
Not exactly cupcake city. Mohrmann had tried at various times throughout the past few years to get some of those programs on the schedule, but this year everything just came together. He’s hoping the stiff competition might sting at the start but provide some much-needed experience for the postseason. “We have our eye on the second season a little more than we used to,” Mohrmann says. “It can help season us a little bit.”